Dregas is the stage name of Los Angeles-bred, London-based, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Andrea Smith. Last week, Dregas announced the release of her politically-charged new single, “Skin.”
The track premiered with Afropunk, who praise, “‘Skin’ is a clever and frank conversation between a woman of color and a white man about the lived realities of racial and gender oppression in patriarchal white supremacist culture.” Find out what Dregas herself had to say about the inspiration behind the song.
“I was sitting in my apartment in downtown LA listening to the Michael Brown protests going on outside my window and seeing a bunch of ignorance and hatred being spewed by my peers online and I was so filled with frustration and helplessness because it seemed no one was willing or able to see beyond their own realities and instead were so quick to condemn and judge. For me, songwriting is a quick and explosive process. Sometimes I’ve even written songs while asleep – woken up with a melody and lyrics in my head remembered from a dream. In most cases though, I get hit with a blast of inspiration when I’m emotional or frustrated and upset about something – as you can probably see from a lot of my lyrics – and the melody and lyrics just pour out of me and I just accompany them with the chords that make the most sense. In this case, I went to the piano to distract myself from all the hatred I was reading online and the song just kind of happened.
For the most part, I work with my great friend and producer Chase Meyer on my recordings. I sent him the demo for ‘Skin’ and he wanted to get to work right away. Initially the song sounded super ’80s and was very synth-bass heavy. We had a great time and laughed a lot playing around with the synths. Then I recorded vocals, which is always the most fun yet most stressful part because I’m still relatively new to singing, in one day then I headed off on a 3 month tour. When I returned, Chase called me into his studio and said, ‘So…we’ve changed it a bit….’ While this might make a lot of people nervous, I’ve learned that when Chase makes a radical change without consulting me, it is ALWAYS for the best. He had replaced our ’80s synth-bass with real bass (which as a bass player I’m always a fan of!) and some funky guitar a la Daniel McMains and gave ‘Skin’ that awesome minimalist and almost Beatles-y feel in the verses. At that moment I was in love and it became my favorite recording with him to date!”