Born Deko Barbara-Jessica Wedi, a first generation South African of Congolese heritage, Rouge was born and raised in Pretoria. She always dreamt of becoming a performer and started singing at the age of 6, songwriting at the age of 12 and rapping at the age of 19. She also took part in acting, public speaking and poetry, not knowing she was preparing herself for what was to come.
Inspired by Lauryn Hill and Kanye West, her compositions combine elements of rap, dance hip hop and rnb. Rouge’s tremendous vocal execution and punch lines caught the attention of many hip hop lovers when she performed for the first time at ‘Back To The City’. 2016 saw Rouge soar to new heights: she released two new singles, namely ‘Mbongo Zaka’ and ‘Sheba Ngwan O’, which was playlisted and topped charts on all major radio stations across South Africa. The following is a conversation about her journey as an artist and her new album, New Era Sessions
IceKream: How has taking part in crafts such as; poetry, acting and public speaking influenced your music and song writing and where you are in your career today?
Rouge: I guess they all played a part in making me a better writer, performer and to handle any situation, especially when it comes to answering tough questions.
IceKream: How would you compare the creation of your latest projects i.e New Era Sessions, to that of your debut single ‘Party’ or ‘Mbongo Zaka’?
Rouge: It’s more thought out now and way better raps LOL I really worked on my craft.
IceKream: You’re probably the baddest Hip Hop MC out there. Do you think it’s harder to break through as a woman?
Rouge: Most definitely but I think it’s just hard in general. But being a women makes it a bit harder. But it’s nothing I wasn’t aware of.
Rouge: Yes most definitely. We all want to be recognised worldwide. Just trying to put Africa on the map
IceKream: Hip-hop is a genre whose tradition is associated with swagger and confidence. As an artist and as a music lover, how has hip-hop empowered you?
Rouge: It has really boosted my confidence. You can’t be in this game and be insecure. You are in an industry based on judging you and you can’t allow it to affect you that much. You have to know you worth… even when you’re not sure.
IceKream: How did you get into Vuzu’s Play Coalition? Is this something you’ve always wanted to be a part of?
Rouge: I won’t lie I wasn’t looking at the yet, but any way that I can play part in creating opportunities for others with information that I didn’t have or wasn’t equipped with. I will gladly do.
IceKream: What’s next? What sort of things do you see yourself doing especially with your new album, New Era Sessions?
Rouge: I’m ready for TV, more movies, shows and even theatre. It’s time to bring Rouge and hip-hop to other mediums and audiences
5-scoops-of-facts you didn’t know about Rouge:
Scoop 1: If you could have dinner with any artist — dead or alive — who would they be and where would you take them?
- Logic and I would take him to Zemara
Scoop 2: In terms of career, what did you want to be when you were a kid?
- I’ve always wanted to sing.
Scoop 3: Name 3 songs on your playlist right now
- Logic – Afrycan
- Lauryn Hill – Xfactor
- And more Logic
Scoop 4: Bungee jumping, sky diving or getting inked?
- I loved bungee jumping, it’s time to get inked now
Scoop 5: Gin, vodka, Jäger or tequila?
- Jäger all day!!!