Launching from her longtime home-base of Washington, D.C. and taking ﬂight to the rest of the world, Debórah Bond has become an integral part of the fabric of the worldwide indie-soul scene.
Debórah grew up absorbing the golden age sounds of the 70s and 80s soul music that bellowed through her childhood home in New Haven, CT. Artistically, she stands at the intersection of Anita Baker, Sade and Chaka Khan, though she also credits Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder (among many others) for inspiring her to pursue a career as a recording artist.
1. What drew you to soul music?
I was drawn to music instinctively since I have had memories. Unlike many other R&B singers, I didn’t grow up singing in church. In my mind and heart I truly believe that God/Spirit planted the love of music within me.
2. Who were some of your musical influences growing up?
I was born in the 70s and a kid in the 80s so there are so many musical genres that influenced me. Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Michael/Janet Jackson, George Michael, Annie Lennox, Sade and soooo many others influenced. The list can go on and on.
3. What obstacles have you faced being a woman of color in the music industry?
As a woman in the industry there are so many obstacles that women face. I’ve been in situations where I was treated more like something to look at and admire (or flirt with) than someone who is competent, professional, and a true contributor to a situation. There have also been instances where my level of expertise or ability to lead was questioned. Women in the music industry always have to push harder to prove ourselves.
4. During the rough times in your life, what made you keep going?
I have experienced quite a few extremely rough periods of life. I am very blessed to have strong faith, a strong family and friend unit and honestly a natural ability shift my mindset to optimism and hope. I prefer to see the brighter things in life and keep going.
5. Your latest album “Compass: I” dropped March of this year. How is it different from your previous projects?
My previous projects were produced by a group of 3 guys who have been like family to me for 15yrs, not only did we create the music together but we also recorded in studio and performed together. We considered ourselves a “band” even though the name on the bill was always my name. “compass: I” was completely different. Late 2019 and into 2020 I decided to step out on my own and work with new musicians, producers, and writers. Life would have it that as I began the journey of writing, the world shut down in the pandemic. My income was cut, I was isolated and alone, and I was forced to make a new way of approaching the album. I was blessed enough to commission musicians who had at home studios and could
6. What are your views on the state of soul music current day?
There is so much good soul music out there in the world. Many indie soul artists are leaning to the influences of the greats and making beautiful quality music. What concerns me is that the state of getting your music out to the world, it’s quite difficult to obtain the type of exposure deserved in the climate of today’s music industry. There is alot of pressure to fit in, stay on trend, and present a more “cookie cutter” style of music. In addition, the power of social media has created a bit of a false narrative for many up and coming artists. Social media puts focus on the numbers/followers and many artists that take on working more towards that instead their artistry or craft. What tends to get the most exposure now lacks a certain type of focus on the quality of the music.
7. You served six terms as D.C. Grammy Chapter Governor. What has experience been like?
Being a part of the DC Grammy Chapter has been wonderful since day one. I’m so excited but I’ve just been elected as Govenor yet again for the 2021/2022 term.
I’ve really enjoyed serving on the board. I’ve learned so much about what goes on behind the scenes with the nominating and voting process. It also has given me a platform to share my thoughts and ideas on how to strengthen the local music community in DC and be a mouthpiece for the local creatives in regards to goals and artist issues. It’s been a great opportunity to learn and lead beyond the stage.
8. Outside of music, you’ve also done radio and voice over work. What made you venture into those areas?
I’ve always been really into being a public speaker. Before I was even singing for audiences, I was speaking. At 10yrs old I sparked an interest in public oration offered at my school. I would memorize legendary speeches and poetry and recite in competitions. I won 2nd place the first time and then continues to win first place over and over. This opened the door to my interest in radio later in life. I studied Broadcast Journalism at American University, which solidified my desire to work in radio and be on air and in front of the camera. I truly believe there is an art to public speaking and relating to people. I am a natural “people person” and love to learn a person’s life story.
9. What advice do you have for others wanting to pursue music full time?
Have a plan. Initially being a full time artist may not be very lucrative. It’s wise to save money for a rainy day. In addition the importance of learning the “business” of music is imperative. Learn about forms of passive income and how to build a true business from your art. Be prepared for stops and stalls, they do happen but the dream must fuel your drive. Find a mentor, someone who has experience who can help guide you and advise you. Step out and live the dream, network, form a musical community and tribe, get involved.
10. What is one lesson you give during vocal coaching that can be applied to life in general?
Your voice is special, unique, and YOURS ALONE. Embrace of all its sound, power, softness, it’s tone and movement. Hone in on it and build power from it. There is only one YOU, only one voice that belongs to you only. This doesn’t just apply to how you sing but how you LIVE!
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