D.D.A. Speaks with us on Latest Album “Phoenix,” Winning a Leather Title, and More!

Philly based drag artist and musician D.D.A. releases new album “Phoenix” and talks with us about that, winning a leather title, and more!

To celebrate Black History Month, Philadelphia based drag artist and musician D.D.A. has officially released their latest album titled “Phoenix.” D.D.A. is not new to this, as she’s been releasing music as far back as 2020. She has been doing drag for even longer, and also won Mx Philadelphia Leather for the 2020/2021 reigning years, not to mention she also won the coveted Philly based drag competition Snatcherella 3000 in 2021. With a rolodex of talent, her new album is nothing short of showcasing such versatility as an entertainer and musician.

Phoenix has 10 tracks in total, ranging from classic hip hop styled tracks, r&b trap inspired vibes, insatiable ballroom bops, house beat anthems, and so much more. The versatility from start to finish on this album is truly immaculate, with D.D.A. showing us so many different vocal approaches to match each specific genre seemingly effortlessly! Her confidence exudes into each track, and the transitions between each song feels seamless. From singing to rapping to giving us background vocals for days, D.D.A. really showed out on this album.

It’s hard for me to pick even a top 5 from this album, but if I had to pick a few to go over, I’d start with the title track “Phoenix” that serves almost like a prelude for the entire project. The beginning of the track leads with D.D.A. speaking atop the sounds of burning ashes led directly into the classic hip hop inspired instrumental. With the ashes burned away, D.D.A. begins the first verse speaking about rising from the ashes of a Phoenix to begin anew, speaking on her history of what she’s went through just to get to where she is now. This track is such a perfect opener which is why I think it’s a must listen from the album.

The second track I’m obsessed with is “Get Like Me” featuring DJ Delish. This ballroom inspired track has a bouncy bass line and percussion that gives you that oh-so-sweet whiplash you crave at any ball. The hook is so catchy that it’s sure to get stuck in your head, and the verses are cleverly written with flow switch ups and eloquently written lyricism. Once DJ Delish’s verse hits on their verse, it’s gonna feel a bit impossible to not wanna move your head and body to this track.

How could one listen to “Cunt” and NOT bop their head? This house inspired track has beautifully sung vocals by D.D.A. in the beginning and throughout the entire track, and the beat feels absolutely perfect for any dance floor. I really love the hook to this track too. It’s fierce, it’s powerful, it’s everything you’d expect a track named “Cunt” to exemplify. The feature from Icon Ebony Fierce only adds to the vibe on this track, really making them both feel like such a power duo.

“Take My Breath Away” featuring Quinn Possible quite literally does what the title says. The instrumental is so beautiful that it gave me chills on my first listen, and when D.D.A. comes onto the track singing, it pieces everything together so perfect. Not to mention, the track interpolates Fu-Gee-La by the Fugees in the middle of the song so perfectly that I’m honestly obsessed with this homage to Lauryn Hill. Quinn Possible’s touches to the track also bring such grace to this track, it’s a perfect matchup. Wait til you get to the key changes at the end.

“BQH” featuring Vinchelle is also quite a beautifully written and sung track, with a slow yet happy instrumental that makes even the darkest of days feel like a sunny day. The chorus is inspiring to say the least, with D.D.A. singing “I’m so proud to be free, finally me, Black Queer Happy” so powerfully that it’s sure to move you. This song is a celebration to being black queer and happy, with D.D.A. and Vinchelle touching on what that means to them personally. This is a 10/10 track that everyone must listen to IMMEDIATELY.

The final track titled “Vicious” pairs trap percussion with rock music combined with D.D.A. spitting bars across the entire song. This song feels like such a perfect closer that represents D.D.A.’s fierceness and confidence to a T. She’s a go getter, and she really can do anything she puts her mind to. I think this album alone speaks for itself, but add in her accolades as a performer and entertainer over the years? D.D.A. is not someone you wanna mess with, but she IS the entertainer you wanna book at your next event to see live.

I had the privilege of interviewing her about the album and more, check that out below!

Bryce Quartz: Hey there, D.D.A., thank you for taking the time to speak with me today! How are you feeling now that your latest album “Phoenix” is released on all platforms for the world to hear?

D.D.A.: I’m feeling amazing. This project was a lot of fun to work on and I feel like it’s some of my best work which is why I’m so excited to be able to share this with the world. 

