Connect
To Top

Meet DeP

Today we’d like to introduce you to DeP.

DeP was born and raised in Houston, Texas, into a musical family with extensive roots in gospel music. Many of his family members are charter members of the Southeast Inspirational Choir, which propelled the careers of gospel artists such as Yolanda Adams, Brenda Waters, Shirley Joiner, Carl Preacher, Rise Joiner-Peters, Angela Bennet and Greg Curtis[1]Being raised in the Outreach Missionary Baptist Church, he began first singing gospel music at the age of six. DeP would experience his first acting opportunity when he landed roles in a Six Flags commercial.

He attended performing arts schools starting in elementary up until high school High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston as a double focus in vocal and piano with other great talents such as Robert Glasper. He also was a part of the young performers at The Ensemble Theatre with fellow members Solange Knowles, Miss Mykie and more.[2] He also studied piano at A All About Music. After performing secular music in High School, he transferred to Westbury High School during his Sophomore year, he knew that he wanted to become a professional performing artist.

Shortly after enrolling in college at Texas College, where he joined the Beta Beta Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity in Spring 2001[3], DeP was offered a record deal with Versatile Records in Washington DC. While growing as a credited singer, songwriter and performer, his coordinating and business skills were developed working under Rep. Al Edwards, Rob Turner of Able Ten Inc, The PHD Conference and several Non-Profit Organizations.

Early Career, during his time at Texas College in Tyler TX. DeP was signed to Versatile Records in Washington D.C. where he first began releasing his own music, which resulted in his first national release, his EP entitled “For Me”. After parting ways with Versatile Records, DeP joined New York City-based male R&B group, Diehard in the mid-2000s. Diehard changed their name to Signature shortly after he joined. The group was signed to Blackball Records and then bought out by Elite Records who got them their debut breakout performance of their single Get It In on BET’s popular video countdown show, 106 & Park. After a few years, DeP parted ways with the group and took a break from entertainment to flex his business goals and complete his degree in Education. During this time, he started a program called Operation Clicks, a computer literacy course for senior citizens, with the Greater Houston Area Health Education Center.

Once again rejuvenated to continue his singing, acting and modeling career, DeP relocated to Los Angeles. Since then his performance career has flourished appearing in several commercials for companies including Beats by Dre and Dos Equis.

2005-2013

DeP released his first EP, For Me in 2005.[4]

In 2008, he released his debut single titled Something More which was a slow groove R&B ballad, the single was co-produced by Lejuan Samuels.[5]

In 2008 DeP released his second EP, The Truth, with MMG Record Label which included the popular hit, “Something More. [6]

In 2010 DeP launched a full-scale marketing company, Think DeP Entertainment, which specializes in artist development, vocal coaching, EPK creation, literary services, social media optimization, web presence building and more. His second EP, The Truth was also released same year on MMG.

He collaborated with Don Benjamin and released his second single Sugar Rush in 2012. DēP’s third single was Contract which was also released in 2012.

The year was 2013 and DeP was featured as a Doo Wap singer, in the popular commercial series featuring “The most interesting man in the world” by Dos Equis. The commercial ran for 2 years to become DeP’s first major commercial as a lead. The commercial was produced by Radical Media and directed by Steve Miller. [7]

In 2013, he released his fourth single Celebrate which was produced by Davion Botts. ThinkDeP 2014-2017

By 2015, DeP had joined the ranks of many of the in-demand performing artist in the Los Angeles area, resulting in opportunities to sing background and record with several megastars. Most notably performing with Beyonce at the Grammy Awards of 2015, Grammy Salutes Stevie Wonder.[8]

In 2015 DeP was hired by producer, Bill Brummel, to voice the role of Lawerence Huggins for the Documentary, Selma: The Bridge To The Ballot.[9] The documentary that tells the story of a courageous group of students and teachers who, along with other activists, fought a nonviolent battle to win voting rights for African Americans in the South, would be DeP’s first voice-over role.[10] It has since become a tool for middle school and high school classrooms across the US.[11]

DeP also landed a placement of an original song produced by Theo Gearring, “1st Sight”, in the 2015 Romantic Comedy, My Favorite Five. [12]

It wasn’t until 2016 that DeP released his first LP, Think DēP Reloaded. The LP included all of his previously released singles and some new songs including the popular single, Red Light.[13] The single Red Light Pt. II[14] was the breakout single from this project.

