Deno Driz, an introduction:
Date of Birth: September 23, 2002
From: London (Eritrean-British)
Style: A fusion of Afrobeat melodies and UK Rap
Who is Deno Driz?
Deno started life as a musician uploading covers to Instagram;
“Basically, I started off in school and one of my friends was like ‘ah Deno can you sing for my snapchat?’ I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I just did it. I told him not to post it, next thing I know I go on my phone and see my video up there! I was like ‘ah why did you post it, cringe basically.” – Deno Driz
Deno was able to swiftly harness the interest of 80 thousand people before gaining the attention of Stormzy, South London and MOBO award winning UK rapper, who Deno has now worked with on a number of occasions.
“I started getting a lot of positivity from those uploads, people started sharing it, and from there it started popping off. The followers started going from two thousand to three thousand. By the end of the week I was on ten thousand, end of the month was 30 thousand and now it’s nearly 100 thousand. If my videos weren’t on social media none of this would have happened.” – Deno Driz
Deno Driz then formed the group AJ x Deno with long time friend and rapper, AJ.
Who Are AJ x Deno?
The beginning: ‘Say It Back’, AJ’s debut track as a solo rapper piqued the interest of many female fans and gained well over 100 000 YouTube views:
“I started off doing music by myself, before music, I was quite known in the area where I came from so when I started music I made one song and put it on Soundcloud, I didn’t really expect it to get a buzz, but girls seemed to like it, and they were sharing it around and it got 60k views in two days! So I just stayed consistent with what I was doing and it just built up my fanbase.” – AJ
At the same time, Deno started getting attention when his rendition of Geko’s “Over and Under” went viral. Both teamed up shortly after their mutual successes and decided to release tracks as independent artists.
With both boys still yet to turn 18, AJ and Deno already earned a combined view total of over three million views, catching the eye of notorious State-side RnB star Chris Brown in the process. Music is an outlet, for AJ and Deno, a chance to shrug off the awkward shyness of adolescence and grow as performers.
AJ x Deno musical style:
AJ underscores his raps with an unapologetic London accented delivery:
“For us, our music is all about the vibe. If we’re feeling the beat then [songs] come to us quick. We usually start with the chorus, feel the vibe from that and then take it from there. Lyrically, I take inspiration from what’s around me, the things that are current, that happen in everyday life, and I try to work around that.” – AJ
AJ and Deno regularly fuse classic and contemporary styles in their music, drawing inspiration from pop music giants.
“I take inspiration from the styles I like, the music I like and the artists I like. I like Hip-Hop and RnB, and all the great artists that do that like, The Weeknd definitely inspires me, I think what inspires them, inspires me too so like Michael Jackson – everyone’s inspired by Michael Jackson, so if those people inspire me, it’s hard not to be inspired by him.” – Deno on his songwriting approach.
Having grown up in London, AJ and Deno spent their lives immersed in mixed cultures and sounds, which contrinutes to their sound.
AJ and Deno have been inundated with offers from the majors. Columbia Records was among the first to recognise and back the underground buzz with the offer of a deal. Other major labels followed suit but AJ and Deno relish the freedom that comes from independence and remain keen to pioneer their own sound.
Their ‘Ride Or Die’ video shoot was shut down by the Metropolitan police after crowds of fans descended on London’s Westfield Shopping Centre to catch a glimpse of the young stars.
‘Ride or Die’
‘Ride Or Die’ represents Deno and AJ’s first chapter, twisting Afrobeat with Bashment. They play with lush basslines and island melodies to create a sound that can propel them to the top.
“Our vibe is like an Afrobeat, Hip-Hop kind of thing. It’s kind of commercial but also underground as well, so it works for both crowds.” – AJ
Both know they’re capable of using their underground roots to secure commercial success and they continue to work with Team Salut, as well as producer Jae5, who has produced for lauded London afrobeat rapper JHus, and grime and UK rap star Dave.
Cadet x Deno – Advice (Dele Alli) Music Video – August 2018
Teenage singer Deno Driz linked up with London rapper, Cadet (cousin of Krept, of Krept and Konan) for a bouncy new single called ‘Advice (Dele Alli)’, in August 2018.
Produced by Da Beatfreakz, ‘Advice’ begun as a viral Instagram freestyle, similar to how ‘Corn’, featuring Big Tobz, came to fruition, as well as the growing list of freestyles Cadet penned and never officially released.
‘Advice’ later surfaced with a video. There is also a line which pays homage to Tottenham and England midfielder Dele Alli, and his viral hand gesture celebration, with the bar: ‘Don’t have your eye on her like Dele Alli’.
Deno Driz Tour Dates 2018
Mon 10 Dec 2018 – London
Deno is supporting Kyle at the Electric Ballroom, London