Q&A with Kamari Deni
By Stella Ikuzwe
With Afro-inspired melodies, unique instrumentals, and uplifting lyrics, 22-year-old Afrobeats artist Kamari Deni seeks to use her talent and experiences to create music that can inspire and connect people. Kamari was born in the states, spent a couple of years in Puerto Rico, and then finally settled in Cote D’Ivore with her family. Her exposure to a variety of unique cultures while growing up gave her an appreciation for other cultures and traditions, teaching her to respect them and value them as her own. An appreciation that she carries in her daily life, but also shapes the music she creates.
Kamari’s journey with music was very organic and therapeutic. She grew up in the studio surrounded by instruments popping with different genres of music. Her family was also very musically inclined, her grandfather was in a band and her mom was a rapper. Her own interest in creating music began at 8 years old when she started playing the guitar. She proceeded to write her first song at 15 years old, which she performed for her mom and one of her mom’s friends, Gangsta Boo from 36 Mafia. They were blown away by the authenticity of her song and she started going into the studio. While it was a great experience, Deni’s singing style was unique and she felt pressured by others to fit into mainstream styles and genres, so she decided to take some time and find her artistic voice but now she is back and ready to take on the industry.
“It’s therapy for me first, then I transform it like a piece of art”
Deni describes her music as a “fusion of different genres” under the Afrobeats category, finding inspiration from drill beats, k-pop, rock, alternative, and hip hop. Her grandfather has greatly inspired her musically through watching him create and perform music, in fact, he bought her first guitar. She also grew up listening to various artists like the Temptations, the Fugees, and Earth, Wind & Fire who broadened her music taste and influenced her own music style. Deni describes her music process as typically starting with a melody or sounds, building a beat from there, and then writing lyrics to go along with it. In her latest song “Put in Work,” the song started as a letter to herself and then built a beat around it. As her popularity grows, Deni prioritizes her own health and maintains the therapeutic nature of music by taking breaks whenever she feels overwhelmed by the business side of it all. Her self-care practices include taking the time to listen to good music, dancing, reading, painting, and watching some Netflix.
“You have to have confidence in whatever you are doing”
Kamari hopes that her music is inspiring to people and when they listen, they hear the message she is highlighting. In the future, she would like to lead a music school where others can grow and build off of that passion. She anticipates the Afrobeats genre to grow in popularity and even more diverse styles and sub-genres to form. Her advice to other women wanting to enter the music industry is to stay authentic and stay focused; “The industry is male-dominated and there will be a lot of outside opinions, so it’s important to believe in yourself and use that as your power.”
Kamari Deni is a woman of many talents. She is a veteran model, musician, producer, painter and much more. She started her career as a model at the age of 3, with mentionable credit such as JCPenney catalog. She continued modeling at the age of 11, being invited to New York fashion week and becoming a very well-known runway model in Atlanta. She learned to play 7 instruments and eventually she began going to recording studios at the age of 15. During this time, Kamari was continuing to find her sound and did not like being conformed into a box. At the age of 20 Kamari begin producing her own beats.On her 21st birthday she released her first single Go Down and almost a year later she released her international hit Put In Work. Kamari currently resides in West Africa Ivory Coast with her mom and little sister.
Her mom has always been the biggest support in her career, from getting her instruments to perfect her craft, to setting her up in credible studios such as Drumma boy’s Studio, to helping her get her own studio, to helping with the creation of Put In Work, her newly released afrobeat single. Kamari is excited about her music journey and has plans to continue to produce and sing.She is a spiritual woman, forever grateful, and always giving thanks to Yahweh for her talents and her blessings.