A persona is so easy to construct and maintain nowadays. It's almost easier to play catch-up with current trends or tap into the right algorithm for cool than it is to spend that time figuring out who we are apart from the herd and the barrage of content it navigates through. It's why a lot of music is disposable. And why every so often, when we do come across something wholly authentic, we're immediately drawn in by it.

That explains Manchester artist IAMDDB's ardent emergence and why over the summer, she's gone from enigmatic newcomer to one of the most hotly tipped artists out of the UK. Everything she says and does is unscripted - with razor-sharp vocals and an unapologetic smirk. And her growing fanbase has taken notice.

"Bad bitch, no underwear" are the first words the urban jazz singer unleashes on her breakout single 'Shade,' which soon became a summer anthem for late-night antics and festival season action. IAMDDB, born Diana Debrito, followed up the hype hymn leading into September with the release of her Hoodrich EP - dense in raw sonic fusions paired with implacable lyrics that solidified her as the substantial alternative to an industry plant-based diet. And now she's eating too.

You've been popping up all over the place lately, performing everywhere from Croatia to Italy to Poland. Tell me about the current hoodrich life and times of IAMDDB living her best life.

It's crazy. To think that I started making music like 'Leaned Out' and then most of the videos are now at one million views, it's a lot to get accustomed to. But, I can't lie, it's a blessing to wake up and do what you love to do and what you always wanted to do - what you've dreamed of for so long. It's a blessing from above. So, I'm just trying to take each day as it comes and keep it moving.

It's all happening at once. And I know you've expressed that for you, Hoodrich is your journey of making everything out of nothing. So, what has been your favourite part in finding success and finding it your own way this last year?

You know what, it's honestly just keeping it g with myself. When I'm staying true to myself, I'm happy. So as long as I'm not trying to conform and as long as I'm not trying to change for the wrong reasons, then I'm happy. It's a blessing to be able to be myself and to do what I want to do, rather than having to do it because I'm told to or because it's good to. Everything just flows and feels very natural. That alone is enough to keep me happy forever.

To be honest, that's what I related to most when I started listening to you. I heard 'Shade' and you came through with this aggressive, boastful sauciness but rather than saying you're better than your rivals because you've got more material shit, or looks, you're like, I'm better because I'm a better person. My soul is more pure. Why was that so important for you to write?

There are too many artists in the industry that try and change and pretend to be something that they're not. Eventually, you're going to see that you're not what you're trying to portray. I thought, if I'm going to do music, I have to be 100% honest and expose my flaws. I have to expose my mistakes and I have to expose what I'm scared of. And that's exactly what I did. For example, 'Childsplay' on Volume one, that was one of the most vulnerable tracks I've ever recorded. But you know what, because of that, people really gravitated towards it. It's about finding that balance between being vulnerable but also having confidence in what you do. Those two elements have literally led me to where I am today.

Honestly, people fiend for authenticity.

Trust me. It's so easy to get lost in the sauce. It's so easy to become just another thing - just another rapper. But you've just got to keep it real with yourself. That's the only thing you can do to differentiate from everything else.


I also love just sonically what you're doing. What was your introduction to urban jazz and finding your creative identity in it?

Urban jazz is basically what I grew up listening to. My dad is a musician so around the house, I used to listen to a lot of afrosoul and South African music and different riddims. So, I would catch myself harmonizing with everything from a very young age. I feel like the music that I grew up listening to really influenced me - people like Nat King Cole and Gretchen Parlato. It just gives me a different edge apart from just R&B and pop. Those elements made me want to bring it back but in a more current way. That's why you get volume one and volume two and volume three. It's almost like a new sound, but if you know music, you understand that it's a lot deeper than it seems.

You used to play music with your dad Manuel De Brito in Angola before heading to Manchester to kill shit over there. What is your musical relationship with your pops in terms of what he taught you about music?

He literally taught me everything from knowing how to record, or understanding how a mic works to knowing about mixing and mastering different sounds. He has literally been my inspiration. Music has always been my thing. Music has always been my passion. I can't imagine doing anything else. If it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't have the music gene. So ya man, he's my number one.

I know there's a lot happening for you behind the scenes in terms of where you want to take your career. What feels right to you right now?

All the interest is really flattering, because for them to notice me, it means that I must be doing something good. But right now, my main concern is doing what I'm comfortable doing. I'm just allowing myself to flow, because that's how it's all happened naturally - just me talking about my life and my experiences and then somehow and someway people gravitate towards it.

What place are you looking to occupy in music and how does that direct your drive to get there?

I feel like I'm a musician before an entertainer or performer. You have to love the music before you can even expect anything from it. Sometimes, you shouldn't even expect, because you never know what could happen. But, me, it's being in love with the music first and the skills that you need will come along with it. I can remember my first performance. I was nervous as hell. Now, when I go on stage, I still get butterflies, but I know what I'm doing and I'm confident. And at the same time, I'm still Diana.

This has been your year and it's been pretty undefeated so far. So what's next? How do you top it?

There are a lot more visuals to come. We're already working on volume four and volume five. I want to go to America and see what can happen there and see what collabs we can make happen. But yeah, I don't really stress too much. I have a plan and I know what I'm doing so let's just see how it goes is how I tend to work. And somehow, it's going well. But that goes back to keeping it true to yourself and just flowing with instinct.

Find IAMDDB's Hoodrich, Vol 3 here.