Demie the Destroyer set to make her mark on world stage with upcoming EP 'Airplane Mode' and new single 'Sage'
After taking on the Chinese, South Korean, and American markets, the LA-based singer-songwriter reveals to MEA WorldWide that she's only just beginning
With the Hallyu wave paving the way, more and more artists have begun emerging from Asia into the international market. One such artist is LA-based Chinese-American singer-songwriter Demie Cao aka 'Demie the Destroyer', who made her U.S. debut back in May with the hip hop track 'Yung'.
Demie first gained a following after she began posting K-Pop covers to her YouTube channel. She then embarked on a musical career by opening shows for Korean hip-hop artists such as BeWhy, Giriboy, G2, Loopy and Swings before making her Chinese debut last year with her single 'Night Vision' which landed the rising artist on Billboard Asia’s 2019 'Best of Rap: URBAN ASIA Vol. 2'. Following a successful Asian debut, she then branched out by writing music for Chinese and Korean artists with MRMG (Mister Rocks Music Group) as well as releasing a Korean track 'Chungdam Models' in 2017 featuring Ace Hashimoto and Rekstizzy. She then moved further towards international markets, releasing 'Yung' and making her foray into the U.S. But she's not stopping there, already prepping for her official Korean debut with the support of Steel Wool Entertainment.
'Yung', Demie states, is a song about "grow/ing up". "I wanted to celebrate my youth," she adds, "but also present it as a melancholic anthem to my becoming an adult. I also saw it as a bit of a metaphorical love song. It’s like a recollection of good memories with a person (aka youth), and moving on from them." Inspired by her journey from adolescence to adulthood, 'Yung' is a nod to when Demie used to release K-Pop covers on YouTube and performed as an opener for top Korean hip-hop artists. The melancholic anthem expresses the rollercoaster of emotions that come with growing up and having to face the fact that adulthood is right around the corner. The track will feature on Demie's upcoming debut EP 'Airplane Mode', produced by 5A Label's own Edward Shin who is known for his work with Amber Liu, B.A.P, and Justin Park.
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) got the chance to speak with Demie about her journey thus far, her upcoming EP and K-pop track, as well as where she plans to go next.
Congrats on your debut! How does it feel having taken the next major step in your music career?
Demie: Thank you! It is pretty surreal, hasn’t really sunk in yet. It’s almost kind of like experiencing it in third-person.
Your roots are in classical ballet. What prompted you to make such a huge shift from that to rap and hip hop, and do you find your classical ballet roots influence how you create music?
Demie: Although I loved dancing ballet, I was pretty over that world and culture. It was such a big part of my identity, that I wanted to escape it. It was a challenging transition, but it was something that I needed to do to grow myself as an artist and the process was fun anyway. In a way, ballet does influence the way I write. It is a very self-critical art form, and I am a very self-critical writer.
You've already shared the story behind the name 'Demie the Destroyer' in your interview with The Lunch Table: how did your backup dancers react to finally knowing what their 'Destroyers' name was referring to? Do you think you'd ever go by just 'Demie Cao' instead?
Demie: I’m still not sure they know! I go by Demie Cao for all my artist pages. Demie the Destroyer is kind of more of an alter-ego than me. For me, creating something and putting it out into the world is a very personal and vulnerable thing. Being a very introverted person, I needed Demie the Destroyer to help me with this stuff. I know, it may sound a little crazy.
You've gone from ballet to hip hop to doing K-pop dance covers on YouTube to making multi-lingual international music. And, following your US debut, you will be releasing a Korean track later this year. What has this journey been like for you?
Demie: Listing it all out like that, it does sound like a lot. I’m honestly just grateful I have a chance to do any of this. I love challenging and evolving myself so the journey has really been enjoyable.
The tag of 'Asian female rapper' is one you're clearly averse to being confined within. Have you found yourself battling preconceived notions?
Demie: When you’re a small Asian girl in the industry, it’s hard not to come by such labels. Because I tend to be pretty recluse, I’ve managed to dodge most negative interactions. It helps when you work [with] a great team environment and have proper support. Honestly, I’ve kind of trained myself to stop hearing unnecessary s**t. It’s like I say in 'Yung': "so much noise but we don’t hear a sound."
'Night Vision' was your official Chinese debut, and nearly a year later, you've dropped 'Yung'. How has your approach to music and writing changed since then?
Demie: I’ve definitely grown into being an artist. I think, honestly, 'Night Vision' was a song I wrote when I was still playing the role of an artist. Now, I’m comfortable just... being. It’s a liberating feeling when you no longer need to convince yourself.
Could you tell us a little more about your upcoming single?
Demie: The song is a collab with Holly, an incredible producer from Portugal. It’s called 'Sage', and there will be an English and Chinese version which I’m really excited for.
Your debut EP 'Airplane Mode' walked us through your travels across the world, detailing the difficulties that go along with walking this path. Where do you see yourself and your music going from here on out?
Demie: I just want to keep writing music I believe in. I don’t know if there’s a particular direction I want to take that in yet. 'Airplane Mode' is my first EP. It’s a musical scrapbook of my travels, both literally and metaphorically during that time. I’ve traveled a lot during the making of this EP mileage wise but also, mentally. This EP is a tribute to that. I am still growing, so I’m sure there will be more music coming about that process.