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Dejah Monea Blows Smokey Robinson Away, and Wins Singing Competition

January 26, 2017

 

 

17-year-old Dejah Monea an upcoming singer/songwriter of Pittsburgh CAPA wins the Highmark First Night Williams Sing-off, selected by the legendary Smokey Robinson.

 

“I found out about the Sing Off about 4 years from my mom and a few other people that told me that I should audition. I ended up being one of the top 5 finalists. So I figured I’d try again once my voice matured a little bit more. This year I was nervous and excited & completely honored that Smokey Robinson himself heard me sing and picked me!!!!  I had a feeling that i was going to get super close if not win, I worked hard. But I always say what's meant to be will be which was my constant mindset during the process of the competition,” Dejah said.

 

She talks about how Beyoncé’ and Lauryn Hill have been musical influences for her.

“I always tried to mimic Beyoncé’s voice which is who I learned how to riff from.  Lauryn Hill is just wavy in the simplest sense, she made me feel like rapping, singing & telling stories was creatively possible, and that being unapologetically real is the true way of artistry. I'm not a fan of labels I love all kinds of music and want to have a wide variety of the genres I sing. The style that is the most consistent is neo soul, R&B, and hip hop with a touch of jazz and rock If you could put all those together that would be me. I sang Rise up by Audra Day it was the perfect song for a New Year, a beautiful song and perfect occasion that also spoke to me,” Dejah said.

 

Dejah had the opportunity to compete within the competition in the past, and was able to make it to the top finalists and was eager to try out again.

 

Dejah said, “I found out about the Sing Off about 4 years from my mom and a few other people that told me that I should audition. I ended up being one of the top 5 finalists. So I figured I’d try again once my voice matured a little bit more. This year I was nervous and excited & completely honored that Smokey Robinson himself heard me sing and picked me!!!!  I had a feeling that i was going to get super close if not win, I worked hard. But I always say what's meant to be will be which was my constant mindset during the process of the competition.”

 

She explained how nervous she was before hitting the stage, and how her brother is one of her key motivations to keep pursuing her dreams.

 

“I was so nervous before the performance more than any other performance i ever did. I couldn’t feel my legs honestly but one thing I thought about was making my brother proud. He was murdered about a year ago and he always loved my singing and performing so i just looked at the light and imagined it was him looking down at me smiling which gave me comfort,” Dejah said.

 

It still is a dream come true for the young singer, to be the winner of this year’s competition.

 

“When my mom told me, the words didn’t really sound real. It didn’t actually hit me until i stepped on the benedum stage for soundcheck. As far as preparing for the sing off I knew I had to do something that would catch the judges & Mr. Smokey's attention, plus it had to be something I liked & was comfortable with. I knew I had a great voice but so did thousands of others, I thought what can I do so i don’t become a chameleon, fitting in with everybody else,” Dejah said.

 

Dejah also had the opportunity to open up at the Benedum Theatre on New Year’s Eve concert.

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