Local Gold: Dzirae Gold

KGNU’s Indra Raj interviews local musician Dzirae Gold. They discuss her new album Right on Time. Dzirae shares insights into her lyrics and reflects on her musical journey, and talks about how classical training has influenced her current music (Interview date: 5/29/2024)

Indra Raj: We’re getting started with our studio session with Dzirae Gold, local musician who has a new album dropping at midnight called Right on Time. Welcome to the studio, Dzirae.

Dzirae Gold: Thank you.

Indra Raj: It’s so nice to have you here. I’ve been admiring you for a long time. 

Tell us a little bit about that song you just played.

Dzirae Gold: Yes, that’s a song off of my album that drops at midnight. It’s titled “Dear Driver”. And that song was inspired by a poem written by a friend of mine from college.

She wrote this poem about being intrigued by people driving around really late at night when she was having a hard time falling asleep. And wondering if they were just driving around the block to tire themselves out as well. And I thought that was a really romantic way to look at people who are probably going somewhere, but yeah, it inspired me and I’m grateful for it.

Indra Raj: Absolutely. It’s always amazing how you can create poetry out of seemingly mundane things or everyday parts of life.

So Dzirae, you have been in the Denver scene for so long, and I feel like a lot of our listeners will know who you are, recognize your name, your voice, all these things, but maybe not know the nitty gritty of the background of your life as a musician.

I would love to hear a little bit about how you got to where you are. Where did you start with music and where are you now with it?

Dzirae Gold: I started with music as a little girl, of course. I told everyone from the time that I could talk that I was going to grow up to be a singer.

Of course, no one took me seriously and then I stopped taking myself seriously for a time, but I still pursued it to the best of my ability. Not really sure where I would end up. But knowing that this is the only thing I love to do, or at least it was. I’ve expanded since then.

I studied opera in college and came out of college not knowing what to do. Everyone was like, “you have no options. You’re just going to have to be a teacher”. And of course I did that for a time and I still do it because I love teaching, and I love helping others discover their voices as well.

It was when I was still living out in the suburbs of Chicago that an opportunity to perform came to me at this tiny little bar in downtown Chicago. And that was the beginning for me. I realized there’s no way I can just teach full time for the rest of my life. I live for performing and sharing my gifts.

So it’s been a pretty long journey of self discovery and working to believe in myself, but it’s all been worth it, and I’m really grateful to be where I am now. Of course I still have my days of self doubt, this album has been a long time coming. I’ve been working on it for nearly five years.

It’s been a really long process and a really scary one and a very emotional one in every way imaginable. I’ve cried and I’ve laughed over this countless times. So now that it’s all coming to a head and it’s finally time to put it out there, I’m terrified. I’m not going to lie.

It feels surreal and really exciting. And also it feels scary because this has been my mission for so long that now, once it’s out, I have to move on to the next thing. But I’m also grateful for it. I’m excited to see what happens with it. I’m trying to not apply too many expectations. And just to be grateful for anything that does come from it.

Indra Raj: Absolutely. Just knowing that the drop time is in just about 12 hours – at midnight tonight. That’s really, I can say from where I’m sitting, it’s very exciting for us as the listeners to be able to hear what you’ve been working on for so much time.

And obviously so much of yourself is in it, which is really cool. 

Dzirae Gold: Yeah, I do feel like I poured my heart and soul into this thing.

Indra Raj: That’s amazing.

All right, so let’s hear a little bit more music. What are we going to hear?

Dzirae Gold: This next one is called “It’s Okay”. I wrote it during the pandemic. When everyone felt really down, myself included, this was just a love letter to everyone to let us all know that it’s okay to not be okay right now and that things will get better, but on your own time.

Indra Raj: Before we talk about your show tomorrow and some other things, I always love learning about musicians and their backgrounds because I would have had no idea that you studied opera.

There is a pretty different discipline when it comes to opera singing versus the type of singing that you’re doing today. But I imagine that there was a trajectory and I wonder, do you still sing opera? What are the connections that you see between that discipline and the music that you make now?

Dzirae Gold: So no, I’m not currently singing opera, although it has been on my mind for quite some time to possibly put together a classical album, but one step at a time. I still have to release my debut album. But no, I’m not actually practicing opera or any classical music at this moment, but I will say that there’s definitely a correlation.

