What is a typical day in the life of Demi Grace?
It varies really. Some days are more work outside of home while there are other days where I’m doing a bunch of work behind the scenes - writing down ideas, writing music, handling emails. Those are the days when I’m in my bedroom for hours wearing a headscarf and glasses. Those days are more frequent than many people think.
What is the role of music in your life?
Music is definitely an outlet for me. Growing up and being the youngest, a lot of people talk over you and for you, so I never really learned to speak up. Music gave me a chance to say what I was really thinking. It gives me a new perspective every single day, along with motivation and refreshing my spirit. When I’m feeling overwhelmed or down, I just have to hear the right song and my mood is instantly changed; so it’s therapy.
How do you want people to feel when they listen to your music?
I want people to feel happy, but also good about themselves. I want to make them dance, call the guy or move to that country they’ve always dreamed of. I want my music to inspire people to take a leap and do something outside of their fears. That's it. I want to make you feel fearless.
What do you think it is that sets you apart and how do you communicate that point of differentiation?
What sets me apart is being raised by very traditional Nigerian parents and having lived so many different places; from being born in London, to living in the Bay Area, to living in LA, to living in Atlanta, to living in New York. Each big city brought with it different experiences that I can and do push in my music. The sounds and visuals are bold but broad, influenced by the way of each place I’ve called home.
Where do you draw inspiration when creating your own music?
I draw a lot of inspiration from culture, specifically different black cultures. We have so many amazing stories to tell and we tell them in such a dope way.
How are you influenced by your Nigerian heritage?
The rhythms of West African and Nigerian music, Afrobeats are always firmly in my body as an artist, but also in my head when I’m writing or creating music. The attitude, traditions and principles of Nigerian culture are deep down in my heart. By that I mean the determined way we move about things as Nigerians. We’re very sure that tomorrow has to be better than today and always looking to get the next level in whatever we pursue.
How do you leverage your experience as both a musician and model in pursuit of a greater goal?
I used to think of it as more of a curse than a blessing. People saw me as just a model that wants to sing as opposed to someone who does both. Then I was told that what it means to be a modern day musician is to realize that you can’t just be a musician, and you’re better off if you embrace it. I’m working on establishing one brand instead of trying to prove myself separately. The world tries to box us in because it’s trying to understand. I want to let myself be.
What career highlight are you most proud of?
Performing with Beyonce is definitely a highlight. I learned so much from that VMAs performance and the long rehearsal schedule leading up to it simply by observing her. I recently performed in Nigeria and felt tremendously blessed to be able to go back home in a major way. It reminded me of who I am, why I should keep going and why this is all worth it after getting caught up in the daily grind. So, it’s a tie between those two moments.
You were the first model to be featured in a Pantene campaign with hair in locs. How did it feel to push the boundaries of beauty in that way?
We didn’t know that it was going to be such a big deal. When people started expressing their opinions on it and feeling so proud of the commercial, it hit me how important it was to fill that void. Women who identify with me deserve to feel special by seeing their look showcased. Demands for diversity are taking a toll on the beauty industry, and it’s a good thing.
How do you remain confident and sure of yourself as you navigate fashion and entertainment, both worlds that place an emphasis of the physical?
Lots and lots of talking to God in prayer and centering myself spiritually. You will get attacked constantly by things that can to shake your confidence, especially living is a world with social media. The same device that serves as your alarm clark feeds you ten images of what you think you should be like within minutes of you waking up.
I went through a period of figuring out what confidence means scientifically, how it works in the brain. I go back to the information I jotted down while reading on the topic to check myself when my confidence dips.
Lastly, I push myself. Not saying or doing what I want only feeds to insecurity monster within me, because no chance is taken to prove my doubts wrong. We have to do more and not overthink, especially as women.
What’s on the horizon for you?
There will be more international moves for me this year. I’m going to expand in Nigeria and I’m really excited about it.
How do you stay motivated as you strive to achieve your goals?
I stay motivated by looking at what I’ve already done and reminding myself that it’s not normal. It's not something that just everybody gets a chance to do every day and I must remain grateful for that. It’s key to realize that if the past can happen, then future I’m dreaming of can happen too.