It’s not shocking when a creative person excels in various artforms. That’s just how their mind works, but it’s not every day one hears of a ballet dancer jumping into hip hop. Alas, that is the path Demie Cao has masterfully taken as her music not only highlights movement with the rhythms, but also her culture. Intertwining Mandarin and English sets her apart from so many of her peers. Just once listen to a song like “Rari” and obsession would be an understatement for how one feels afterward. From an unexpected start to international dreams, this is Demie Cao…
Kendra: On the surface ballet and hip hop are worlds apart. So for you, what drew you away from the assemblés and pirouettes and towards the rhymes and beats?
Demie Cao: I just always loved music and even though ballet is vastly different from hip hop, dance and music are still inextricably connected. I just had the curiosity to explore different genres, y’know?
Kendra: Are there any disciplines from your years in ballet that have aided you in your music career thus far?
Demie Cao: Ballet definitely taught me the art of theatre. It is a very dramatic, theatrical art form so that has definitely spilled over to my music career and the persona I embody on stage/in music/etc.
Kendra: I like to click on songs before I read anything about an artist because I enjoy being surprised and surprised I was when “Rari” started. Yes, I don’t know a word of Mandarin but I absolutely loved the song. It’s like how I enjoy Selena, or how many around the world are all about K-Pop. With that, and music being a truly universal language, were you or anyone around you iffy about intertwining languages in your music?
Demie Cao: I definitely wanted and was encouraged to write in multiple languages. I am Chinese American, so I wanted to do music that can represent both cultures- Also, I just want my parents to be able to understand my songs and feel proud.
Kendra: Let’s talk more about “Rari” because I think the story behind it is something too many can relate to. It’s the idea of you being ready and moving on from someone, but that someone sticking around via social media check-ins and whatnot. Do you think that social media has become our biggest handicap when it comes to personal growth?
Demie Cao: Like with everything, it can become hindering or beneficial depending on how you use it. If you’re the boy in “Rari” and use Instagram and whatnot to stalk your ex, it probably isn’t the best for your growth. But, I’ve seen social media being used in beautiful ways to convey people’s passions and beliefs and I think that is a great thing.
Kendra: You’ve had a great deal of international success thus far. Are you planning on global touring when live music comes back?
Demie Cao: I definitely, definitely want to. It has always been a dream of mine since my ballerina days to travel the world and perform for people. Once everything settles down, I will definitely push for an international tour.
Kendra: 2020 pushed people in various directions personally, financially, creatively. For you, how do you feel 2020 has shaped your creativity and drive moving forward?
Demie Cao: I’m not going to lie, like many, I have been in a slump. Some days I barely leave my bed. However, staying at home forced me to be alone a lot and I think I’ve gotten quite good at enjoying my own company. I think it’s important as an artist to know how to appreciate solitude.
Kendra: Lastly, can you share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
Demie Cao: I love this question! No one really asks me about my playlist, so I’m always excited for the opportunity to share. There’s a song by the Korean band HYUKOH called “Mer” that always transports me to an idyllic place. I highly recommend it.