Dezi 5
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Dezi 5

New York City, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2012

New York City, NY
Established on Jan, 2012
Solo Pop Electronic

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Jun
25
Dezi 5 @ Armoury D.E.

Dallas, Texas, United States

Dallas, Texas, United States

Jun
24
Dezi 5 @ Backyard on Bell

Denton, Texas, United States

Denton, Texas, United States

Jun
02
Dezi 5 @ Rockbar NYC

New York, New York, United States

New York, New York, United States

Music

Press


"Dezi 5 is Dallas R&B's Best-Kept Secret"

It seems perfectly reasonable to meet Dezi 5 at 4 o'clock on a Tuesday morning. There's very little about the man that is conventional. He sits at a booth inside the Deep Ellum Buzzbrews, engaged in lively conversation with a couple of strangers, the only other reminders of human life at this otherwise desolate hour. Dezi can't help but charm and entertain.

Last month, he played an impressive set at Trees during the Dallas Observer Music Awards showcase. He was a bit of a wild card, an R&B singer -- dressed in an oh-so-tight black leather jumpsuit and sunglasses -- on a bill of rock and country bands. But it didn't take long for him to win over the room with his tireless showmanship. Crown & Harp talent buyer Moody Fuqua recently called Dezi "Dallas' Prince," and it's a sensible comparison: He's a powerhouse performer and one of the most invigorating vocalists in the city today.

It's an identity that Dezman Lehman has carefully crafted, down to the name he's chosen to perform under: "I use the number five in my name because it represents power. It's my lucky number, and it also represents the Five-Percent Nation," he explains. A scandalously skin-tight top peeks through his blazer; he wouldn't be Dezi without a hint of sass. But his beginnings were humble, a fact he's not ashamed to admit. "I'm from South Dallas, born and bred," he declares. "My grandmother owned the restaurant Verne's for 30 yearsHis talent is hard to ignore, so it's no surprise that he stood out early on. "One day the July Alley manager, who was next door, heard me singing and invited me to play there," Dezi recalls. This led to various gigs singing jazz at Brooklyn's and Pearl St. Bar. "With Liz Mikel, who's actually right behind us," Dezi says, "but I'm not gonna say hi because she's cutting into that steak." (Later on, when he walks over to Mikel, who recently had a significant role in the 2014 James Brown biopic Get On Up, she shrieks with joy and stands to greet him.)

In spite of his 17 years playing and studying clarinet -- time in which he also attended Florida A&M University for music -- Dezi eventually started a rock band, the Gypsy Hideout. "Every gay just wants to be a star," he jokes. That led to an invitation to join Emerald City, a Top 40 cover band that's been hugely popular since 1983. Besides playing for the Dallas Cowboys every year since he joined Emerald City in 2012, it's with them that Dezi's had the opportunity to open for the likes of Gavin DeGraw and Keith Urban. The band has accustomed Dezi to large crowds: "Every time I perform, I put myself in a bubble and imagine I'm at American Airlines Center," he says.

It's fair to say that no one else in Dallas is doing what Dezi does. He's cut from the cloth of classic pop stars. In contrast to the prevalent homages to '60s rock, Dezi 5 is a true triple threat, offering a mix of show-stopping vocals, outlandish theatricality and exuberant dance moves. The poses he strikes onstage would make believable classic rock posters -- he scorches with the fire of Tina Turner, entertaining the audience with every angle and limb. He's got a sing-for-my-supper, hustling demeanor; it's the humility of an artist who considers the spotlight both an honor and a responsibility.

Backed by a talented three-piece band, Dezi's voice particularly shines on slow R&B numbers, evoking a weathered soul and a rough life lived. But there's a deep-rooted cheeriness to his shows as well; his sets consist mostly of funk and original pop songs, such as the aggressively catchy "Dallas, Bitch." He's currently working on the release of his first EP with producer Brad Dale, whom he met after guest-singing for Ishi during 2013's Index Fest. Most of the album's original material was written by Forrest Brooks, including Dezi's first single "Lose Control" (now on iTunes), which is unapologetically upbeat and club friendly.

