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DJ Yaa

DeMaria J. Simmons, also known locally as DJ Yaa, has been recording in Rochester since 2003. His latest offering, “I’m Somthin Kinda Heavy,” distills the better part of two decades of experience into a new album through Gimme Me Records.

We caught up with Simmons on his inspiration, musical journey, and In the meantime, you can listen to Simmons’ previous projects on Spotify, YouTube, or Apple Music.

1. You can call him Yay. Simmons’ stage name, DJ Yaa, is a play on his first and middle names (DJ=DeMaria Jamaal). He also goes by Yaa, or Yay.

2. He wants to “Take Your Pain Away.” The standout track on the project, “Take Your Pain Away,” has a deeply felt message for a loved one. “I want the listener to gain a sense of loving character we don’t share with our significant other anymore these days I feel,” Simmons said. “I add, ‘thugs have feelings too.’ … No, but seriously -- I want to show or express that as a tough guy … men do take pride in wanting our ladies to feel great about themselves. Most importantly, when your woman is beneath herself, try to acknowledge the fact that you are trying to resonate with what is the matter. … It’s okay to comfort each other’s unspoken or unseen scares. Most of all, it’s okay to show compassion and be sincere.”

3. DJ Yaa has graduated with this project. “I’m Somthin Kinda Heavy” is Simmons’ fifth solo project, and after 17 years of music production and artistry, he’s ready to consider himself a master. “I was self-taught -- some might say self-made,” he said. “So I’m sure it’s safe to say I’m a master at music production and marketing! (Though) I’ll always remain a student and will continue to learn.”

4. It all comes out Jan. 17. You can listen to all of the songs from “I’m Somthin’ Kinda Heavy” on all digital platforms Friday, including Spotify and Apple Music.

5. But keep watching! Simmons plans to release information about upcoming shows as they’re solidified… as well as one or two upcoming projects. But he doesn’t want to spoil the surprise quite yet. Just keep an eye out!

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