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Run Deep

by Deva Mahal

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about

The sultry grit of “Can’t Call It Love” kicks off the album, followed by the bold R&B stomp of “Snakes,” a warning sent to Deva’s younger self (and girls like her) to watch out for people with less than your best intentions in mind. The late-night groove of “Turnt Up”, (a duet with Allen Stone), sways under the trance of Deva’s whiskey-soaked seductiveness, and Stone’s equally sly counterpoint, while the elegiac spirituality of “Fire” traces a path through trial and demons. The album’s title track is a celebration of the power of music itself, featuring Deva’s sister Coco Peila; despite its title, “Dream” is a clear-eyed, wide-awake reflection on a love gone wrong.

An organ-driven rock beat propels “Optimist,” which could serve as Deva’s one-word mission statement. “It’s Down To You” shows off Deva’s soulful balladry, “Shards” her ability to reveal her very core in a stark, confessional anthem. “Wicked” is an electro-soul call to action in the vein of Stevie Wonder’s politically charged classics. The album comes full circle with a cover of the Carole King/Gerry Goffin song “Take a Giant Step” – originally recorded by The Monkees and famously covered by Taj Mahal in 1969, but rendered profoundly current and personal in Deva’s own rendition.

Her songs draw on a deep well of personal experience, serving as revelations, cautionary tales, and empowerment anthems. “When you are bullied and treated like you don’t belong, or faced with great adversity at a young age,” she says, “you learn ways to cope. Music gave me an outlet to express the pain of those experiences and the strength to challenge racial, physical and gender stereotypes.”

She is defiant in voice as well as in person, bravely putting herself forward as an exemplar of positive body image and overcoming the travails of bullying and discrimination. She’s also lent her support and talents to organizations like “Voices of a People’s History of the United States” which are working to cast the light of truth on racial inequality, gender stereotypes, and bias as well as issues surrounding poverty.

“It’s incredibly important to me to not succumb to pressure to conform to any standard of beauty or body type,” Deva asserts. “I believe that beauty has no size or skin color and I want to smash down those preconceptions.”

Raised in Kauai, Hawaii, Deva discovered her passion for music at a very young age. Despite her parental role models, her talent and drive arose naturally, long before she became aware that she was following in their footsteps. Even before her earliest memories, Deva’s family recall her seizing any opportunity to sing in front of a crowd, gradually improving and always feeding off the positive energy of an audience, however small. She had her first real gig at the age of 5 and made her professional debut at 12 – and has rarely stayed away from a stage for long since.

Initially aspiring to a career on Broadway, Deva moved to the mainland to study theater at Southern Oregon University, but those plans were derailed by the unexpected death of her sister. To regroup, she moved to the Bay Area with two of her other sisters, until the events of 9/11 prompted her to join her mother in New Zealand. While there she decided to study jazz and vocal performance and slowly began to make a name for herself on the Wellington music scene.

A successful tour of Europe with “hi-tek soul” band Fat Freddy’s Drop opened the wider world to Deva, and in 2007 she determined to try her luck in New York City, a long-abandoned dream finally coming to belated fruition. Once there she became a fixture at Brooklyn jam sessions, tirelessly set her experiences to music, and earned a significant buzz as half of the duo Fredericks Brown, with fellow New Zealand ex-pat Steph Brown.

The wider world started to realize Deva’s songwriting talents in 2008, when “Never Let You Go,” a co-write with her father, gained acclaim on the Grammy-nominated album Maestro. She’s also collaborated with a wide-ranging array of artists, including members of TV on the Radio, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and Fat Freddy’s Drop. She’s performed at such renowned venues and festivals as Sonar, Womad, Carnegie Hall, The Apollo the Atlanta Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival and Montreux Jazz Festival. “Every experience in life leaves a mark,” Deva sums up. “Evidence of its existence. Some experiences leave scars, deep grooves inside your very soul that never truly leave you. That is where Run Deep comes from. I never want to wade in the shallow places in life because it’s easier, safer or more comfortable. My music speaks a lot about pain and heartache, but I dive into those feelings, submerge myself in them so I can work through them and get to the other side.”

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released March 23, 2018

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Deva Mahal New York, New York

Genre-defying artist, powerhouse vocalist and astute songwriter.

