written by reginald allen
photos by dokk savage
Huntsville is home to a lot of musical talent, but non are quite as unique as Deqn Sue, an alternative pop artist with a sharp lyrical edge often bursting with message and humor.
Her music has been featured with T-Mobile and in the TV series, ‘Orange is the New Black’ to name a few. Time Magazine dubbed her the ‘Queen of Quirk’ and with hints of Funk, R&B, Pop and even vaudeville, she transcends style, spinning words and sounds purely engaged in the now.
We recently enjoyed a chat about her music career, what follows is our conversation:
Q: “Time Magazine” infamously dubbed you the Queen of Quirk. What is the process for your creative and quirky music videos and lyrics?
DS: I think it’s just my brain. That’s just my brain and Kelvin’s [Wooten] brain. That’s just like people with numbers. You have an accountant, and they see numbers all the time. My brain just sees things the way I see it. I guess it’s interpreted as quirk, and I like color. It’s like asking a Beethoven or asking an artist how you see things the way you see things. I just see them this way. I have a very short attention span. When I create content, I ask myself “Would I want to watch this for more than 30 seconds?” If I can watch it for more than 30 seconds, I’m happy with it.”
Q: You come from a family of entertainers. How did you find own path as a performer?
DS: My parents are really cool that way. They gave me the freedom to explore what I wanted to do. My dad wasn’t terribly on board with me pursuing the entertainment business for a career because he had been in it for such a long time. He was always supportive of whatever made me happy. I’m blessed my family was really behind me being creative and fostering whatever loves and passions that I had.
Q: Have you always been a full-time artist?
DS: I’ve never had a 9-5. I’ve only had part-time jobs. I’ve never had anything that had me away for 40 hours a week. I would work two or three days at most. It’s hard, you know. If I’m being honest, there have been years that I’ve eaten like a king. I’m not worrying about money. Then there are years where I’m like “Well, we eating Ramen. Okay, cool, we are going to have to make it work.” It’s this whole battle of saving up for the winter and make everything balance. I’m, like, the Queen of Balance at this point. You just never know what’s going to happen. It’s just balance.
Q: You’ve had a lot of wins in your career. From your NPR Tiny Desk performance to having your music featured on “Orange is the New Black,” was there ever an “I made it” moment?
DS: Oh, no, absolutely not. I have so long, so far to go. There are so many things that I want to do. If anything, I feel incredibly grateful and blessed to have been given the opportunity. But, no, I don’t think I will ever be the person that will say “I made it” because I’m always like “I want more.” There is more I aspire to.
Q: In 2019, you and a handful of the professionals joined the Huntsville Music Initiative Board. What is the importance of having something like that in the Rocket City?
DS: It’s a cool initiative they brought to the city to try and implement for music and make Huntsville more music centric. As an artist, it’s awesome that a city is making a priority to give artists more opportunities and make their lives a little bit easier, especially with pay and being able to perform at different places. It’s cool that the Mayor thinks that the arts are so important that he would have this initiative.
Q: Technically, you’re based out of Los Angeles. What is it about Huntsville that keeps you coming back?
DS: I was born and raised in LA. People will ask me “Why would you leave LA to go to Huntsville?” My musical partner/producer is here. It makes creating so much easier and so much more fluid. A lot of collaborators I work with are here as well. I just left a photoshoot with Dapper dude. He’s here. He does a lot of my styling. It just makes things easier. If I need to go home or to New York to take meetings, I just get on a plane.