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Meet Doza

Today we’d like to introduce you to Doza.

Doza, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I can say that as a child, I was most attracted to music which I find a bit funny because my parents, while they loved their own favorite artists and bands, didn’t have that deep of a catalog. I grew up the youngest out of my cousins at the time (until my three brothers were later born) so needless to say they were my big influences growing up and they loved hip hop. I remember them teaching me rap lyrics so eventually I’d be able to complete the lyrics on my own when they began the first part. Eventually, that led to me taping songs off the radio (yes, I go that far back) so I can listen to them and write down the lyrics (The internet wasn’t existent back then. I know). I ‘d eventually memorize these and recite them to my mom who enjoyed it despite saying things I probably shouldn’t have been saying as a child.

Needless to say, that lead me to my love of rapping. I did a bit of it in high school for fun because I was probably the most talented at it but I didn’t anticipate making anything of it. I finally took that plunge in college, where I decided to look up how to make original songs. Eventually, I put a small project together called “Budget Cuts” which allowed me to work with producer Asi Friedman who had worked as an executive producer with one of my heroes Bambu on his Native Guns Barrel Men album. I think my favorite part of this time in my career was being able to open for Juvenile of Cash Money fame.

Just recently I decided to pick up the craft again. Since July of 2019, I’ve been working with producers such as Mekanix and Marvs and released singles at the very least every other month. This month, I’ll be working alongside my director Wendy Wang to shoot my music video for my latest single “Played Out”.

The journey does have its up and downs but I’ve never been happier than I am when I’m creating my art.

Has it been a smooth road?
God no. There’s really no set road to becoming a musician so a lot of the things I had to figure out along the way. Things like “how do I record a song?” to “how do I release a song?” to “how do I market a song?” were a lot of figure out especially when you have no one guiding you in this journey. All I knew was that I liked rap and I wanted to rap but had no mentor. So there was a big process of trying to find people to trust and people that share your creative vision. There’s many people out there willing to take advantage of your naivety and ambition and when you’re a young hopeful kid. A lot of lessons I had to learn the hard way and its easy to be discouraged but you have to just pick yourself back up and keep moving.

There’s also that stigma that comes with being an Asian rapper. Though today we’re going through a movement with acts like 88 Rising that wasn’t the case when I started out. People are quick to brand you as a gimmick or a niche act or just deem you inauthentic. So proving yourself is that much harder but I feel if you have skills you will eventually earn your respect.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
My focus right now is preparing for my music video release. I haven’t done a music video in years so I’m excited to see how this latest one will be received. I think the concept we have for this video is brilliant so I can’t wait to share it with the world. I definitely matured more as an artist since my earliest projects so I think I’m putting out the best music I’ve ever made with each new release.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I’m expecting Asian rappers to become more commonplace and I’d love to be one of those leading the charge of bringing Asian American representation to the forefront of the industry.

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Image Credit:

Edwin Maravilla, CJ Rubio, Sthanlee Mirador

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