Demie Cao is an up-and-coming rapper and singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles. With her distinct style of writing fierce lyrics in Mandarin and English, Cao has been making a name for herself with the release of her singles “YUNG,” “SAGE,” and “RARI.”
Following the release of “RARI” and its accompanying music video, Showbiz Cheat Sheet interviewed Cao over email about her songwriting process and what fans can expect from her upcoming EP.
Demie Cao on her start in music
Showbiz Cheat Sheet: How did you first become interested in music? And what made you decide to become a rapper?
Demie Cao: I was always exposed to music as a child. My mom’s side of the family all played the violin and I was exposed to a lot of classical music in ballet classes. I chose to rap because I find expressive freedom in changing myself in different ways. Being a ballerina turned rapper is very liberating — I don’t like to be boxed in.
Showbiz Cheat Sheet: As a songwriter, what are your biggest inspirations or motivators?
Demie Cao: If I feel a certain way, I need to write it down. Whether it be a song or a poem, it’s how I deal with things. So I guess what motivates me is my mood swings haha.
‘YUNG’ marked her U.S. debut
Showbiz Cheat Sheet: “SAGE” is your second single release of this year. Did the release of “SAGE” feel any different compared to your U.S. debut with “YUNG”?
Demie Cao: “SAGE” is an older song so it’s interesting because I’m no longer the same person who wrote that song. But I’m glad people still vibe with it!
Showbiz Cheat Sheet: What was the creative process like for “SAGE”?
Demie Cao: I wrote the song around a mindset of a character that I made for myself. I call it the “destroyer” mindset because I’m a very introverted person and sometimes I find it difficult to find the confidence to write certain things and be “hard.” Becoming Demie the Destroyer helps me get over that insecurity.
Demie Cao worked with DJ Holly on ‘SAGE’
Showbiz Cheat Sheet: The music video for “SAGE” was filmed in Hong Kong. How did the concept of the music video come to be?
Demie Cao: I just wanted it to be fun. The song is very colorful and fun so I just wanted the visuals to match the vibes. Hong Kong was just the perfect landscape for that.
Showbiz Cheat Sheet: “SAGE” marked your first collaboration with Holly. What was your experience like working with him?
Demie Cao: Holly is the best. Super chill and just an all-around nice guy. He would be playing me beats and I wouldn’t even have to say anything, he’d already know which ones I like.
Showbiz Cheat Sheet: “RARI” is your third single of the year and is about the process of moving on. What is the message you want fans to take away from the song? And what inspired you to write a song like “RARI”?
Demie Cao: “RARI” is again a song that came from a teenage Demie, so I don’t necessarily remember the person I wrote it about. But I remember I wrote it because I couldn’t stand it when things don’t work out with someone, whether it be that they can’t commit or a breakup, but they can’t seem to leave your life. That constant checking up on you, asking how you’re doing benefits you in no way. Cut it off.
She will release an EP called ‘Airplane Mode’
Showbiz Cheat Sheet: Due to COVID-19, has your creative process or outlet changed in any way?
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Demie Cao: Definitely lots of poetry writing. I have been reading more literature which has sparked my inner Emily Dickinson. Also, I drew all over my white dining table the other day. So there’s that.
Showbiz Cheat Sheet: What can fans expect from your upcoming EP Airplane Mode?
Demie Cao: Lots of teen angst, reckless youth, basically what you would expect if you were to reread your high school diary. But in a good way I hope.
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