Demie Cao Admits She’s a Selfish Writer, and We Think it’s a Good Thing

Oct 27, 2020 | AA, China, NEWS, POP, US

Demie Cao just released her new EP “Thicker Lines” featuring songs like Rari, Sage, and Yung. We caught up with the LA-based singer-songwriter and rapper to talk about her new EP and her blossoming career.

In the second verse of her single Thicker Lines, Demie Cao sings “You know what they say, I hope you always find love. I hope you always come up.”  But by the time she says “But truthfully I hope you fail at those things up above”, you’re certain Demie is a no ordinary up-and comer and may become one of the most distinctive sounds in the crowded space of Hip-hop. 

Things are not looking great for LA-based rapper and singer-songwriter Demie Cao at the start of her latest music video “Thicker Lines”, which opens with her looking worn-out and drained as she holds an unbelievably large calligraphy brush through the ground.   

Demie has a signature hook-for-hire sweet voice ala Jhené Aiko, but she has proven time and time again that she can hold up well on her own. Her roots even allow her to fully embrace the colloquial elements of her culture, which was shown in her “Thicker Lines” video.

“Well, the song is about drawing boundaries- “Thicker Lines”. I remember as a kid, watching my grandpa use a large brush dipped in water to practice calligraphy outside. I thought it was cool to incorporate that large calligraphy brush.” 

She added that producer Bradley came up with the creepy ghost element in the music video. She initially mentioned to him that she wanted a scene like the one in Harry Potter when Ron saw the apparition of Harry and Hermione kissing before he destroyed Voldemort’s Horcrux. 

“I’m a giant Harry Potter fan.” 

The song also features Katherine Ho, who was catapulted to fame after she covered Coldplay’s “Yellow” in Mandarin, which played in the closing scene of Crazy Rich Asians. 

Her much-awaited EP “Thicker Lines” includes tracks like Yung, Rari, Airplane Mode, Wake Up, and the English and Mandarin versions of “Thicker Lines” and “Sage”. Demie shared that each of the seven tracks represents a milestone in her life that she had to reach to be where she is now. 

Cao is still reeling from her May 2020 US debut with her song “Yung”. However, she’s not an inexperienced young star as you might expect. Demie has already appeared in promos for KCON, 88 Rising, and has even opened for Giriboy. Considering she has been signed by Steel Wool Entertainment and 5A Label, the achievements under her belt don’t come as a surprise. 

In hopes to improve her craft, Demie is training with MSTR RCKS. In the past, she has also trained in Seoul, South Korea, which is world-famous for their rigorous K-pop preparation. In addition, Demi also attended writing camps in China.

More About Demie

A rapper and singer-songwriter who sings in three languages – that’s the short take on Demie Cao. But unlike other budding artists, there’s so much more to her story, like the fact that she writes songs with the choreography in mind.  

“Because dance is something important in my life, I always try to write keeping in mind what the choreography would look like. I am a dancer as much as I’m a songwriter, so I like to incorporate both mediums,” she admits. 

In an interview with Hype Magazine, Cao shared that she started as a ballet dancer, so her music is always integrated with dance and she has always wanted to portray a chill and laidback vibe with her music.  

The budding musician shared that she has always loved hip-hop, but she initially did not think the American industry would accept her well. This is only fair considering not many people make the transition from ballet to hip-hop. 

Upon seeing the potential in K-pop and Korean hip-hop, she put herself out there and started to write her own rap. The nurturing element 5A Label added in the mix allowed her to develop her exceptional bars.    

Now, Cao is more than ready to impress her growing fan base with her EP that showcases not only her distinctive style, but also her intense lyrics. 

“I’m quite a selfish writer. I use music as my personal diary so everything I write is simply what I’m feeling at the current moment. I’m just grateful that people would like to hear my thoughts.” Lyrically, and even conceptually, Demi loves to deal with angst.

Demie Cao

Demie Cao Photo Credit ©5A Label

Demi’s process to write music is unique. When she’s working on a beat, she doesn’t know what the song is going to be like, and she’s always surprised to see her innermost feeling at that moment turn out to be a song. This is why she treats the process like a personal experience. 

“To understand my thoughts more, I feel like I have to write music.” And as you listen to her punchy verses, you get the feeling that you’re listening to a raw diary entry from a heartbroken lover. 

Her single Thicker Lines is a song about moving on from living in the past with resentment and animosity that is happening within a relationship. 

“Many times when something goes sour with a relationship or friendship, we (at least I do) tend to hold onto the hurt and anger which festers into a monster within ourselves, even if all that remains of the relationship is just dust-apparitions. Memories. I meant for this song to be about the inner fight someone who is still trying to make sense of toxicity a past relationship might’ve brought, and drawing boundaries from it,” shared the singer. 

According to Demie, there are songs on the EP from several years ago, which she wrote without an album in mind yet. It just so happened that they came together to form this amazing project.

Defy Labels & Expectations

“Before I felt like I was very caught up with labels – people wanting to label me as an Asian American rapper, 5’2” girl who dances ballet and doesn’t look like she raps. I kinda got over that and for me. I don’t pay attention to those labels anymore and I have a tunnel vision of what I wanna be and where I wanna go, and I kinda just go for it now.”

When you see Demie Cao, the last thing you may expect from her is the ability to throw in perfect bars and melodies, but that’s exactly why she defies expectations.  The moment you listen to Demie, you’ll be immediately struck by her voice quality. She fully understands melodies and emotions but her lyrics scream complexity and depth.   

What’s Next for Her?

When asked who she wants to collaborate with in the future, Demie’s answer did not come as a surprise – Syd or Jhené Aiko, both icons in the music industry that mirrors her own style. 

Her EP may have delighted fans, but according to the artist, “I’m excited to start working on my next project. Thicker Lines was such a long time in the making, my next project will definitely sound much different.” 

If it’s as good as her Thicker Lines EP, then her new sound is surely one that’s worth watching.