“You don’t need someone to give you visibility. It’s right here, on your phone”

BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE BY RARE JORDAN

Raised in Queens, New York, Dai Burger has become a fascination at queer house parties across the city. Bringing a fresh outlook to the world of rap music traditionally dominated by men, Dai has much to say about sex-positive lyrics, body confidence and being her authentic self. Her new album, Back In Ya Mouf, is out today. Go, go, go!

Back In Ya Mouth is out on 10 December. Congrats! Could you tell me a little bit about it?

It’s really fun. It’s just me being me, and it’s delicious. You’ve got your dance tracks and your hardcore tracks – because of course, I’m from New York. My producers are in Baltimore so there’s also a lot of club influence.

Your single Big Boob Bitch features on new album Back In Ya Mouf, and it’s a hugely sex-positive, body-positive anthem. What inspired the musical process for this?

Big Boob Bitch is legendary. It was on one of my first projects that I really put out there – it’s the first time I was really recognised for my music. It was one of the biggest anthems, so we decided to re-release it because it was never on streaming platforms. This was way back during the SoundCloud days. It’s a huge club banger – everybody knows it, and it plays in all the clubs out there. I’m still that girl.

You grew up in Queens, New York City. What was it like for you growing up in the Big Apple? What inspired you to start performing music?

I’m an only child raised by a single mum, so I had to create my own world of entertainment because I was by myself a lot. When I was at school, I was told I talked too much, but I just wanted to be around people and enjoy people. I guess I just used that need to connect with people – putting these things together in my head and then sharing it with all the people I knew. That started in Queens, and then I started sharing it with the world.

Your sexuality has always been at the centre of your work, and you’ve been described as a “fixture” of queer nightlife. What does it mean to you to be honest and open about your experiences and your life?

As a woman, I know how difficult it is for us to be seen and heard. I want to use the rights that our ancestors fought for, for us to be free. I have to be speak up for the ones that are still too scared to speak.

Rap is very male-dominated traditionally. What does authentic women-specific, LGBTQI-specific visibility mean to you?

When I first started, the only way it seemed to do music was to get signed by a big record label. But at that time, YouTube was becoming big. You didn’t need a record label to put a video out – you could drop your own. I was able to make myself visible – I didn’t have to rely on a company or a person. It was necessary, because being a girl from Queens, I was very different. In Brooklyn, I was received for my weirdness and I was able to use the internet to be who I wanted to be. I always tell people that the dream has changed – you don’t need someone to give you visibility. It’s right here, on your phone.

You’re behind the Where My Girls initiative, working towards getting young women into music. Could you tell me a little bit about it?

So far, we’ve done two sessions. We have young girls, some from Queens and some from Brooklyn, and we link up. We did it in The Brewery Recording Studio in Brooklyn, and we did some song-writing and some brainstorming. Typically, I teach them how to think of a cool song and map it out. They learn how to record and use technical equipment in the studio, and each time, we left with songs. As an only child, I didn’t have a programme like this. I wish there was someone who came and said “Hey, here’s how to write a song”. I love giving back to the youth and giving out positive energy to the world.

Back In Ya Mouth is available on all streaming platforms now. To keep up with Dai, follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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