Bryce Quartz: Just to give some background detail for our readers, how long have you been releasing music and what inspired you to start?

D.D.A.: I’ve been doing music for a very long time but didn’t start releasing my own stuff until 2017. It was sort of a hobby for me. I started singing at the age of 5 and have done things musically throughout my life. It wasn’t until 2017 when I released my first EP on SoundCloud. I was inspired to start because it was a great way to get my emotions out in a very healthy manner. 

I used to be very reckless and act out on my emotions and it used to cause a lot of problems and get me in trouble. But after a break up I had that really broke my heart, I used music to really heal myself. I started writing songs and melodies from scratch and used good old GarageBand to produce my first project. I’m really grateful for the gift of music and its healing power. 

Bryce Quartz: You are currently the reigning Mx Philadelphia Leather title holder for 2020/2021, can you tell our readers a little bit about winning that title and what the experience was like?

D.D.A.: Winning that title changed my life. For me being a Black Trans Person then(woman now), I always felt that leather was a space that wasn’t inclusive of us. I never really saw representations of myself in leather and that’s what ultimately made me decide to run. 

It was the first year that the concept was open to having a Mx title holder and to be able to say that I was the first is something I will always keep in my heart. Humbly grateful for the experiences I have been able to experience like judging competitions, doing panels, presenting workshops, and working with a beautiful community. 

Winning that title also feels like that meme of Rose from Titanic saying, “It’s been 89 years”. I won my title as the first Mx. Philadelphia Leather in history of Philadelphia back in 2020. A week before the pandemic shut everything the down. I have held the title since and hope to be able to pass on the title to my future sash child. 

Bryce Quartz: I’ve known about Snatcherella 3000 for a while now because of Philly drag Twitter, and you happened to win season 2! What was that experience like?

D.D.A.: That experience also changed my life too. I had struggled finding footing in the nightlife scene of Philadelphia, booking shows, and finding support and community. Then in 2021 snatcheralla 3000 made its first debut for season 1 in the middle of the summer time. I decided to apply and was chosen for season 1 and competed up to week 3. I was actually a front runner winning week two and placing high week three. But due to mental health issues and family issues I could not continue in the competition and made an exit. 

The producers loved me so much that they decided to invite me back to apply for Season 2. Season 2 was so much fun!!! Although it was a competition it pushed me to think outside of my comfort zone and do things I normally wouldn’t have done. Like week 3 I was the Genie from Aladdin for Dirty Disney Week. It was also my first time performing in drag. 

Winning that competition gave me a lot of confidence in my art, it opened opportunities in the city to perform in some amazing shows. And most importantly helped me grow a strong support base that I love dearly! I couldn’t be here without them. 

Bryce Quartz: If someone’s never seen you perform live, what could they expect from a first time experience at one of your shows?

D.D.A.: Production!!! I’m a production girl down. I love to tell a story when I perform. And what you will always get is that. I’m intentional about everything, from visuals, lighting, choreography, set, everything. I want to people to always leave a show or performance of mine saying, “Wow she really ate that up!” 

Bryce Quartz: Now to the album you just dropped titled “Phoenix,” can you tell us a little bit about the creation of this album in and out of the studio?

D.D.A.: So I started getting into my creative bag for this album last summer. I had just gone to see Beyoncé in concert and after I left the show I left so inspired by her show and it made me want to get into the studio and create music that made you feel like hers did. 

My last album “Tears of A Broken Heart” was a heavier album and I wanted to create something more fun and fresh. So I started creating beats while simultaneously, looking for other producers to work with for sounds that I was looking for. The first two songs I released as singles were Get Like Me ft DJ Delish and Dear John Letter. They both got really good reviews especially Get Like Me. 

I continued to create and write music and created over 20 songs for the project initially and it wasn’t until I recorded  the title track Phoenix that I started to piece together the album. 

Then I would book studio time through out the week. Sometimes work my job from 9-6 be in the studio from 7 to 11. Recording most of the tracks that I wanted to use for the album and maybe near future. 

In all I started writing the album in September and finished in January. This is actually the fastest I recorded an album as well. 

Bryce Quartz: You have some awesome features on the album too, including DJ Delish, Icon Ebony Fierce, Quinn Possible, and Vinchelle. What was it like working with these other artists and how did you go about bringing those tracks to life?

