If you ever felt that a signal was needed for you to continue chasing your dreams, then look no further than Romy Dya’s creative expression. This, is that signal. There comes a point in every person’s life where they stand at the crossroads, deciding whether to put security of a normal life on the line for what you want, what you love, or not. For Dya, that was in the form of giving up a powerful Lawyer position, taking a chance on the healthy salary and 9-5 in the busy city life of urban Netherlands, and putting faith in herself and her talent.
The gamble paid off and then some. From gaining vital songwriting and producing experience for EDM pop commercial demos, getting the graft from the free studio time, to making her 2017 breakthrough working with the biggest names in the game, with a track produced and written with Martin Garrix, David Guetta and Jamie Scott ‘So Far Away’ under her belt. It’s therefore fair to say that Romy Dya has many other tricks where that came from, and it was time to break from the background. Her new LP, marks her style of voice with the banger of a title “I FKN LOVE MYSELF”- and it means what it says on the tin. Dya is here to meet her moment, and she’s clutching it with everything she’s got.
“My best friend came up with the title.” Dya explained one afternoon over a giggly zoom call. “It reflects the most recent chapter of my life since I broke up with my ex of 12 years and two kids. He told me that it was hard to love me, and I was screaming to the universe, why? Why was it so hard? But I’m glad he told me that, told me that I was always complaining about myself and how I looked and felt. And I knew that deep down, I was so insecure, so jealous of others, so afraid to lose what I was hanging on to. I truly hated myself and I rejected my own reflection, I didn’t want to look myself in the eye. What was going to stare back at me was a girl who had been through so much trauma, abuse all through the years. But there was no way I was going to pull through unless I began to flip all these things on their head and embrace them. I had to begin mending myself, learning to love me. All the imperfections, the cellulite, stretch marks from childbirth, all of it I embraced. I’m strong, beautiful and worthy, so I f*cking love myself.”
When asked about the early influences of her love for music, Dya took her mind back to humble beginnings, growing up in a small village of the Netherlands. “I really look up to Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, and many jazz artists.” She began to explain. “I started to listen to jazz artists at around 10 years old, and my parents are like huh? What?” She laughed. “My mum was a country singer, and my dad was more of a soul man- Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire. As I got older, I got into the sounds of artists like Erykah Badu and Amy Winehouse, so I guess all together, all these influences created myself.
For the outsider listening into Dya’s LP, you can certainly feel the waves of how you feel when listening to early Doja Cat EP archive sounds, with the romantic sunset flair of Kali Uchis, stirred in with the sugar sweet vocals that can be compared to Summer Walker and Tinashe. “You can definitely hear the alt R&B / Neo soul undertones of the LP.” She began to explain. “Sprinkled with a bit of hip-hop, some jazzy vibes that I soaked up from my childhood, some pop in the song’s overall constructions.” When pulling out certain songs in particular, Dya began to explain that “Thank You in particular is a thank you for all the good and bad, to no one in specific, but an overall thank you for the lessons I’ve been taught. It made me stronger and wiser, and I used to see myself as a victim and play pity parties. Not anymore, I flipped it, and I bossed up. ‘Prayed 4 U’ is about my future husband, whoever he may be. I’m manifesting him into the universe! It’s a future love letter for him, he’s out there I know it.”
So what is the future beginning to shape for her now she has time stamped this moment with a delicate yet punchy LP? “Some visuals for the album are coming!” she revealed to us excitedly. “I’m not going to rely primarily on Spotify or other streaming platforms to push my work, I need to give it that extra oomph. But now this year is opening up hopefully to some kind of normality, I just can’t wait to perform with my band! This month I’m actually going to Ghana to shoot my music video for ‘Pray 4 U’ which I’m so excited for, and to ultimately share it with you all. But that’s not all, my head is fully in the right place for a new EP which I’m currently working on. So expect that in the October of this year; it’s way more R&B influenced this time round.”
“It’s probably going to be that bedroom playlist, evening into night kind of vibe.” She added with a cheeky smile and a laugh. “It’s October, you know? People are winding down for the year, if you get what I mean… It’s untitled yet, but it’s going to be about love. Still manifesting that future husband! He’s got to know that I’m out there and waiting…”
Listen/ stream Romy Dya’s fresh, hot off the press new video for the single ‘Use U’ here;
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Words: Heather Hogan
Photography: Dwight Neville