Dounia Talks The Scandal, Spirituality, and "Living Life Really Hard"
Dounia Tazi, known simply as Dounia, is the 22-year-old Moroccan-American singer based in Queens. She landed on the map after taking to Instagram to promote body positivity, and in 2017, she began releasing music. With three EP’s under her belt, last month she dropped The Scandal.
We chatted with the songstress/activist over Bluetooth as she drove around Jersey on a thrifting mission. “The best ones are in the outskirts,” she explained. While she was on the move, we spoke about spirituality, the latest record, her jewelry line BUBBLESCOTCH, and her re-imagined desire of becoming a writer writer.
Tell us about The Scandal, your new record.
My new tape is called The Scandal, it came out July 17th, it’s 12 songs. I feel like it’s my most vulnerable project yet, but still very versatile which is a priority with my projects. I never want anybody to know what’s coming on the next track. It has all different types of moods, vulnerable, party, lit, just a collection of my thoughts and feelings for the past year-ish.
Have you been writing and recording this tape for the past year?
Everything is very sporadic. How I make my music is by living my life; music is just always such an innate expression for me, so I’ll live to the fullest and then hop in the studio and make songs that I feel like I have to make from whatever my current circumstance is. Or I’ll just be in bed and make something. When I made “Delightful,” I woke up at 7 am and was sad so I wrote and produced it. It’s really just me living. I would probably shift that process for a debut album where I really want to revisit snippets that I want to finish. That would be a more organized process. With my first project, Intro To, it was also a more organized process just because I lacked funds. So I grabbed a buy 3 beats get 1 free and sat down and wrote songs to all of them, then went to my allotted studio time and finished recording them. But now since I have more leisure, more resource, and access, it comes a lot more organically. I think that comes out in the songs too because everything sounds so different.
You did the cover art for the tape. How was that, is it oil paint?
No, I like to mix acrylic paint and digital. So I’ll get on the canvas and then paint an idea and then I’ll take a picture of it, plop it in photoshop and digitally paint over it with my tablet, so it’s a mix. Also did Not Good For The Ego cover art, Royal cover; I was heavily involved with all of the art. I used to start with a collage and then send it to a painter and then they would paint it and bring it together to give it texture. Then I would further it in photoshop but I realized recently I could just do that. What’s stopping me from painting? So I started doing it.
Can you talk about promoting spirituality within your work?
It happened very suddenly right after The Avant-Garden. I had a mentality shift. I was 21 when I was recording that. I was just entering this new music environment in LA and I was wyling out and it reflects in the music. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that; we’re all humans and we go through stuff, but for me, I had to reevaluate the environments I was putting myself in. They didn’t feel true to me. I still go by ‘to each his own’, I feel like everyone truly knows what’s beneficial for their individual journeys. I don’t think there’s an objective universal truth I think everybody figures it out for themselves. So my truth was that that stuff wasn’t adding anything to my life anymore or propelling my growth so I took a more spiritual route and cut off all substance. I’m super straight edge now, I meditate, I read The Power of Now, which was a really big turning point for me; it’s about inner stillness and being present and naturally, it got reflected in my music just like the shenanigans got reflected in my music.
You grew up in Queens, do you see yourself staying in New York?
I’m traveling all the time, and when I’m on the East Coast I like being in more reserved areas now. I don’t see myself being at the epicenter of a lot of movement on a day-to-day basis. I like being at home with my family and chilling. I don’t really see myself living on the West Coast ever, even though I love popping in everywhere.
I saw that you’ll be going on tour in the states and Europe. Which upcoming performances are you excited for?
I’m just excited that I get to go to Europe for a festival because I just wanted to go in general. Austria, Belgium, and Denmark I’m excited to be out there. I want to visit Paris and Ibiza and snorkel for a day. I did that last year and it put me on such a good note for the rest of the year.
Music aside, what other projects are you working on right now?
Bubblescotch of course, I’m designing some fun little things. And I’m working on a novel. I’ve always wanted to be a writer writer. I never thought I’d be a singer; I thought I’d write books. I guess you have to carve out your own path.
Are there any artists that also write fiction, is that weird?
It’s whatever, you just have to do you. Other than that, I’m living life really hard right now, for the first time in a while. I’m blessed to have such a strong infrastructure when it comes to music; I have a whole team that keeps things organized so I get to indulge in life, love, and creating the music. I’ve been having a really beautiful time. I’ve been very inspired.