Even off the stage, Dezi has an uncanny ability to attract attention. It's like he was incubated in a pop machine and has marinated in a glitter solution since. Confidently outlandish, he gets a devilish kick out of turning heads. (The sparkly, feathered outfit he wore to the DOMA ceremony earned him "Best Dressed" that night.) He could pass for a couturier or Club Kid; whatever realm he's from, it's certainly more fun than ours.

Not everybody responds favorably to his aesthetic, however. Take, for instance, a show he played last year at a venue in Uptown: "The owner told me he liked the show, but he said it was too gay," Dezi recalls. "He said, 'Not everybody wants to see a blue-haired drag queen.'" Dezi 5 is openly gay and openly glam, but far from a drag queen. He explains that dismissive stereotyping only further inspires him. As a Libertarian, he's led the Party's float during Dallas' and Fort Worth's Gay Pride Parade for the last three years. He lights up recalling his favorite moment from the parade: As he sang "Proud Mary," the anti-gay protesters reluctantly began to dance, in spite of themselves and their beliefs.

But even though Dezi is one of few openly gay singers in town, he says he has a hard time booking shows at gay clubs. As he sees it, many gay venues prefer lip-synching drag queen productions. "And I'm not in with the ones who don't," he admits. On the other hand, he does well with the more conservative Frisco and Plano crowds. He's also become involved in the Dallas art scene as of late, and marvels at the way it's been flourishing.

"They're getting all the venues," he warns. "You'd be a fool to be in the music scene and not collaborate with the artists." With that purpose, he's been playing fairly underground art shows and putting bills together with experimental musicians like Lily Taylor and Def Rain. "At the end of the day, I just want to make people dance," he says. "Don't be afraid of the avant-garde."
, and she let me practice with my friends in the attic." - Dallas Observer


"Last Night: Vice Palace Presents: Crucifixion on the Dance Floor with Dezi 5/Featuring Rat Rios"

I think we can all agree it’s a scary world outside. Nothing shakes my insomnia induced stupor and pulls me through the front door into the enormous, sultry “outside” quite like the idea of witnessing the man widely held to be Dallas’ very own reigning king of pop, Dezi5. He was described by this very publication to be “by far the greatest glam rock and classical pop artist in Dallas right now” in a recent Ten piece. With such high praises in mind, I journeyed to The Public Trust art gallery where Vice Palace was holding their 20th whenever-we-get-around-to-it party, centered around Dezi5 with an opening performance from another THRWD favorite, Rat Rios.

I have to tell you, it’s nights like tonight that make me remember why I love what I do. Earlier that day I was in my photography studio, grinding on some portrait work for this or that Highland Park professional, and in the process, I forgot to change my camera’s settings back to what I use for concerts and low light events. I freaked out when I couldn’t get a decent photo taken without the flash on. That is, until I captured this moment of Rat Rios which I think visualizes her sound and music in a near perfect way:

THRWD Rat Rios Nick Sanders

Rat Rios’ hauntingly unique sound has been described by many a local news source, so I won’t spend much time on that. It’s noteworthy, impressive and perfect for a Sunday night drive through one of our many heavily wooded neighborhoods. The technicalities of achieving her sound are impressive. Using nothing but a reverb machine, a keyboard, and a microphone (which she pounded with her hand, and along with the reverb produced a heartbeat-like backdrop for her opening song) she produces a sort of minimalist sound, relying on her confident voice to carry us through the journey of the song from start to finish.

When Dezi came out, the crowd split to let him through like they were disciples to some sort of messiah of the leather and fishnet land of milk and honey. He took long, intentional steps toward the stage; not hurrying. It was as if he was taking us back to a period in which his very existence would earn him a trip to the stake to burn, and he was channeling that walk to the 8’ covered cross that stood looming onstage.

From the moment he stepped onto the stage, neither he nor the crowd stopped moving until he finally ended the performance. Full disclosure: I’m no stranger to dopamine releases. I’ve had my goes at the Hunter S. Thompson style of living. Those chills I felt when Dezi’s energy transferred through his movements and sound, through the speakers were just that; dopamine flooding my brain. It’s like a drug. At one point he clung to the cross and exclaimed, “Everybody sings songs about Paris, New York, Los Angeles, or wherever; I’m From Dallas Bitch!” He then launched into another song from his show stopping personal repertoire.

