10 things you need to know about truth-telling singer-songwriter, dijon

His debut EP, Sci-Fi 1, is very, very good.

by Frankie Dunn
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19 March 2019, 4:30pm

“I make music. I am from Maryland. Thank you for listening.” And with that lowkey introduction splashed across his socials, all other information withheld, 26-year-old Los Angeles-based and Baltimore-raised artist Dijon Duenas quietly released his debut full length at the start of March. Sci Fi 1 is seven tracks of hazy folksy R&B whose emotional truth-telling lyrics on subjects like being afraid of growing up really speak to the soul. Lead single, Drunk, echoes the late-night too-lit waves that’ve crept over all of us at some point: “Oh baby, I’m lonely and I’m fucked up by myself / could you call me up? / well I’m wasted and I’m anxious and I’m fading from myself”. Who can relate?

The EP was made, we’re told, across a bunch of living rooms, mostly at night. And you can tell. You can hear exactly the emotional state he was in when he wrote them, each performed with the kind of intensity or tenderness that recalls middle of the night solo sessions. Drunk. First take.

Despite his relatively recent emergence into the music world, Dijon actually started producing when he was about 15. He was, in his own words, “really bad at it” but “convinced that I was actually really good”. Sticking at it, his self-belief must’ve done something, because here he is. Get to know the young artist a little better via these 10 fun facts.

1. Dijon’s earliest musical memory is the iconic 1997 video for I’ll Be Missing You...
“I remember watching the Puff Daddy video where he crashes the motorcycle because he’s very sad about Biggie. The one where he interpolates the Sting song.”

2. Though he’s based in LA, he still considers Maryland (the home of crabs, jousting and America's first ever umbrella factory) his home...
“I rep Maryland because I moved a lot and it was the only place I stayed consistently. The best thing about it was how small it was, which was also the worst thing about it.”

3. Music was never on the cards. In fact, Dijon planned to become a teacher...
“That’s what I went to school for. Not sure how much I believed I’d actually go down that route though.”

4. The first song he ever wrote was called Dog...
“I made a lot of beats but the first songs I ever properly wrote were with a friend named Sean Danaher in a group called Red Hat. They were bonkers. I think the first one with words was called Dog.”

5. And he named his debut EP, Sci Fi 1, because...
“I love science fiction so I thought it was kind of funny. But also, Lace is a tribute to Smogs's Teenage Spaceship and is vaguely about being abducted. It was the first song I wrote during the little stretch in 2017-2018 when all of these were made, so the theme stuck.”

6. But he reckons it would be a good soundtrack for Terrence Malick's 1978 project which has been called ‘the most beautiful film of all time’ and is not a sci-fi...
“Yeah, I think Sci Fi 1 would be a good soundtrack for Days of Heaven.”

7. Nico of Nico's Red Truck fame is a “sick motherfucker” and a friend of his...
Nico is a brilliant man and close friend currently living in Philly who had a red truck. We would drive around a lot at night to talk and listen to music back in the day. He’s a very great guy and an amazing skateboarder who is probably shredding the streets as I write this. He also has an online thrift store that has amazing lil pieces he and his partner find up and down the coast. Hey Nico!”

8. Turns out he’s a big fan of SATC...
I love Carrie and Miranda.”

9. And The 1975...
“I think The 1975 are cool and have some nice songs. I like She’s American a lot, and Love It If We Made It sounds just like The Blue Nile, so I’m down for that.”

10. Dijon follows his own path and aims to stay “true and all that”...
“I don’t recall being told anything inspiring but I think seeing kids around me in Maryland make cool shit and not give a fuck has been the philosophy that I’ve tried to maintain since releasing my own music. Being true and all that.”

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10 things you need to know