Exclusive Interview with Desirée Mitchell
Is there anything Desirée Mitchell can’t do? Not only is she a talented singer-songwriter who seems to constantly be releasing new music, but she also recently wrote and starred in her own television show, Loyalty. I got the chance to talk with Desirée about how she got started in the entertainment industry, her single “I Need That,” Loyalty, and so much more. Keep reading to see what she had to say.
Tell me a little bit about how you got involved in the world of entertainment. How old were you when you first started making music and acting?
At a really young age, like around five years old, my mom put me in dance classes and stuff like that. That was the first time I really got a taste of performing with the recitals and stuff like that. And you know, of course, at the time it was just my family coming to my recitals. It was very small, but it still did feel like, “Wow. I really do like entertaining. I like performing.” Then from there, I started taking singing lessons and at this time, of course, it’s still a hobby, but I really do love it. Then later, when I was 11, I begged my mom to please let me record a song in a studio. So my mom paid for a studio session and that was like, “Oh my God, I have a song now,” when it became more serious. Just from there, yeah, it was just something that I love doing and now I just do it professionally.
Was the song you recorded at 11 something you had written or was it a cover? What was that experience like?
Well, actually, I had a best friend at the time, my childhood best friend, she was also a singer. But we were both young, of course, both 11 and we both were begging our moms like, “Please let us do this.” So it was both of us and we did write a song [laughs]. Her big sister at the time was a singer and was doing it in a serious way. Her big sister’s connections helped us get the studio and the producers to make the beat. It was all done for us, but we did actually write the song and we just had help from the producers to put the songs together and make it sound right. But it was definitely our idea. It was pretty cool even at that young age to… when I think back and think like, “Wow, I did write a song that young.”
Would you credit a specific moment or person for helping you realize performing had changed from being something you enjoyed doing to something you actually wanted to pursue as a career?
I would definitely credit that moment and my childhood best friend, her name was Alyssa. I think for us to have that common interest of both singing, I feel like both of us bugging our parents at the same time kind of helped that happen. You’re 10 or 11 and you’re saying you want to be a singer, I mean who doesn’t? But both of us really just bugging our parents, like, “No, we really want to do this. Let’s do it.” It was both of our powers coming together and making it happen. So I always think back on us meeting each other, us finding that common ground and us making it happen together. That’s definitely a moment in my life that I would credit.
Let’s talk a little bit about your music. Tell me about your latest single, “I Need That.” What’s the story behind the song?
I wrote “I Need That” a few months ago. I was coming to an end in a situation that I was in with a guy. “I Need That” is sort of like an “I love you, I hate you” song, the ups and downs with things. In the situation that I was in, there were definitely great moments and moments that weren’t so good. This is something that a lot of people can relate to because I know that people are in situations or relationships or whatever you want to call it, and they are in situations like that where it’s just super up and down. You get to a point where you realize, “Okay, this is not how it should be,” so then you leave the situation. But I talk a lot in the song about the lack of communication and feeling unappreciated and stuff, but then we hang out again and it’s great. Then I forget about those things, and it’s a never-ending cycle. I guess “I Need That” is really about the cycle of the bad and then the good overpowers that but then the bad comes again. It’s just a cycle and then you realize, “Okay, this is really not a cycle that I want to be in forever.” Then that’s when you realize that you want to leave the situation. But I feel like “I Need That” is really great because a lot of people can relate to this cycle of having feelings for someone that you love but the situation’s not a great situation for you.
What was your songwriting process like for this song in particular? Are you someone who writes by yourself typically? Are you someone who likes to collaborate with a bunch of other writers and producers?