I’m now convinced that one of the best concerts showcasing local Dallas music was performed at this small art gallery to 70 heads that jumped, danced, and showed their love for this city and its larger than life performers. - THRWD


"Vice Palace: Crucifixion On The Dance Floor"

Combining his love for cutting edge sound in the city of Dallas and his newly established tape label -- sponsored by the City of Dallas -- Arthur Pena's Vice Palace continues it's live album recording series with the trending and eclectic Dezi 5, a collective fusion of R&B, funk and soul for the modern age. Building up to this is the multi-talented musical effort of Rat Rios. Watch as a rare form of crucifixion takes place in a public forum, all of which is being recorded live, as it happens. -- Evan Henry - Central Track


"The Ten with Dezi 5"

Dezi 5 is by far the greatest glam rock and classical pop artist in Dallas right now. He lights up any event with his dance skills and charisma. With his extravagant shades still on, Dezi 5 sat with us to talk about future projects, difficulties he’s faced for his sexuality, and hopes he has for the future.

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1. Is there someone in your life that you can say, “If it wasn’t for this person, I would be someone completely different; doing something else.”

There’s a lot. I had a rock band that was doing pretty well and when I met the guys from Music is our Weapon, I noticed that something needed to happen to dance music. I experimented in it and now here we are. It took me to another level, one where I want to be.

2. I know you used to play clarinet and that’s how you got started, how do you go from playing clarinet to starting a rock band?

Well when you get out of school, [and you are] a college dropout, and you work for a bank; wearing a suit every day, you quickly put the clarinet to the side. Then you realize It’s all the same; it’s all music. I just decided to express it a little differently.

3. What are your new projects for the rest of this year?

My first EP, it’s called Crucifixion on the Dance Floor. It’s five tracks of just dance music. I have been working with Josh Goode and Brad Dale; Red Sean and Left/Right. I will call myself the executive producer of the album. It releases in September, right around the corner. We are going to have the EP release party at the Dallas Contemporary and THRWD is hosting, thank goodness for that! What makes me really excited about that is that my love for visual art as well as music is all very important. My brother Eric Trich, owner of 3014 SPACE, is my visual artist and we’ve been workin’ on some things and it won’t be too surprising because it has been done before, but not this way. I am going to crucify myself.

4. Where did you get the idea of crucifying yourself?

I just turned 33 this year. I grew up Christian, and I had a certain fear over who I was and my person. I feel like that has held me back from where I could be now. I don’t want to be hard on myself, but the fact that I allowed that makes me say now, ‘I don’t give a fuck.’ This has allowed me to soar to where I want to be and now that I am 33, I am crucifying my fear of what people could say about me. If I dance the way I dance, or if I wear fishnets, or if I slept with someone last night, I am crucifying those insecurities. I am hoping this album can help. You go to dance clubs and people are still not dancing, they just look around. They will dance when they are at home, but they’re scared of being judged because of all those different insecurities. We are introducing a crucifixion at a live tape recording at Vice Palace with Art Peña. I encourage everyone to come to that event. I am also releasing a single in August; it’s called Dallas Bitch.

THRWD DALLAS BITCH

5. Are you the Dallas Bitch?

I am the Dallas Bitch. A lot of people aren’t from Dallas anymore. That’s okay, Dallas is a great attraction, we’re a fashion-hub, and we’re growing. You’ll go to a bar and ask ‘Where are you from?’ They’ll say, ‘New York’ or whatever and I say ‘I’m from Dallas, bitch!’

6. Is Dallas the only place you would like to live?

No, I’ve always had dreams of living in Paris, performing in a cabaret, and being married to a Jazz philosopher. Seriously though, Dallas will always be home. I want to have a big house in Turtle Creek.

