• Catherine

"Go up in smoke" with Derius J

I ran into Derius J today, Thursday, June 20. It looked like a normal evening as I walked into the bar with heavy fast-paced music in the background. Carlos the bartender was engrossed in a conversation with a man dressed in a white tank top and sweat pants. I asked him if he was an old friend of Carlos but he said that was not the case; he just arrived in town and was just having a drink and spending some time alone. Perhaps he was one of the locals or a traveler from another state since the bar is just next to the Wyndham Laguardia hotel. He said he is from Atlanta, GA and was currently on a musical tour performing his songs and making some new music along the line. Wow! I struggled to keep my excitement to myself; a rapper right at the bar! I had always been intrigued by the music business; the road to stardom, where the inspiration comes from and a whole lot of other things. This was Derius J and he had a contagious smile that made our conversation a lot easier; for me at least.

He discovered his musical talent at the age of seven and spent some time working in a coffee shop before he met someone who had a few connections in the music industry. They liked his music and that was the start of his musical journey. Recalling his struggles before his big break, Derius said: ‟you will hear NO a million times but all it takes is one song hit song to change all that, self-confidence and one single YES is all you need”. While he loves all kinds of music, he relates more to hip-hop because it is about the struggle. He remembers putting up a Christmas tree all by himself as a child hoping to find lots of presents under it on Christmas day; the presents never came but he never stopped trying after that. That childhood lesson further bolstered his resolve and today he is a hip-hop artist and composer who is well connected and working on creating his own label. His latest release is ‟Go Up In Smoke”, a mid-tempo hip-hop track that talks about keeping your head up and not staying down no matter the circumstances. The theme is even more obvious in the video as he alludes to the support of his friends during the hard times and how he has been able to ride the storm and go up in smoke; finding a light at the end of the dark tunnel. Soft, harmonious tunes can be heard in the background as Derius j delivers a rap-like vocal rendition on the track.

This night, Derius is drinking Hennessy V.S, a smooth, elegant cognac that represents Derius’ latest song and indeed his musical journey with its motto ‟Never Stop, Never Settle”. It is a salute to all the dreamers out there who keep fighting for the things they truly desire.

Derius, thank you for having this warm hearted conversation with me and I wish you continued success in your musical journey.

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