I usually just write alone, especially with “I Need That.” Usually, what I do is I have producers that will send me beats often, [producers] that know my style and I’ll look online for beats. So this particular situation, I found a beat online and yeah, I kind of just started writing. I knew what I was feeling and I knew what I wanted to write about. Usually, when I’m in the writing process, I have however I’m feeling today, what do I want to talk about? I knew what I wanted to talk about, and most of the time I start with a melody and then I start writing. And usually, I like to have things written before I get into the studio, so I’m just prepared and that I know what I’m doing and I’m efficient. I love my engineer, his name is Scott, and he and I work together very well. But usually, I just come in with pretty much a song written already. Then I get in the studio, I format it the way I want. Scott is very honest, which I like because he’ll say yay or nay about it. But mostly it really is me formatting the song and just me alone. Of course, I’m not opposed to working with writers. I haven’t worked with writers yet. That’s something that, yeah, I’m open to of course.
In terms of being inspired to write songs, who are some of your musical influences when it comes to your songwriting?
This may be cliche, but I do love Beyonce and Drake. Of course, they’re two different kinds of artists, and I love them both for separate reasons. I love Beyonce just as an overall woman in the industry. She’s a great performer, and just the way that she has navigated through this industry as a woman, it’s just so inspiring. Just her overall way of being an artist is definitely what inspires me. But I feel like Drake is really a trendsetter in the industry. Every, I guess you could say, R&B singer or rapper to come after Drake has definitely been influenced by Drake. The way that he writes, the way that he formats the song, the way that he kind of made it a thing to rap and sing and that’s okay, just things like that are really inspiring for me. Definitely, the songwriting process is very inspired by Drake. I also love oldies music. I love 90s R&B, 80s R&B because I also feel like it was so raw back then. They didn’t have all the tools and the plugins and the studio to make them sound better. It was kind of just raw talent. That is very inspiring too.
You also recently came out with a music video for “I Need That.” What was that process like? Were you the one who came up with the story or did someone send you the idea and you’re like, “That’s cool. Yeah, let’s do a music video.”
I definitely wrote what they would call a treatment for the video. I knew what I wanted. I’m very involved in everything I do creatively, even down to how do I want the male lead to look and stuff like that. I do have a great team around me that are very talented and they can definitely have their input. Actually my friend, Rasheed, he actually co-directed the video for “I Need That” because I really do trust him. He also co-directed my show Loyalty too. Me and him work very well together. I think he knows what I like. I trust him. And then, sometimes when you’re in front of the camera, yes, you can direct, but you have to know what you want it to look like once you’re in front of the camera. When you wear a lot of hats, you do need help. But I definitely pride myself in knowing that, “Okay, this is my vision. This is what I want” and everyone’s just helping me bring it together.
Speaking of, you also wrote this television show, Loyalty, which is so dope. Tell me what it’s about.
Loyalty is basically about young adults in their twenties and what they go through. It’s very gritty; it’s very real life and things that happen in the urban communities – drugs, sex, relationships, and betrayal. I’m very inspired by the show, Power. Power is obviously also dramatic and gritty, but I feel like Power touches on issues that happen with older people so it’s not really relatable as far as the age goes. I do know that young people in their twenties, they go through things like that as well. I just decided that I wanted to write something that was very realistic and very real life and very, very relatable. I’m starring in it as well, but there are a lot of different storylines that kind of all intertwine with each other. Everyone’s loyalty is tested in a way, whether their loyalty is tested with their partner in a relationship or with their family member or with their friends. Everyone has their moment of having to make the right choice and having to choose who they want to be loyal to in a way. So that is pretty much what Loyalty is about.
I was looking at it at on IMDB. Have you already written the whole first season or is it still something you’re working on?
We have shot the whole first season. It is finished [in terms of] being filmed. Right now, we’re in post-production and we’re getting it edited. This is a really, really beautiful part of the production, I would say, because this is the time where if you did make any mistakes on-set, you can kind of fix your mistakes here; everything comes together in post-production when it is getting edited. Sometimes I see things I didn’t even realize. I’m like, “Oh my God. That’s so great.” Even down to choosing the music for a certain scene; when it’s an intense scene, you want to choose the correct kind of background music and it gets so deep. But it’s a really beautiful process, so I’m just really excited.