7. Has your sexuality influenced your career in any way?

Definitely. Being an artist, and I am homosexual, and being who I am…. It took me 26 years to embrace who I am ,and I am very proud to talk about it. You don’t have to hesitate to ask because it is who I am and I hope someone can grow from this so they can drop those insecurities and crucify them and move forward and live. It’s definitely a challenge, because right now, it’s all about rock bands and the blues bands. They can get all the gigs at Sundown, Granada, and Twilight. I’m just trying to entertain and sing songs that everyone loves. People love these songs, they love Sting, they love Lady Gaga and Grace Jones, but no one is playing these songs. I am still crying to these venues, why not hire these people? People will dance more and they’ll buy more. It’ll be like Star Club in the ’80’s. We’re missing that glam because everyone is trying to be, and it’s okay if you want to be that, but everyone is just trying to be the next cool person.

8. Do people look at you differently because of your sexuality?

I was told I was a drag queen, but I never dress in drag. I dressed in drag once for Halloween, and that was the day my mom’s boyfriend saw me, and I’m not saying there is nothing wrong with it, but it is what it is. I was performing in Uptown, and I brought a very good crowd because I love to sing Sinatra and Amy Winehouse and songs people love. There was a good mixture of people and they made money that day, and the owner still said no because he didn’t think very highly of me. He said I was a blue haired drag queen. It hit me, I won’t lie it did. I know it’s [a form of] discrimination. Who wouldn’t hire me? I’m the shit! I sing in cover bands, and they’re dragging me every week to do this and do that. Today, I’m singing Lionel Richie at a recording studio and I’m getting paid for it. I’m going to keep trying and making music and making a statement. I will keep wearing my fishnets and keep being me and it is what it is.

9. How do you think we can normalize being gay?

We need to treat everyone the way we want to be treated. We are all human. We need to guide everyone to realize that it is a human experience; homosexuality, heterosexuality, music, art, passion, it is all part of being a human. We need to understand that it is all part of being together. We need to make sure to teach the new generations, because we are living in times where there are still people who were once segregated, there’s people that are still confused about it, and there’s people that are tired of it and want out. We need to treat each other well, and teach everyone that is it okay to embrace [yourself] as long as you don’t hurt anybody.

10. Is music what you want to do for the rest of your life, or is there a passion for something else?

Definitely. There’s always other things, but they come through music. If I was not doing music right now, I would probably be twitching in terror in a psychic ward because it keeps me going. I don’t have children and I don’t have a significant other. It’s just me and my music, so I have to take care of it. It took care of me when I didn’t take care of myself. I used to do ecstasy; that isn’t my life. Singing in the bathroom all night on the other hand… - THRWD


"Dezi 5's Crucifying Himself to Help Dallas' LGBTQ Community Find Its Inner Pop Star"

So he became Dezi 5, an R&B and pop singer with a knack for over-the-top showmanship. While he doesn’t go as far as full-on drag, he dresses up in fishnets or leather jump suits and sings lavish, original pop songs inspired by Lady Gaga and Grace Jones. “Lose Control,” the first single that Lehman released as Dezi 5 earlier this year, celebrates his newfound sense of freedom with all the sass and outlandishness he can muster. A mix of window-rattling beats and bleary-eyed synth, it’s an ode to losing (and finding) yourself in the club, reveling in decadence and low-class thrills. As “Dallas, Bitch,” another song due to be released on Crucifixion on the Dance Floor, makes clear, it’s all rooted in a populist vision, one that’s tied to Lehman’s deep love for the city. - Dallas Observer


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Dezi 5 is an award winning, recording artist and multi-faceted entertainer.

Born in Dallas, Texas on July 14, 1982, Dezi 5 believes he was conceived to the smooth sounds of 80’s R&B and tight jean contests. His interest in performing began in his late twenties.

Dezi 5 began experimenting with electronic beats and avant-garde sounds and released his EP Crucifixion on the Dance Floor. it establishes Dezi’s place in the dance club and fashion runways with elements of EDM, Trap, future disco, and 90’s house. Since being recognized as the Dallas Observer’s “Best Live Act” in 2017 and opening for acts such as Big Freedia, Le1f, and Sharon Needles of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Dezi 5 is catapulting himself into the ambassador of Sexual Freedom through song and dance. Sharing his vision of peace and unity one performance at a time.

Dezi 5 is the energy of our past, present and future.

Band Members