We were able to catch up with Dounia for a few minutes this Memorial Day weekend after her performance at SoundSet Festival in Minnesota, and hot off the release of her newest EP, “Not Good for the Ego”. Here’s what went down:
WMXM: For our listeners who’ve never heard your music before, describe your sound. Five words or less? Or whatever you feel is necessary.
Dounia: I think I really am crafting my own genre, just ’cause I feel like my songs are so different, but still fit under Dounia, you know? but for an outside listener, I would say it could be very eclectic yet mellow. Mellow bars, like the Spotify playlist? I feel like that describes me perfectly.
WMXM: Yeah, for sure. So the other day on twitter you said that you started producing music at the age of 14, which is amazing, congratulations.
Dounia: Thank you!
WMXM: So how has your creative process sort of evolved and changed as you’ve grown?
Dounia: I’ve just gotten less nervous. *laughs* I’ve gotten less anxious, thankfully, by the grace of God, growing up. So I feel like the cozier you are, the more you’re willing to expand with your music or your craft. Before, I used to shake in front of producers, and sweat on paper as I’m writing, now I can walk into the session with like whatever, you know? And like retake the same line 50 times until I like it, and it’s really just about getting out of your comfort zone, and realizing that you’re literally capable of whatever you wanna do in this world, you’re no different from anybody that you idolize that does it. So it’s like that’s really what I realized. Like bruh, if people can produce, I can produce. People can make these videos, I can do that. So yeah, that’s always been my philosophy.
WMXM: I love that! you’ve worked with Kehlani a little bit, tell me about how that started for you and what that’s been like?
Dounia: we were just friends, we met randomly at a show and she ended up knowing my music, I thought that was insane, we vaguely discussed collabing, then one day she came to New York and we literally made it happen at 2am in some studio in the city. So yeah, it was so fun and it’s gonna go down in the books, I love that record so much and we shot a video and she’s just a dope human, she’s so chill and it was all good vibes.
WMXM: you grew up in queens and Morocco, so tell me about the track “Lowkey Girl” and the persona of “Moroccan Doll”, and all of the languages in that song, tell me about what that process was like for you, just deciding to do that with the song.
Dounia: It just randomly came to me, cause I was like bro I need to have another Darija verse, ’cause people love Darija freestyle from Avante-Garden [her previous album released in 2018], but I also want people to know when it’s coming, so I’m like alter-ego, Moroccan Doll! I thought it was funny too cause the dolls are so cute, the little Moroccan dolls. But yeah, it’s just been important for me to integrate Darija and Moroccan just because they’ve been so supportive and wonderful, and we’re like family, so I wanna give them something to relate to, and I know there’s nothing like that out that’s Darija, and my style and my expression. So I just think it’s important to do that.
WMXM: Definitely, that’s awesome. So your new EP, “Not Good for the Ego” came out a few days ago, and we saw you perform some of it during your set, it was great, I loved it, everybody loved it. tell me about what inspired the EP?
Dounia: Ao basically I like to call it a “chase pack”, ’cause I really wanted to do some of my favorite standout songs, and put them in a four-song thing, so people could listen all the way through, ’cause I have a bigger project coming out, you know what im saying? so I’m like, “don’t you wanna hear more, after the four tracks?”
WMXM: Absolutely, of course!
Dounia: So yeah, that was really the thinking behind it, and I love all those songs, those are my favorites, so I was like “bruh this is gonna be insane if I put them together,” you know?
WMXM: Yeah, it’s awesome, I’m a big fan.
Dounia: Thank you, thank you so much.
WMXM: So you said you had a new project coming, when is it coming out? Can you tell us?
Dounia: This summer! This summer for sure.
WMXM: Awesome! do you have a tour on the books at all?
Dounia: Yes, I would love to, I’m pretty sure I’ll do an intimate tour, maybe hit a few cities, but dude I love meeting people that like my music, I love all of that, so trust me, as it becomes more and more feasible to do bigger tours, i’m gonna do it.
WMXM: what is the one thing you want listeners to take away from your music?
Dounia: I think it’s being more comfortable in your self-expression. I think as Oprah says, a lot of people try to–instead of trying to fill their cup more, or like be more of themselves, they’re trying to run away from that or go the opposite direction and I’ve been through that, it’s part of growing up. Where I was running away from who I truly am, whereas no–I wanna preach the message that you can walk toward that and it’s just an abundance of light there. it’s just fire, over there. So that’s really what I want people to take away from it, and just like, I love–as cliché as it sounds– female empowerment is very important, I love women who realize that so much power comes from personal confidence, it creates a huge bigger power, you know? So yeah, we’re just out here challenging the patriarchy or whatever, I just wanna empower girls, I wanna empower people to express themselves, be themselves, when you’re yourself everyone around you is themselves, you know? I think we could just be way lit-er, you know?
WMXM: Yeah for sure, well that was the last question I had, thank you for sitting down with us.
Dounia: Thank you, of course!
Dounia’s newest EP, “Not Good for the Ego”, is available now. Listen below or on any other music platform: