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Singer/songwriter Tahu “Deemi” Aponte, 27, doesn’t need special effects to lure listeners in - instead, she relies on truth, drawing from her own remarkable life experience to pen vividly descriptive, emotionally charged lyrics. With her soaring, visceral vocals, Deemi makes songs weep with anguish, shiver with anticipation, throb with anger, and glimmer with hope. Every song is a confessional, a page torn from her diary - and together they form her extraordinary debut album, Soundtrack Of My Life (Family Ties/Atlantic).

Transforming her wounds into a source of strength, Deemi crafts songs that speak to the perseverance of the human spirit. This is a true story - Deemi’s story.

Act I - A Star Is Born

Born into a single-mother household in the Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bed-Stuy) area of Brooklyn, Deemi became aware of her gift for singing at age 7, when she won first place at a neighborhood talent show with her rendition of Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love Of All.”

“I still have the video from that day,” Deemi says with a laugh. “I look like a little worm wiggling back and forth onstage with my little braid to the side, a yellow jumpsuit on, and some yellow jelly sandals.”

At 13, Deemi began to formally pursue her craft, enrolling in Manhattan’s prestigious Talent Unlimited High School, where she studied chorus and mastered the art of harmonizing. Despite her excellent academic performance, Deemi’s singing aspirations would soon be derailed.

Act II - Growing Pains

At 17, Deemi became pregnant with her first child, Nathan. At her mother’s request, she transferred to another high school and continued her studies. But, a year later, when she became pregnant with her daughter Felicity, Deemi was left with no choice but to quit school and obtain her GED.

To make matters worse, her already tumultuous relationship with her children’s father was quickly deteriorating. “The verbal abuse came first,” Deemi recalls, “and then it led to pushing, choking, and hitting.”

When the couple relocated to Richmond, Virginia, the situation became dire. “That’s when everything got worse,” Deemi says. “I didn’t have any family there, and I wasn’t allowed to go out or make friends.” Beyond her man’s controlling ways, his physical abuse had worsened, and it was becoming increasingly difficult for Deemi to hide her bruised face.

Act III - Rebirth

In 2000, when her daughter was six months old, Deemi finally summoned up the courage to leave the abusive relationship and return to New York City. Three weeks later, her children’s father was arrested for drug dealing and was imprisoned for two years (in January 2004, he was fatally shot in a drug-related incident in Virginia).

Upon her return to Brooklyn, Deemi focused on establishing her independence and rebuilding her self-confidence. She rented her own apartment, landed a job as a dentist’s assistant, and attempted to piece together a new life for herself and her children. “For a while, I didn’t know who I was, “Deemi confesses. “I had to learn myself all over again.”

Act IV - The Next Episode

Back in NYC, Deemi formed the girl group DNA with some neighborhood friends and poured herself into her music. Her life took a fortuitous turn when, during an impromptu performance at a get-together held at one of the member’s homes, she caught the ear of producer Chris Styles, who eventually signed her to his production company, Dangerous, LLC. Styles introduced her to Bruce Waynne, one half of production duo Midi Mafia (who would go on to craft hits like 50 Cent’s “21 Questions”), and they soon began working on a demo.

After Deemi finished some musically impressive but lyrically generic songs, Styles urged her to sing about the struggles she’d endured. Styles’s instincts proved spot-on: 2004’s “So Hood,” which featured a cruder, more earnest Deemi, was quickly embraced by mixtape heavyweights like DJ Envy and DJ Famous. “We were getting so many accolades that I knew it was the route we needed to take,” Styles says. “Deemi’s been through so much, but she’s able to take all of that ugliness and make it beautiful.” Finally, in 2004, Deemi was signed to Atlantic Records through Midi Mafia’s Family Ties imprint.

Act V - The Takeover

With the completion of the aptly titled Soundtrack Of My Life, Deemi has delivered an impressive, powerful, and moving debut. As the album unfolds, Deemi leads audiences deeper into her world, walking them through a mosaic of experiences and emotions.

Deemi revisits old wounds in “How Do I,” in which she speaks openly of a life of physical abuse, while she professes her loyalty to her incarcerated love in the ballad “I Don’t Care.” Meanwhile, “Little Girl,” featuring Remy Ma, finds Deemi cautioning against the streets’ allure over ominous drums and frenetic keys that create an urgent feel.

Free of smoke and mirrors, Soundtrack’s power lies in Deemi’s vocal prowess, her gift for rela


- The Soundtrack of My Life