Rebel Bass chats with rising vocalist, Dakota Sixx, covering powerful inspirations, female perspectives, upcoming releases and needed changes in the music industry.
It’s ten o’ clock in the evening at a packed-out pub in Brixton, and I’m encircled by friends, having just accompanied Aurbs and his management to his guest mix at Reprezent Radio. This past June was my first time visiting England and I had been eager to meet with Dakota Sixx, whose ethereal vocals I had come across online in the months prior.
She enters the room – a petite, stylish human whose radiant aura precedes her introduction. After pulling up a chair and ordering some chips, she passes me her phone and I listen to a then-unreleased render of “Chances”, with Mind of a Dragon.
So lovely to be able to have a chat with you! For those who are new listeners, please give a quick intro to yourself.
Firstly, I just wanted to say thank you so much to Rebel Bass for having me! I’m Dakota Sixx, a 22-year-old vocalist and songwriter from Birmingham, U.K. Music is something that has always been a huge part of my life, so I couldn’t tell you exactly when it began for me, but I do know that my real journey began when I relocated to London to study music just over three years ago! London is such an inspiring place to be for any creative and being surrounded by so many incredible musicians has helped me grow so much as an artist in many, many ways.
I definitely want to talk about your track with Affiliate, “Change your Mind”, which skyrocketed to the top 10 on Beatport’s Garage/Bassline chart in May. How did that collaboration come about?
I had worked with Affiliate previously on a track called “Breathe”, which was released via 877 Records late 2017. The chemistry between myself and Affiliate has always been incredible – I think that’s down to the fact that we manage to create music that blends all of our favourite elements – and in turn, our music reflects our personalities. The Affiliate guys are insanely talented and always bring something new to the table that I am able to bounce off of pretty much straight away. Keep your eyes peeled because we do have another track coming out very, very soon…
What has been your experience in the music industry so far as an aspiring female artist, particularly in the U.K. electronic scene (which is popping off right now)? What would you pass on to other female creatives trying to make a name for themselves in such a male-dominated genre?
I won’t lie, it’s hard out here. Now, don’t get me wrong – there are advantages of being a woman in the industry but the cons often outweigh the pros. The more time you spend in the industry, you learn how to handle yourself and most importantly, you learn to believe in yourself. The earliest days are the hardest, because you’re hungry, everything is exciting and you seek any kind of support. I was letting people get away with so many inappropriate things because I truly believed they were my only hope. I’ve started to realize that, actually, if I just believe in myself, work hard and most importantly – know my worth – I will get there regardless. I also think that it’s extremely important to surround yourself with people that make you feel comfortable. Amazing work can only come from a comfortable place, so if you latch onto somebody that creeps you out but could *maybe* get you somewhere, it’s not organic – it’s never going to work. Trust your gut!
I had the pleasure of listening to an upcoming track of yours with Mind of a Dragon (“Chances” is now out on DJ Q’s fabriclive) and I CANNOT wait for you to release it. Can you tell me what else has been in the pipeline and what new music we can look forward to from you in the upcoming months?
Yes! I’m incredibly, incredibly excited about this one. “Chances” will be coming out extremely soon, and you’ll be able to catch that on DJ Q’s Fabric Live Mix on the 20th July! We had this track down in about 48 hours – it just fell together and that’s the best feeling in the world. I do have a few things lined up for the near future. I’ve been working with some incredible artists and trying out different ways of writing – and even different styles of music – to keep my sound fresh! I have also been recording in Abbey Road studios working on an acoustic E.P. of already released tracks such as “Love Me For Who I Am” and “Breathe”, which I am super excited to drop!
What has been in heavy rotation for you lately? Also – what female artists (be they singers, DJ’s or producers) have been most influential for you and why?
Weirdly enough, I don’t actually listen to much dance music whatsoever, haha! I have always been very into hip-hop (thanks Dad!) which is why I think I am beginning to work on more and more UKG. For me, garage is the RnB of dance music and a lot of hip-hop hooks often consist of either disco or RnB vocal samples. That’s really where my roots lie. So, in heavy rotation for me recently has been a lot of MF Doom – and because it’s officially summer now – it’s officially Biggie season, so…if you know, you know.
I also have a very broad selection of most influential artists. Christina Aguilera helped me to discover my passion for singing when I was around 6, Dre is my all time favorite producer so hold tight 2001 (my absolute favorite album in the whole world) Gorillaz, because Demon Days was the very first album I purchased with my pocket money many moons ago – and their production and creativity levels are just so insane – and finally, Destiny’s Child’s Destiny Fulfilled because that album is heaven, it will inspire me forever.
What change do you hope to see, and make in the music industry?
I hope to see streaming payments increase, so that they are fair. Each play at the moment equates to just a fraction of 1p/1 cent – how are we supposed to make a living from this? Streaming has the potential to be so rewarding for artists, especially as we approach the end of the downloads era. I actually saw a meme the other day that said, “if you like an artist who is just beginning their musical journey, put them into a Spotify/Apple Music playlist, mute your phone and leave the playlist playing whilst you sleep!” I mean…if you guys fancy helping a sister out….haha!