DxDutch Talks Overcoming Shyness & More!

DxDutch is a singer and songwriter who was born in the Netherlands and has since moved to the U.S. Her real name is Djamila (pronounced Ja-me-la), but when the name was tough for her fans to remember, her moniker DxDutch was born.DxDutch

We chatted with DxDutch recently about her unique musical tastes and how important it is to face your fears if you want to succeed as a musician!

Growing up, DxDutch was super shy. She never considered singing as an option until she turned 12, when she became involved in an end-of-the-year musical in 6th grade.

She was among the last three students who auditioned for the lead role in the play, and the audition process required singing. While she didn't nab the lead, the event led her to recognize her passion for singing.

When she was 13, she was inspired to learn to play the guitar when she discovered Avril Lavigne.

"She was a new artist to the scene and I really liked her songs and image," she explained. "I decided I wanted to be like her, so I begged my parents to give me a guitar for my birthday."

Once she had the guitar, she learned it very quickly. She started to play and sing each and every day after school to improve her skills.

Eventually, she also started to write her own original tracks. Her experience writing songs has helped her understand which song ideas are worth pursuing, and which ones are better to drop. She said that she's writing more and more great songs as a result.

"I usually sit down with the intent to write a song and an idea of what I want to write the song about," she said. "Then after I sit down, I will just start playing a couple of chords on the guitar."

When she finds chord formations she likes, she then hums a melody, and starts singing what comes to mind until she finds a subject she's interested in, and writes it down.

She tries not to write down too much of her songs. She said she believes that if she can't remember it later, it wasn't catchy enough to begin with.

"That's when I'll rewrite the chords and the melody until I find something that does stick," she said.

DxDutch's two biggest musical inspirations are Avril Lavigne and Taylor Swift. Otherwise, she's usually more into individual tracks than a whole artist's catalogue.

"I tend to just listen to individual songs that I like," she said. "I'm currently really in love with the song 'Royals' by Lorde and also 'Beautiful' by P.O.D."

However, if she could collaborate with any artist, she would pick Adele or Hayley Williams of Paramore fame.

"They are both incredible singers with lots of emotion in their voice," she said. "That would be such an amazing experience to be able to work with them!"

She was first inspired to share her music with the world when she saw an interview Dutch YouTube singer Esmee Denters on TV. Denters had just been signed to Teenman Records, Justin Timberlake's label. DxDutch realized it could be the perfect outlet for her music as well.

While DxDutch used to look to the Billboard Top 100 charts to pick the songs she'd cover. Those were the songs that would drive the most traffic to her videos.

"Lately though, I find that it really drains my inspiration," she explained. I'm not a huge fan of most of the songs that are popular at the moment and so it becomes a drag to cover a song, so now I started working on songs that are less known, but that I love to play. I've regained my inspiration and have never played this much music in my life!"

To make her version of each cover unique, she listens to the original track as little as possible.

"That way, I am forced to come up with my own way of playing and singing the song," she explained. "Of course I do need to listen to it for the melody and lyrics a bit, but I try to not listen to the song so much that I know every little detail of the song."

When she was young, DxDutch's shyness prevented her from doing what she wanted to do. She thinks that other aspiring singers should do what they can to get over that timidness to succeed.

"Don't ever let shyness or fear stand in the way of what you love to do!" she said. "This goes for everything in life but especially music."

She has gotten messages from fans who want to share their voices with the internet but are hindered by their insecurity and a fear that people won't like their music.

DxDutch said that people shouldn't let this stop them.

"You can never please everyone, but neither can Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber," she explained. "If you are just starting out and have a hundred people subscribed to you, that is awesome. Try to picture a hundred people in the room right now, cheering you on!"

She also admitted that there are a lot of mean and spiteful people on YouTube who are ready to put everyone down, but that singers should pay no attention to them.

"Pay attention to those that want the best for you," she said. "That doesn't mean they will always love what you do, but if they don't, they will give you advice and useful criticism. Aim for that. Surround yourself with people that love you and want to see you do good."

In the future, she plans to release a lot of new covers of the songs that she wants to play.

"I'm thinking of covering a song from a Dutch band (I grew up in the Netherlands) and a b-side from Avril Lavigne," she said. "They are far from songs that are popular at the moment, but very close to my soul."

Interested in DxDutch's music? Check out her social channels!