D.D.A.: Oh we ate these tracks up! I enjoyed every moment of working with these 4 artists. This is actually the first time I have worked with other musical artists on songs for a project. And I really am so happy with the experiences I had with all of them individually. We all worked our asses off to make these tracks sound the way they sound.

Bryce Quartz: I can’t help but notice the release date for “Phoenix” was February 2nd of this year, and you also dropped your last album “TEARS OF A BROKEN HEART” last year on February 2nd. Is there a significance to this date for you?

D.D.A.: Well I always consider myself Black History in the making. And what better way to start off the month of Black History Month than to drop some music!

Bryce Quartz: I found that the transitions between tracks were quite clever and smooth, it really makes the album feel extremely cohesive. I found it extremely impressive how you meshed the r&b style track “Dinero” right into a ballroom style beat for “Get Like Me.” Did you find it difficult to implement these transitions throughout the album between different genre styles?

D.D.A.: It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was gonna be. When I start creating and going through a tracklist for an album I always want to make sure it’s a cohesive body work. Because this album didn’t have a story driven base like my previous album “Tears Of A Broken Heart” I wanted to make sure transitions for songs were seamless and intentional. One of my favorite examples is the transition between Phoenix and Dinero. I always loved strings and orchestra and I was really excited I was able to pull off a transition like that.

Bryce Quartz: The album really showcases your ability as a vocalist and rapper with a few different genre styles that you seem to float on. What are some of your favorite genre styles to create on?

D.D.A.: So that’s difficult to say. I appreciate all genres of music because of my upbringing. I grew up in a household where I listened to everything from R&B, Hip Hop, to Country or Rock. So because of that I always try to pull from that source of eclectic upbringing. That’s why you’ll hear different genres on my projects. But I will say, I’m always gonna love my R&B moment. That’s where I’ve always felt comfortable. 

Bryce Quartz: If a first time listener could only listen to 3-4 tracks from this album, which ones would you point them to and why? 

D.D.A.: That’s a tough question!!! But I would my suggestion would be to either listen to the first 4 songs on the album or do the opposite and listen to the last 4 tracks of the album. I feel like the doing either or will get a good grasp of what I can do. Even then I still feel like it wouldn’t capture ALL of what I can do. 

Bryce Quartz: The final track “Vicious” really feels like a definitive closer that ties your confidence and vocal ability into one leaving the listener wanting to come back for more. What was your intention going into this track and placing it as the closer?

D.D.A.: Well when I first got the beat I immediately fell in love. It was the shortest song that I had in the catalog but it was so in your face that I just knew I had to have it on the album. 

I really wanted to let people know that no matter what people had to say about me or what obstacles were in my way that I was gonna make it one day come hell or high water. And baby I’m both in my own retrospect. 

I think the whole idea of Phoenix was really to showcase the growth out of my past album in a more confident and powerful light. And as you go through the album and reach Vicious, you see that theme throughout. 

Cover Art for “Phoenix”

Bryce Quartz: For our readers, do you identify within the bear community and how do you think bears and cubs alike respond to your drag, performances, and music?

D.D.A.: In my cishet days, I what you would be considered as an otter. So I wasn’t in the bear community per se but Bear adjacent. However, I do love and appreciate my bears. I always have. I mean just look at my my man. He’s a cub himself.

I think anybody would appreciate my art. I try to make sure everyone that comes in contact with me always leaves like I had a personal conversation. That’s how I like to speak through my art 

Bryce Quartz: What can we expect next from you? Do you have any visuals planned for this album?

D.D.A.: I do have a few things up my sleeve. I will be releasing a deluxe version of the album later this year. I also have a few music videos planned. 

I also will be performing a lot! Eventually putting together my own live concert here in Philly. So if anyone is in the area please come and see my show!

Bryce Quartz: Would you like to add anything else for our readers? 

D.D.A.: You can follow me on instagram and x/twitter by following DDAmusicworld.

I’m also on all streaming platforms as well so check out all my music.

I’m also performing in a show in Philly called Love Light And Liberation: Black History is NOW through my organization I work for called Galaei, hosted and put together by Luna Thee Jawnette on February 21st. I will be performing some of my music with special guests. Door at 8! Show at 9! At Franky Bradley’s. 

Also happy Black History Month!

Be sure to follow D.D.A. on social media below, and don’t forget to give “Phoenix” a listen that’s now streaming on all platforms!

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