The foundational skills that I learned singing classically, I still use to this day. And I use them to teach as well. I think that they’re very useful. And what’s really neat is how you have to know the rules in order to break them and I use that all the time. I’m really appreciative of my background and I love breaking the rules that I was taught never to break for a very long time. One thing that I will also say though: there was a major barrier moving into more of a pop-ish realm coming from a classical background.

I lacked some of the skills because it is a different skill set. So I had to take lessons and I still take lessons on and off on occasion when I come across challenges and things I want to grow in. So yeah, like learning to use a chestier voice up high and bridging the gap between my head voice and my low range and all of those things, like technical things.

But that said, I am very grateful for all of my technical knowledge. I feel like I understand what I’m doing, which is pretty cool.

Indra Raj: Very cool. And, also to acknowledge you’re an accomplished instrumentalist. You’re playing piano today. Do you play any other instruments?

Dzirae Gold: No, I studied guitar back in college as well, but I did not keep up with it.

Indra Raj: I love the thought that you need to know the rules to break them. Classical training offers so many things, but I think when we grow up in it as young people, it’s like, “Oh these are the rules”. And I always have to follow the rules.

It can be hard to be like, actually, no, you don’t have to stay within those. And it’s just really cool to see how you’ve moved from that and broken the rules.

Dzirae Gold: Yes. Thank you. Every day. I do feel like it’s a little bit of a mental battle when I’m like, “Oh no, I did that incorrectly”.

But then really what is incorrect? Because art is subjective.

Indra Raj: Tomorrow at Herman’s Hideaway, you’ll be performing. And this is right after the drop of your new album.

So are you going to be playing mostly off of the album tomorrow night?

Dzirae Gold: Absolutely. I’m very excited. I will be playing 100% off of the album. I won’t be able to play the entire thing, unfortunately, because I think the album sits around 42 minutes or so. And my set will only be 30. I’m opening for a super spectacular nationally touring artist named Tony Romiti.

My set is 30 minutes before her and it’s gonna be lovely, super fun. I’m going to stick with some of the more upbeat songs, but I think some of the songs that everyone will hear today here will be played as well. We’ll see.

Indra Raj: Is it going to be just you or will you have a band with you?

Dzirae Gold: I’m doing a DJ hybrid style set tomorrow. So I will have the actual recording of the album that I’ll be singing along with, and I’ll also have a live bassist to keep the vibes.

Indra Raj: All right. So you have one more piece of music for us.Tell us what we’re going to hear.

Dzirae Gold: Once again, I wrote it in 2020 and it is titled “On My Skin and Heart”. This song speaks a lot to my identity as a woman, as a mixed black woman as a person from the Midwest. Yeah, there are a lot of different parts of my identity that I poured into this one.

Indra Raj: Thank you so much for joining us this morning. We’re so excited for your new album, right on time.

It’s coming out tonight at midnight, we’re going to get a copy in the KGNU studio. So I’m sure you’ll be hearing it lots from our other DJs.

Tomorrow you’re at Herman’s Hideaway. Any other shows that are coming up that people should know about?

Dzirae Gold: So I’m performing with the Motown band, based in Boulder.

We’re performing up in Fort Collins on June 13th for their summer series. That’s a Thursday, so that’ll be pretty fun. And then we’re also doing July 25th out in Niwot, which will also be pretty fun. Other than that, I’m doing a number of summer series around the city. In downtown Denver, I’ll be performing on June 26th.

I’ll be in Lakewood on July 31st, and then I’m also performing in the Sunnyside Music Festival on September 14th. So I’ll be around, not too much. But I’ll be around.

Indra Raj: That’s great. And people can find out more on your website, social media. What’s the best way?

Dzirae Gold: Yes, I try to keep my website updated. I’m not very good at sending emails out to my email list, but Facebook and Instagram usually have all of the information.

Indra Raj: Okay, great. So website, Facebook, Instagram. Find out more about Dzirae Gold, her latest album, which is coming out tonight and upcoming performances. Thank you so much, Dzirae. It’s been such a pleasure to have you in the studio. 

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