I know it’s only in post-production, but do you have an idea of when it might be out and even where people will watch it? Is it going to be on YouTube or are you shopping it around in different places?
I’m shooting for August. We’re going to do a screening. I’m from Miami, Florida, so I want to do a screening in Miami and also here in LA, where I live. We want to do the screening for cast and crew and some extra people; I might even invite a couple of fans, just to give their yay or nay. I think that’d be really fun. But all in all, we are definitely taking meetings and figuring out what platform we want to partner with and where Loyalty will be a fit. I do have a YouTube following, so YouTube can be a place for Loyalty. But I just want to make sure that I’m making the right decision and I’m taking Loyalty to a place where it is just the right fit. I would say 2019 or maybe even later this year, we should have a place for Loyalty for sure.
Very cool. What else is going on career-wise in 2018? Are we going to get more music coming out anytime soon? Are you going to be in any other projects?
I actually do have another song coming out, which will be my new single. We will actually push that single very heavily with radio and everything. It’s called “Sugar Mama” and that is going to be coming out in July, probably early to mid-July. But that’s going to come out very soon and I’m also going to do a music video for that. Other than that, I actually am in [another] show. There’s this new app that my influencer friends – King Bach, DeStorm, Amanda Cerny – they created an app called Zeus Network. It’s actually going to be kind of like Netflix but on your phone and it’s just $3.99 a month. It’s really, really, really good. There are so many original shows that are already on the app when it launches, which [was] July 13th. It’s going to be really dope. I’m actually on one of the shows called Bad Escorts, so yeah, you can see that. That’s another acting thing that I’m doing and it’s really funny. It’s actually a comedy, which… even though comedy is not really my thing. Loyalty is very dramatic, but it was pretty cool to be able to be in a comedy and get direction from all the comedians that were on set and be able to really actually pull it off. So I’m really excited for that project to come out because it’d be my first comedic role.
Did that inspire you to want to pursue more comedy, maybe not even projects but at least study it a little bit and take some classes?
Yeah, definitely. I would say that I’m very strong in drama. I think it’s always great to study what you don’t really know much about. As far as comedy, I would love to study that. I would love to get more into it. It was really fun because it’s so crazy. Being on set for Loyalty was very tense, sometimes some scenes bring you to tears versus being on-set of a comedy, everyone’s just laughing the whole time. It’s just two different kinds of vibes on-set and both of them are magical. It’s just so crazy how two different kinds of genres are just completely different vibes on-set. I said it’s just crazy to have experienced that after doing Loyalty. So yeah, I would definitely want to pursue it and study it more and get better at it for sure.
Yeah. Last question — our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd. What is something you nerd out about?
Hmm. Something that I nerd out about. I mean I love Marvel.
Oh yeah.[laughs] I love everything Marvel. I love reading books. Yeah. I’m kind of like a nerd in that way. But I’m definitely a comic book fan. Well actually, you know what, I’m going to be more specific. I wasn’t really a comic book fan, but I’m a fan of all the films. I know there are some fans that are really, really deep, like they know all the comics. I don’t know all the comics, but I love the films. I love it all. I think it’s great. [laughs]
Yeah. I assume you saw Infinity War then?
What did you think about it?
That just hurt my feelings [laughs].
It just hurt my feelings. I mean, I don’t know. I’m excited for what’s to come and the film that will maybe rescue my broken heart, hopefully. I’m just saying. The film overall obviously was amazing. I mean, what more could you ask for it? But I do feel like for every Marvel fan out there, I mean that really was just a lot to deal with [laughs].
It was unexpected and it hurt. Ugh.
Yeah. So for the films to come, we definitely need an explanation. We need reassurance.
I know. I’m just like 2019, let’s hurry up and get here already. I’m ready for the second part.
The way that ended, it wasn’t good for the soul.
Not good for the soul at all.
Yeah, definitely looking forward to what’s to come in Marvel and how we can come back from that.
For more information, you can visit Desirée’s website or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.