Rhythm of Love: In conversation with Imli Lee - Eastern Mirror
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Music, Rhythm of Love

Rhythm of Love: In conversation with Imli Lee

By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Jul 15, 2021 11:37 pm
Imli Lee aka Dejavu

Skilled lyricist Imli Lee aka Dejavu has carved out a niche for himself in the music industry with his inspiring gospel rap. His stage name Imli Lee (Dejavu) was the name given to him  by his hostel warden for a study group which he eventually adopted as his stage name. Read on to know more interesting facts about Dejavu.

Eastern Mirror: What got you into music?

Imli Lee: I always loved singing since my primary school days, and then during middle school I found an interest for poetry. So from my high school days I started writing and composing Rap. I was 12/13. It started then.

Eastern Mirror: Are there any artists who inspired you to get into rapping/beat boxing?

Imli Lee:  No particular one. I think poetry was what got me hooked into rap music because it is Rhythm and poetry. The music I used to listen to then were Outlandish, Linkin Park, Eminem, Jay Z. And no I’m no beatboxer I’m terrible.

Eastern Mirror: Tell us about the first song you ever made.

Imli Lee:  In the early 2000’s I wanted to record a song or two but being in high school with no idea about the world outside, the studio, no financial stability it was impossible until 2007 I made a collaboration album with various artistes. Song was titled “Better days”.

Eastern Mirror: Talk us through your creative process of song writing?

Imli Lee:  Believe it or not most of the songs I record are written and composed at the studio. I get more inspiration and work best under pressure. So yes I go in with incomplete ideas and what I want to touch on and finish the lyrical content of the song at the studio.

Imli Lee

Eastern Mirror: What are the main themes that you cover?

Imli Lee:  I don’t do love songs. I do gospel, and day to day life songs. I want to keep my songs free of vulgarity. And make music that can show people that Rap music also be inspirational, free of cuss and slangs and not just about money, sex and drugs.

Eastern Mirror: You have several accolades for your contribution to music. Why were you on a musical break for such a long time? Has it been productive?

Imli Lee:  When I should have focused on myself and my musical career I had to take the backseat and get involved with event management. You can’t get into event management or artiste management and promote yourself, you have to take the back seat and promote the talents coming up, and that’s just what I did. And I have no regrets whatsoever.

It’s all part of learning experience and I’m blessed to be still able to make music. And will do so for the rest of my life. I’m still learning and exploring every single day.

Eastern Mirror: If you were asked to change the perception of the people towards musicians in the state what would that be?

Imli Lee:  We have plenty of talents around but they go nowhere because our own people fail to recognise our own. We know musicians and artistes from all around the world but our people hardly know a couple of Naga Musicians and artistes. We should support our own and see them grow, because if we don’t promote our own who will. And with better studio production we can be at par with the others so just give in your support and encourage the talents.

Eastern Mirror: Do you feel pressured to live up to the expectations of those who look up to you?

Imli Lee:  Expectations can be disappointing so don’t live with expectations but live with responsibilities. And so yes, as a senior musician in my own field line I feel that what we do, act or say can make an impact. So I guess we have to be more careful and be more responsible.

Eastern Mirror: You are one of the few rappers in the state music industry so have you ever felt the audience cannot connect to your music? If no, how do you try to connect with them during live shows/performance?

Imli Lee:  Oh, I might be one of the few early rappers but now we have plenty of talents in the region.

And coming to the question, yes. I think my kind of music making is very different from the others so it can be hard to connect with the regular hip-hop music because it’s more like a soulful kind of rap music. But I enjoy live performances more than anything else.

So many artistes are good recording artistes but terrible live performers. I’m the opposite. I can connect or indulge more intimately with the audience during live performances.

Eastern Mirror: Having seen and experienced the showbiz industry before and after the advent of social media, what are the rewards and drawbacks of social media?   

Imli Lee:  Yes the big question. During our initial days we were not easily accessible to the internet whatsoever. The only platform we could get was the Church or small shows during certain occasions. It was harder to connect with bigger audience and showcase our talents.

But now with the advancement and availability of countless of social media platforms we can reach out to more audience anywhere around the world. Things have become much easier. But with that said it can only mean that if people opt more for digital platform, in the near future it can kill the livelihood of live performers who are too old school to get into the world of social media.

Eastern Mirror: What suggestion would you give TaFMA if you were asked to- for the betterment of the music industry? Do you have any projects coming up?

Imli Lee:  With the inception of TaFMA Naga musicians are benefiting a lot. More options, more ventures, and opportunities. But when you get involved into too many things, it affects the outcome. So a little less in quantity and more on quality. If they can get involved or invest in just few quality projects it will be more productive for the musicians. And also equal opportunities to all musicians, young and old from all corners of Nagaland.

And as for me I would like to do a couple of more songs before the year ends. And yes working on few live projects which might be online or offline depending on the lockdown relaxation.

By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Jul 15, 2021 11:37:49 pm