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'I was made to feel ashamed about being Haitian'


“I HAD a strict upbringing - we didn’t listen to music much,” says New York-born singer Devyn Rose.

But when she was afforded the opportunity, Rose would often perform in front of her four siblings and discovered that her talent was in song.

After joining her school choir, music “took a complete hold” on her and by the time she was 16 years old, Rose had already recorded her first demo.

Despite her parent’s disapproval, music became Rose’s main focus. “My family wasn’t too supportive of it to be honest,” she admits.

“What they saw for me, was me going to college and having a steady 9-5 job, but that’s not what I wanted.”

Determined to make a name for herself, Rose’s first introduction to the entertainment world at the professional level was actually as a swimsuit and magazine model.

She says: “It was just a networking thing, really. I would do a runway show and then through the people I met, I would then get to also perform.”

The singer adds: “I know a lot of girls dream of it, but I never aspired to be a model. It was an opportunity to make money to put towards my musical goals.”

Fully aware that singing was her biggest passion, in her spare time Rose began writing songs and recording under her birth name Tanya, while also known as T6.

The name T6 came from her friends dubbing her the “six pack girl” thanks to her athletic build. She then opted for the stage name, Devyn Rose after “growing out” of Tanya T6.

Rose started to perform at open mic events, competitions and fashion shows thanks to her modelling connections.

In 2008, under her previous moniker, she released the mixtape, Move Over Paris Hilton, There’s a New It Girl in Town, which was hosted by New York’s POWER 105.1’s DJ Suss One.

From the mixtape, she released Work My Body, which quickly flooded the digital world.

Stemming from the momentum that she had created with her first single, she began remixing popular songs and sending them out via a weekly email blast to all the major DJs across the world.

DREAMS: Devyn Rose

Before long, DJs began contacting her on a daily basis requesting her latest remixes, which eventually helped brand her as the “The Remix Queen”.

She then released her official single titled Get It Off featuring Young Money’s Jae Millz.

Having worked behind the scenes with hip-hop artists such as Three 6 Mafia, French Montana and Grammy-nominated producer D-Moet, she has been able to develop an eccentric new generation mix of pop, hip-hop and R&B which she calls “edgy, sexy with an attitude, best driven and loud”.

Her latest single, Falling 4 U, has just been released in the UK.

Not wanting to put herself in a box, Rose is open to other genres, and reveals that she’s a huge hip-hop fan. When asked which artist, dead or alive, she would like to collaborate with, she says rapper Rick Ross without hesitation.

“I love his swag, his flow, his everything. It would just be amazing to work with him, he’s just great.”

Although she admits that she is body confident, and wasn’t fussed about modelling swimwear, the singer says she is not a great fan of “skimpy clothes” and won’t be forced to wear them as part of her celebrity image.

“Because I used to model, I understand the whole image thing, and why it’s important. But for me, it’s like ‘been there, done that’.

“I don’t like it and I don’t care about that kind of sexy image.”
She adds: “People should love me the way I am now, without having to show a lot skin.”

The singer, whose parents are from Haiti, is proud to represent the Caribbean country, but admits that she was once “ashamed” of her background.

“I was teased for being Haitian in school. The kids would make hurtful and mean remarks.”

She explains: “Just like people have negative stereotypes about Africans, it’s the same for Haitians. I think every Haitian has dealt with similar problems.”

Becoming so ashamed of who she was, she would even lie and tell people she was from Jamaica to avoid the mean taunts.

“They made me feel ashamed to represent Haiti.

“But now I’ve stopped that foolishness, and accepted it. I realised that when I told people I was Haitian and embraced my culture, I got a lot more respect for it.

“Now, I’m like ‘whatever ignorant haters’,” she laughs.

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