Photo Credit: Diedre Meredith Facebook Page
PrideIndex had the privilege of interviewing Diedra Meredith the Chairwoman of the LGBTQ Academy of Recording Arts (LARA) and CEO of Out Music Inc. Meredith, also known as the three time top 5 Billboard Chart topping recording artist Deepa Soul, is a native of New Orleans currently residing in New York City. Her style of music is an eclectic mixture of funk, rock, soul, reggae, house and blues.
She has worked with a plethora of legendary artist and DJ/Producers such as Junior Vasquez, DJ Ranny, Quentin Harris, Mike Cruz, John Rizzo, and Jerome Farley. In 2005 she joined forces with Junior Vasquez to release a cover of the Sound Factory classic ‘As I Am,’ the breakout hit peaked at the #4 spot on the Billboard Club Play Charts.
Her energetic style has made her a mainstay in the dance music circuit. Deepa Soul’s self named band is a musical ‘tour de force’ in live performances. In 2013 she smashed the Billboard Charts at #3, alongside mainstream pop artists Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears, with club anthem hit FEVA.
For the past five years she’s been at the helm of the LGBTQ Academy of Recording Arts (LARA). The organization’s mission is to educate, raise awareness and ensure that the contributions and achievements of marginalized LGBTQ artist are acknowledged in media, music and entertainment history.
PRIDEINDEX (PI): You’re the artist known as Deepa Soul, how and when did you begin your career?
DEEPA SOUL (DS): I began my career in music when I was about 5 years old competing in beauty pageants; singing, dancing and playing musical instruments growing up in New Orleans, LA.
PI: When did you know that you wanted to be in the entertainment industry?
DS: Ever since I could remember! Ha! I used to play songs by Prince on the Hammond Organ when I was supposed to be practicing Gospel Hymns…. (Laughs) I was extremely attracted to the sound of bass.
PI: How would you describe your artistic style?
DS: I have always loved musicians and artist who did not conform to ONE style hence, although I have topped the top 5 on Billboard Dance/Club Play Charts and top 25 on the Billboard EDM Chart I am also an accomplished musician. Having played about 6 different instruments throughout the span of my musical studies, I am able to cross genre from playing Jazz Standards, Brass band Music, Funk, Rock, Soul and some Down Home Blues….
PI: Name at least 3 people who have had the most influence over your artistic style.
DS: When it comes to music, my birth father Sidney Terry Ross… James Brown, Mavis Staple, Prince and Tina Turner…
PI: In 2013 you broke out on the charts at #3 with your hit FEVA alongside mainstream pop artists Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears, what was like?
DS: THAT was freaky deaky maaaannnnn… I knew the track was HOT (no pun intended) but man to do what it did without me being signed to a major Dance Music Label really sent me to the stars when I saw that chart position, especially since I had not released a record since 2005, I thought Deepa Soul would give it her best shot and at least Chart. BUT man I’m still tripping’ out about it.
Life is magical if you let go and let GOD….
PI: Talk about some of the artist and DJs you’ve had the pleasure of working with in the past?
DS: The legendary Super Star DJ/Producer Junior Vasquez, Ranny, Quentin Harris, Mike Cruz, John Rizzo, Jerome Farley and many more that have remixed my songs worldwide! I am super humbled to have the love and respect of all of them.
PI: If you had the opportunity to work with artist from any genre of music who would to work with?
DS: Lenny Kravitz.
PI: Why do you say that?
DS: I think Lenny and I would create some funky fly dope ass Funk, Rock and Soul music. I write some kick ass horn sections.
PI: What are you currently working on?
DS: Nothing but the OUTmusic Awards production! But I can’t wait to record my LIVE album in my Hometown “Creole Woman” coming soon.
PI: You’re now the Chairwoman of OUTmusic: LGBTQ Academy of Recording Arts (LARA). How did you become involved with LARA and why is it important for other out artist to become members?
DS: I became Chairwoman of LARA in 2009.
LGBTQ recording artists and creative industry professionals should join LARA to show our strength as a viable music and entertainment industry. Every Civil Rights Movement has a soundtrack and the members of LARA have created the soundtrack of the LGBTQ Equality Movement. We must come together on this platform to make a joyful sound and create social change in media, music and entertainment history. Our diverse LGBTQ music and entertainment heritage should be celebrated as an integral contribution to the history of the world.
PI: Tell us about some of your goals or objectives you have for the organization as its Chairwoman?
DS: The goal for me has always been to build an equivalent entertainment platform to expose members of LARA to a broader audience base; therefore, I and the tiny team that could have pushed on through to create a state of the art production with little to no money.
We believe that the only way for us to create a viable platform is by pushing the envelope. The OUTmusic Awards is the most brand viable of OUTmusic Inc. We have created the opportunity to make our stage more prestigious over the last few productions with a goal to eventually broadcast the OMAs on the same scale as mainstream music award and entertainment award shows.
We will be launching OUTmusic Television Network OMTVN.org in the next few weeks to showcase the various artists, history content, LGBTQ web series, film and more….
Last but not the least The 9th OUTmusic Awards and 25th Anniversary celebration in NYC will be the set of our music documentary “For Which WE Stand” www.ForWhichWEStand.com
PI: Share with our audience a little about what they can expect with the 2015 awards ceremony?
DS: 2015 will be the 25th Anniversary of The LGBT Academy of Recording Arts (LARA). We have surprise celebrity hosts, epic for the first time ever performances that will leave the audience in a feel good about being LGBTQ state of mind. I can’t tell any details as of yet, but announcements are coming soon!
PI: Briefly tell us about the 2015 OUTmusic nomination process and what should artist do to have their work consideration for an award.
DS: The process is an open submission. Each applicant is required to join LARA by registering join the Academy. There is a yearly membership non-refundable fee of $25 for Individuals and $50 for Duo/Groups.
To be eligible the music must have been commercially released via digital online retail distributors or via traditional hard copy sales.
Each applicant must fill out a submissions form and the information is reviewed to ensure the artist meets the qualifications. (Note – artists are asked to read everything before applying to submit.)
Applicants upload their music and videos etc…
There are 2 voting rounds.
Round 1: Determines who the nominees will be (nominees will be posted online and via an international press release.)
Round 2: Determines who the winners will be (winners will be announced during the OMAs).
PI: What advice would you offer to up and coming out artist wanting to break into the music industry?
DS: Before you record anything. Have a plan (I.E. business plan, marketing plan, promotional plan). Most important, stack your coins and ALWAYS have a budget to support your promotional performance opportunities. Be prepared and willing to perform and bring your record to sell to the people. Be ready to hustle hard and DON’T EXPECT ANYONE TO PAY YOUR MARKETING OR PROMOTIONAL BUDGETS!
PI: What’s next for you professionally?
DS: Television, Film and Music Productions (coming very soon)
PI: Is there anything else you would like to share?
DS: I am humbled and very honored to usher this moment in history with my partners, colleagues, friends and all of the members of LARA. We’re moving on up!
For more information visit deepasoul.com
To learn more about the LGBTQ Academy of Recording Arts (LARA) visit outmusicawards.com