22 February 2023

IAMDDB: “I was so toxic. But I’ve done my healing.”

With her new single ‘Where Did the Love Go?’, the Mancunian musician is inspiring others to acknowledge their emotions, and embrace feelings of love or the lack of it.

As IAMDDB tunes in for a call with HUNGER, love is most definitely in the air. The Mancunian rapper is sitting in bed (hungover), ready to speak about the journey she found herself on whilst writing her new song ‘Where Did the Love Go?’. She reveals that the title is deceiving and, on first listen, it is. But for those who know IAMDDB, it is no sooner than the first lyric of “I don’t wanna act nonchalant / I don’t wanna come off too strong”, that you realise this love letter is to no one other than herself. 

Our conversation steers away from the effects of alcohol and onto overcoming karmic cycles and the importance of self-care. For anyone who has seen IAMDDB perform live, many wouldn’t think that her infectious energy and witty Northern charm would translate to a calm mind focused on healing and letting go. But what seems like two entirely different presences actually compromise on her unwavering self-belief, which is where the commendable authenticity of IAMDDB truly sits.

Much like her new song, the star has an air of feel-good energy to her and dips in and out of moments of introspection so that the conversation remains heartfelt. Her strong will and healing practices sit hand-in-hand, as she details her self-care activities of yoga, eating well, and connecting with her divine feminine. The journey she found herself on, however, supersedes physicality and begins with the relationship between the body, soul, mind, and spirit, as well as reminding herself that it’s okay to feel. 

Though IAMDDB may be changing pace behind the scenes, her music is conscious not to neglect her dedicated fans on the journey. She is bringing back some of her old-school elements, alongside a new side of her creativity that she feels she is yet to have explored. The self-described old “toxic” ways have been revisited, as she wants to send out a message that we must champion emotion, and heal before we invest our love. 

Her art, for her, is a mixture of achieving creative freedom in both the industry and her personal life. She credits Bob Marley as her number one inspiration, and labels him the ultimate “new-age artist”. Bringing her Angolan heritage into her work, her inspirations span across a mixture of genres, from “Afro Jazz, Afro Soul… a lot of African genres” to Whitney Houston and Miles Davis. Since touring with Lauryn Hill in 2018, she has cemented herself as a trailblazer for a new generation of Black female artists.

On a mission to overcome any negativity around her, the artist discusses all things from vibrations and questioning true fulfilment, to elevating her divine feminine through self-care…

HUNGER: Hey, IAMDDB! Whereabouts in the world are you?

IAMDDB:  I’m in bed, rough as fuck in London right now. 

Well, we’ll make this short and sweet so you can rest! Before we get into the new tunes, let’s take it back a bit… Why did you start making music in the first place? 

My whole journey with music is a generational and genetic thing. My daddy is a musician and sound engineer, so it’s in the blood. I studied it in high school and college, and I went to uni for 60 minutes and I was like, ‘Yeah, this ain’t for me.’ It comes so effortlessly… It’s an avenue of healing for me.

I’m from Manchester so I’m curious. What aspects of the city come into your music would you say?

The carefree spirit, and a bit of scattiness as well. We’re a bit rough around the edges and I love that. I think that’s what makes Manny authentic. We just don’t give a fuck, we don’t care and we are what we are. Manny definitely helped me to construct my sound in terms of typing into different genres. 

You dropped your latest track, ‘Where Did the Love Go?’ on Valentine’s Day, right? A bit of a protest in a way. How do you feel about Valentine’s? 

You know what, girl, I’m feeling great. I’m going to go for a cute massage later and I’m with my girl so we’re chilling. I’m doing self-love through self-care. I am single and not ready to mingle, just minding my business, getting to the bag, and taking care of my skin. Just living in my soul, it’s so much fun. I recommend it.

What type of love were you referring to in ‘Where Did The Love Go?’

It’s about your shadow and your light energy. When you see the visuals, you’re going to see that it’s a battle between masculine and feminine energy within. Ideally, being allowed to lead with feminine energy after being stuck in that toxic masculine cycle for so many years. I really do hope that it inspires women to heal their masculine energy. When we are stuck in a toxic space within our own masculine, we are going to attract that in the physical. So once we are able to heal the foundation of ourselves, we attract better. 

Beyond love, or lack of certain types of love, what were your other inspirations for the single?

I love to play around with concepts. I definitely knew that with the title and the energy of the song people were going to assume it was going to be about a relationship and that was done purposely. I want people to question their intentions. I want people to question why they’re doing what they’re doing, even if they are in relationships. Are you fulfilled? Are you happy? Are you content? Are you lonely? This is like a subconscious reminder to check in with yourself.

Do you think it was an obvious topic for you?

I definitely feel like it’s been a never-ending journey. We are continuously on this path to self-discovery. Music is my outlet. It’s a form of therapy for me because I get to express my mind. If the vibration isn’t helping you elevate and helping you feel something that’s true and divine, then I need to go back in that booth.

How do you think your new work differs from what you’ve previously done in your last album?

I’m way less toxic than I used to be. Oh my god, I was so toxic. But I’ve done the healing and it’s really reflecting in the vibration because of the sound, the imagery, and the lyricism put out. It’s vibrant and it’s just a lot of divine feminine energy, which is what the world needs.

How do you think the fans will feel about this change of vibe?

It’s for the fans that have been missing old-school IAMDDB, or for those who don’t know who the fuck I am and they’re just going to tap in and vibe with it. It’s definitely for Gen Z as well, this is going to go crazy on TikTok. It’s for the D‘n’B heads that love a good vibe. You can listen to this for anything you’re doing in life, and that’s what I really love.

What made you want to put this message out right now? 

I think it’s important to shift the message of Valentine’s Day. We’re so hyper-focused on couples and gifts so let’s sit down and focus on the singles. Like where are all my single girls and guys at? We’re not missing out because we’re single. We’re actually gaining a lot of insight and time to really tap into our divine energy with no distractions. 

How would you say that you describe your own vulnerability in your work?

I think if you’re not vulnerable to your artistry, we are not getting the most authentic version of you. As mad as it sounds, consumers love vulnerability. We’re not robots and we have feelings and emotions for a reason, and we have to understand how to manoeuvre them to uplift ourselves and others. I hope that my music humanises people and reminds them it is okay to feel.

What’s coming for IAMDDB?

I will drop ‘Volume 6’. We’re dropping ‘Volume 7’ this year. We’ve got skincare dropping and a tracksuit line launching, hella videos, lots of features, and a tour on the way. We’re literally about to go to India for a few days. Yeah, man… Gratitude and peace.

  • Writer Ella Chadwick

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