During this time, DeP would be seen everywhere touring and with performances at the 2016 TV Land Awards, 2016 ESPYS and 2016 White Hot Holiday. DēP has also appeared in several music videos including Matrimony by Wale and Usher, Bang Bang (Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj song), and So in Love (Jill Scott & Anthony Hamilton song). DeP also appeared in several publications including Vibe, Rolling Stone, Sheen Magazine and Baller Alert. He also became the Los Angeles brand ambassador for Upscale Men’s Jewellery and Grooming Line for Teddy Winston Brand. [15] He was published over 30 times in various magazines, books and blogs during this stint.

2018-Present

Throughout 2018 DeP worked with several aspiring artist across the US, successfully releasing EP’s and Singles for some of them which featured him as a writer, co-producer, A&R and performer including his features on Latin Pop artist Bianca Acosta’s Christmas single “Ode To Mary” and Hip Hop artist Jai G’s, “Edna Jean”.

In 2018, DeP began to see success in acting. He landed his first lead role for a short film called This Side Up, a true story about Henry Brown’s infamous escape from slavery by mailing himself to freedom and has had cameos in several TV shows including “Will & Grace” and “The Rookie”.

DeP was named one of 2019 Top 50 Black Professionals & Entrepreneurs of Texas awarded by D Mars Magazine and recognized by the US Congress for his work in helping develop young talent and entrepreneurship.

The Tom Joyner Foundation launched a podcast in 2019, HBCUbiquity, that spotlights HBCU’s and the lifestyle around them.[16] Calling upon DeP to write and perform the podcast opening song, he delivered a song that brought the necessary energy to bring life to the opening of the podcast.[17]

In 2019 DeP joined the viral singing group powered by Hip Hop Mogul Kanye West, The Samples, Gaining notoriety for their performances and unique remixes at Kanye West’ Sunday Service.[18] On Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, Their groundbreaking performance at the 2019 Coachella Music festival is the first spiritual/religious focus act to ever appear and stream on the world-renown stage.[19] That performance catapulted the Samples and Sunday Service into being one of the most in-demand experiences of the year thus far. On June 2019, Kayne West and the Sunday Service collective, along with the Samples, were featured in GQ Italia. That month’s addition released two covers featuring Keanu Reeves and Kayne West. DeP is featured on page 180 of the magazine.[20]

The live-action reboot of The Lion King was expected to dominate the box offices in Summer of 2019 and it delivered. A new original song entitled Spirit performed by Beyonce features DeP and a few other LA-based male artists, all whom have previously worked with the megastar, singing background. [21]

He is currently working on several projects including a highly anticipated book release for “Fallback to Step Up: Things to Fall Back From In Order To Step Up Your Life”.

Fast forward, to his current project Edibles and Elevation [22] which he says “I’m talking about something that’s a very sexy conversation, but the elevation part is elevating your mindset.” The project came at a time when the entertainer was seeming to be falling out of love with music. “I was falling out love with music because I wasn’t creating music that I loved, but I brought it back with Edibles and Elevation.” The project came after having a 420 session where the artist says “I loved the conversations that my peers and I were having.” “I loved the outlook that I had, and for the first time, I could stop the business approach to my creativity.”[23]

DēP is committed to fulfill his purpose of being a positive influence and empowering people to think deep, pursue their dreams and live out of a box. H life motto is “Nothing is Happenstance” and we agree. Follow his journey and some of his amazing clients at ThinkDeP.com or @ThinkDEP on all social media outlets.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Absolutely not!

I don’t believe the road to purpose is ever smooth. Just because a person is predestined for something, doesn’t mean they are equipped or prepared for it from start. It takes pressure! Though we are tried through the fire, we come out as pure gold. Objects of high value endure a lot for their greatness to be revealed, like a diamond.

