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interview DEJA RILEY  (May 2008) | Interview By: Chad Kiser

      
Dubcnn had the wonderful opportunity to talk to Deja Riley, the daughter of legendary producer Teddy Riley. You may not be aware of Deja, but with the talent and ambition this beautiful young lady has, it wonít be long before you do. You have already seen her in videos by Rick Ross, Souljah Boy, Black STREET and B5, and not even realized it. No doubt youíve felt her creative input on Snoop Doggís latest album Ego Trippiní. In this exclusive interview we spoke with Deja about growing up as the daughter of Teddy Riley, working with Snoop Dogg, her experiences in the entertainment industry and much, much more.

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Interview was done by phone in May 2008

Questions Asked By:
Chad Kiser

Deja Riley Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here
 

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www.myspace.com/dancedeja
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Dubcnn: Deja, how are you doing?

Iím good!


Dubcnn: The most obvious question is: What was it like growing up as the daughter of a legendary figure like Teddy Riley?

My dad wasnít really around a lot when I was a kid because he was working, but he was at every event he could possibly be at. He was very supportive in my dancing. It was pretty normal because my dadís always been a regular dad who spends time with their kids. I donít think Iíve experienced anything differently than my friends that I grew up with did.


Dubcnn: When do you remember becoming aware of youíre fatherís success & fame?

I think I always knew it because my friends were always coming into school listening to his newest songs. So I was always aware of the status that my dad possessed, but I didnít really appreciate it when I was younger. Now that Iím older, I can really appreciate where his music came from and I know a little more of the history on it.


Dubcnn: When did you come to your own realization that you wanted to be in entertainment?

I think Iíve always wanted to be an entertainer since I can remember. Iíve always been involved in some form with the arts; from playing instruments to dancing, acting, vocal lessons and to writing, which is what Iím doing now with my dad. So I always knew I wanted to be an entertainer.


Dubcnn: What kinds of projects have you and your dad been working on together?

Well, we just did the Snoop Dogg album ďEgo TrippiníĒ together, which I did a little bit of writing on that project. My name is right behind my dadís on the album, if you check it out. My dad and I havenít really sat down and discussed the details yet, but Iím about to get a publishing deal for writing as well. We work well with each other, and vibe off of each other. Itís really more of a side thing that I do because Iím more focused on my solo career and how Iím going to enter the business, which is dance and acting. I still acknowledge my music background because itís always going to be a big part of me.


Dubcnn: What was that experience like working on the Snoop Dogg album?

Actually, I worked more along side of my dad more than anything, but Snoop is really down to earth, heís really cool and a great father. It was great getting to meet him and his family, as well as Charlie Wilson who is quite a legendary artist as well. It was a great project to bond with my dad and work with my dad on. I was very grateful to have that experience.


Dubcnn: Youíre obviously very talented! What drives you to be so well-rounded in the arts?

Iím motivated by my family! My family is always 100% behind me; theyíve been very supportive. I think my true motivation to wake up every morning is because I feel so blessed to be able to share these gifts with the people around me and inspire others. I grew up in the Christian church, so I grew up very religious and God is a huge part of my life.


Dubcnn: How has your father helped you with the learning experience of this business?

My dad is, first and foremost, my biggest fan and heís always been behind me. Heís been my dad, my coach, my friend and my co-worker because we work on different projects together. He pushes me and heís supported me financially up to the beginning of my professional career, with paying for dance lessons, music lessons and vocal lessons. Heís my personal trainer as well because he stands by me and tells me, ďyou need to watch your weightĒ*laughs* He pretty much does everything with me, so we make a really good team. I think with him being by my side as I enter this business that I canít be anything but successful.


Dubcnn: Youíve done a presentation pilot, right?

Yes! They donít know what the show is going to become, but I shot it last week and Iím shooting the remainder of the episode this week.


Dubcnn: Tell us a little bit about that.

Itís entitled ďProm NightĒ, which is teenage show, that could very well turn into a reality show. Itís basically a show about high school prom nights where it shows kids getting ready, going to the proms, or it could turn into something where it would be a sitcom or a recurring show. We donít really know what itís going to become, but itís been a great experience for me.


Dubcnn: I saw you in the videos for Rick Ross, Souljah Boy and B5. How did you get involved in those projects?

I had to audition just like all the other dancers. Some of them were direct submissions, but Iím proud to say that none of them were connections through my dad. Iíve done a few of his videos, which were Blackstreet videos, but up until now all of those videos were videos I had to audition for.


Dubcnn: With everything you have going on, whatís a typical day like for you because it has to be hectic?

It gets pretty hectic from time to time, but I do have those times that I can spend the day with my family and friends. As far as a typical day, I wake up at about 7am to get my day started early so I can get in my exercising and workouts. In the afternoons I have auditions going, anywhere from 2-3 auditions, and sometimes none. It depends on the day and whatís coming through my agency. At night, Iím either taking classes or I spend time with my family. Iím a very family-oriented person. Also, a lot of my writing projects come through at night, so I may be working on those as well.


Dubcnn: You were on Foxís ďSo You Think You Can Dance.Ē What was that experience like for you?

That was one of the best experiences of my life! Actually, being on that show, not making the top 20, but making it all the way through Vegas week and getting the full audition experience was amazing! I met some of my life long friends through doing that show, as well as being able to share that experience with so many of my friends that were dancers. It was a long and strenuous process, but at the end of the day I could say it made me a better, stronger person.


Dubcnn: Finally, what kind of projects can we expect for you to be involved with from in the near future?

You can definitely expect to see me as one of the new, freshest faces on the scene! Iím going to get into more TV & Film, as youíve already seen me in a few videos. Iíve done some industrial work, and a lot of stuff with dance, but now Iím crossing over more into acting, TV, film and commercial work. Also, my writing, which is more behind the scenes, as some people donít realize that Iíve also had talent for writing as well, but you can expect to see me on some upcoming albums. You can expect to see me anywhere on the scene standing side-by-side with my dad!



 



 


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Deja Riley Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here

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