If you don’t know him already, meet Decipher, one of the most underrated artists of our generation. He is signed to MUzO Entertainment and has been in the game for years. His album The Effect dropped earlier this year and made a huge splash, having a hit single “Catch Me If You Can (remix) ft. J.Reyez, DumbFoundDead, Flowsik, Snacky Chan, Johnnyphlo, Jay Park, and Ailee making noise on a lot of charts.
“Born Danny Chung and raised in Philadelphia, Decipher experienced more ups and downs in his youth than many go through in a life time. To call his family broken would be a huge understatement. Conceived by a woman he would grow up calling â€œauntâ€ and a man that may have fathered him but was never a father, his biological mother was left with no choice but to give him up to be raised by her sister. In addition to all the family drama came financial struggles as well.
He saw first hand how hard his immigrant parents struggled for that slice of the ‘American Pie’ as they worked their way out of the ghetto only to find the taste was fleeting and bittersweet. Incidentally, his new found life of hard-earned luxury wasnâ€™t meant to last. It appeared lady luck held a grudge against the Chung clan, and before you could say â€˜Good Lifeâ€™ it was straight back to the â€˜Hood Lifeâ€™ for them all.” – Source: DECIPHERMUSIC.com
We caught up with Decipher over the weekend and got this exclusive interview with him. Get to learn more about this young artist on the rise. Enjoy guys!
J: When did you first start making music?
D: First and foremost I am a fan of music. My uncle was a party DJ and I remember being 4-5 years old and being in the room with him as he practiced. He might not have even noticed me there but I was absorbing all that shit he was spinning. When I got into elementary school I started acquiring my own taste for music. I would watch MTV and just take everything in. I started writing my own music when I was about 14. I’d spit at the lunch table and the crowd would go wild just to see a skinny Asian kid doing this shit and I loved that attention.
J: What do you think is the difference between you and other Asian artists?
D: I’m an individual and I have my own story to tell. Nobody out there, Asian or not, has been in my shoes. They might have experienced very similar things but I believe I was blessed with a beautiful mind to interpret it in my own way. That’s one of the reasons I named myself Decipher. I can look at life and decode it when it seems different and look at it at an angle that most won’t.
J: How has the internet changed the way you market yourself?
D: Marketing is completely about reaching your target audience. Before the internet if you wanted to be a successful artist you might have thought it was advantageous to cater your music to the record labels because that’s who you needed to get to to get your music to the masses. Now, as an artist you have a direct line to the fans so you cut the middle man out. You can make music you want to and have whoever feels it gravitate towards your music more organically. It’s dope because without the internet I wouldn’t have been heard by a fraction of the people that have heard me today. I’ve shipped albums to Afghanistan son!
J: Who are some of your influences and artist you respect and look up to?
D: I love all music. My favorite rapper of all time is Tupac, not even on the strength of his music but because of his passion for it. I find new musicians everyday that inspire me and are dope to me in different aspects. Currently I’m really feeling A$AP Rocky. I’m like the least hater/open minded person when it comes to music. Some people hate on Waka Flocka in “lyrical” circles but sometimes I listen to Waka and get so inspired by dudes energy.
J: How do you see yourself growing as an artist?
D: I really think I just stumbled upon my own sound within this year, 2011. I’ve made music for a long time but I was just kind of following formulas and writing without consciously thinking about it too much. Now, I feel like I’ve really found my style so the music comes so much more naturally and I know what I want each song to sound like. Because of that I think my next project will be a lot more structured and sound like a unison project.
J: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing instead?
D: If I were to go back to school I would want to study media communications. My mom used to tell me when I was young that I would make a good news anchor or something, I never got that. Since I got older it started making a lot more sense. What I do with my music is actually a lot like broadcasting the news. I think it’s so ill how she predicted that when I was like a preteen. Crazy…
J: When you’re not in the studio, what type of hobbies do you have to have fun?
D: I collect sneakers and I’m a big foodie. I check out all the food blogs and shows and shit and my favorite part about being a touring musician is experiencing the different food cultures in different cities. Don’t let the skinny structure fool you, I can eat!
J: When you get writers block, what do you do to over come it?
D: I don’t really do anything. I do hit writer’s block every so often but I hate forcing music. When i’m forcing music I can instantly tell. When I’m writing and the bars are flowing I might get to a bar that I think is weak, it is isn’t up to par with the rest of the verse and I instantly know I’ve lost steam so I just chill until something dope hits me. Forcing shit really ain’t my style.
J: What is the next future project/collaboration? and when is it gonna be?
D: I’ve been in the studio (shout out 221) putting together a few tracks. I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to throw them together on a mixtape or release all of them individually. I think I’m in a good creative space right now and I’ve been writing some ill songs. I’m really excited to put it out there and get the feedback since I haven’t put anything out for a while but I promise it will be worth the wait.
J: What did you want to be as a kid?
D: I wanted to just draw. I wasn’t sure what kind of job it would get me but I was really into drawing and painting and stuff. I actually got into college with an art portfolio so that was my first major. As I matured, It was hard for me to compete in that field because some people were just straight up more passionate about it than I was. And that’s when I was smoking a lot of weed so it was hard for me to focus on that. But it did help me steer my way into music so I guess it was a blessing.