For me, I always knew I was talented and wanted to be a singer but as a preacher’s kid in the south, everything was going to “send me straight to hell”, especially the performing desires I had. Deep inside, I didn’t want to sing gospel music the way it was back then. There were a series of things that led to me being abandoned by the church and deciding to go secular which included years of being abused mentally and physically by my step-father, having a child before marriage, and the presence of a person that begin to pursue me at an early age who helped drive a wedge between me and my mother, my family, and the church.

I was ultimately kicked out of my house during my senior year in high school and had to figure life out. I had to grow up real fast and find myself which would take years! Music was there the entire time but I found myself balancing high successes with extreme hardships. Being signed to a label in DC and then dropped because I wasn’t urban enough and they lost their financing. Joining a group in NYC and being betrayed by them after a series of successes and them operating from a place of self-survival and greed. Discovering a cysts on one of my vocal cords, which explained my “raspy” voice and almost losing it completely.

Moving to LA proved to be a great move but shortly afterward, my son was diagnosed with graves disease and would have to undergo light radiation and take meds for the rest of his life. That really blew my mind because I felt guilty for being away to follow my dreams even though I am very much in his life. It also was the first time that financially I wasn’t provided for by a label to move and live. I literally discovered what a “starving artist” meant. Though resume wise, I was killing the game. I was struggling to make ends meet.

I became homeless for a short stint, ironically while working with one of the biggest artist of our time, Beyonce’. I missed so many opportunities cause I simply couldn’t afford to get to them. Between my pride and a family that really didn’t respect or support an entrepreneurial lifestyle, It was all on me to sink or swim.

All of those things helped make me stronger and I thought I began to intentionally set myself up to win here in LA. Funny how you have to take a test right when you think you have hit a new level of thinking, wisdom and success. The same step-father that abused me experienced a stroke and I had to go home to help him recover. Imagine the mental anguish I endured having to shave him and even help him pee. I wanted to get revenge for all of the beatings and lies he told on me to destroy my character but I did not.

Instead, I forgave him and helped my mom nurse him back to help. I truly experienced God. I had forgiven the person that had been a major problem for me for years. My mom eventually divorced him after almost 30 years, which was the majority of my life. I felt as though she had always chosen their union over ours. The strength it took to support her during that time was immeasurable, but mama I made it lol.

Tell us more about your work.
Beyond being a singer, actor, and model, I realized that my purpose was in helping people become the best versions of themselves. Especially creatives and entrepreneurs. I started Think DeP Entertainment to help train artist across the country on how to learn their craft, learn the business and replace the missing artist development niche within the urban division of entertainment. This is passion work for me so I tailor-make courses for each individual client. Different clients need different things. I have a very hands-on approach which is laced with old school hard truths and mixed with trendsetting mindsets and understandings.

I realized I was doing that unconsciously for years but never really put it into a true business model. I’m proud to say that I have a high retention and success rate with my clients. That work led to me deciding to write my first book, Fallback To Step Up which is a 30-day guide on things to fallback from in order for a person to step up their life. As I toured and lived across the country, I met and counseled people that seem to all be dealing with a series of revolving issues. I realized that we all dealt with the same issues on different levels, but if they could be identified and worked on, we could all level up. This book will bless the nation!

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
GOD deserves the credit for my endurance and success. Without him, I would be so low! PERIOD!!!

I spoke on being abandoned my church and ostracized by my family circle early on but I did not say that we all reunited a few years later. My mom, grandmothers, cousins, Westbury Click, Dixie Drive Gang, Southeast Inspirational Choir family all have been very instrumental in holding me accountable to the point that failure was not an option. In LA, I met some people that have become my core friends and without those God sends, I would not have been able to last here. It’s too many to name and people will get in their feelings so I keep them nameless but let’s just say, I’m around a select crowd and they know who they are. If they don’t… well… ok then lol.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Nathanial Kemp
Digital Frog Photography
Ja’me

Suggest a story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in