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Track Name: Can't Call It Love
I’m feeling you like an old school instrumental
I’m getting in the mood, and feeling sentimental
The way you look at me, no, it ain’t accidental
Though I ain’t clear if it’s real, or if you’ve hit me central
Cause I’m not the type to automatically get complicated
Though your time and affection show nuff appreciated
I understand, real love is underestimated
For such a blessing, gotta know that I really waited
Really waited

Just can’t call it love, no baby no, no baby no
Just can’t call it love, no baby no, no baby no

Chemistry is dynamite, like Vogel bread and Marmite
But what if we collide like Superman and kryptonite?
Opposite ends, baby of the periodic table
Molecules, when joined, becoming unstable
But I’m not the type to straight jump into the deep end
Though I am feeling you, I cannot pretend
Oh no, I cannot pretend

Just can’t call it love, no baby no, no baby no
Just can’t call it love, no baby no, no baby no

You got that rhythm, my song is sweet
My hips rock steady, when you touch me, I feel the heat
When it comes to my heart, gotta be clear from the start
Can’t let it get torn apart, no, no

Say just can’t call it love, no baby no, no baby no...

Before we have love, L-O-V-E
You need to show me, R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Track Name: Snakes
Slither sinner like a snake in the grass
Wolf in sheep's clothing with words made of glass
Crept up upon me like a shadow on the wall
Couldn’t prepare me for how heavy I would fall

And I say ooh girl, step on the scene, don’t you know the world is so mean?
Ooh girl, caught in between, don’t you know the grass ain’t green?
Ooh girl, step on the scene, don’t you know the world is so mean?
Ooh girl, caught in between, don’t you know the grass ain’t green?

Smoke and mirror, what a spell you have cast
Cruel predictions have all come to pass
The earth is shaking and the sky is tumbling down
Shaking my tree ‘til my leaves fall to the ground
And I said fall to the ground, fall to the ground
Fall to the, fall to the, fall to the ground

And I said ooh girl, step on the scene, don’t you know the world is so mean?
Ooh girl, caught in between, don’t you know the grass ain’t green?
Ooh girl, step on the scene, don’t you know the world is so mean?
Ooh girl, caught in between, don’t you know the grass ain’t green?
Don’t you know the world is so mean?

I’ma look to the mountains, look to the mountains, look to the mountains
And I’ma take you to the sea
Look to the mountains, look to the mountains, look to the mountains
And I’m’a take you to the sea
Track Name: Fire
Long, it’s been a long time coming
Though I sent a strong, a real strong warning
That you tried to fight, but it’s a losing battle
Faded lights, so put your feet to the gravel
I tried, Lord knows I’ve tried

I can’t go any further, if you only knew the darkness inside
I can’t go any further, if you only knew the darkness inside of me

True, you truly make me feel good
And I know you’d, do anything that you could
To make me happy, happier than i deserve
But I was set on fire, and you can’t heal these burns
The tears I’ve cried, could fill a river wide

Oh, I can’t go any further
If you only knew, the darkness inside of me
I can’t go any further, if you only knew
The darkness inside of me

Said I can’t go any further
If you only knew, the darkness inside
Said I can’t go any further
if you only knew, the darkness inside of me
Track Name: Dream
I don’t dream about him anymore
You don’t hold me like you did before
Think it’s finally time to close the door
to my heart

Two feet tall, brown eyes, little hands, seemed so wise
Skinny legs
I knew he was you plus me, from his head down to his feet
But we never met, with the power of blood, combined
We could have breathed him into life
But you were busy finding yourself, and then you found someone else
Someone else

I don’t dream about him anymore
You don’t hold me like you did before
Think it’s finally time to close the door
To my heart

Took the wind, it took the rain, lightnin’ to strike me once again
To let go, of the love, the laughs and the grief
To tell the truth from the make believe
Flesh and bone, misery clung tight
Had to hold onto the light, to finally take me from the darkness
It was so hard to leave, but it was killing me

I don’t dream about him anymore
You don’t hold me like you did before
Think it’s finally time to close the door
To my heart
See my heart forgot to skip a beat, when I mentioned you the other week
I no longer feel I’m incomplete, without you
Track Name: Shards
Bullets flew, you shot my heart
It was love from the start, from the start
The journeys made on airplanes, we couldn’t be apart
Couldn’t be apart, no

What did I do, I’m talking to you
You won’t even look me in my face
Answer your phone, I’m all alone
Tell me, baby, have I been replaced

Oh when the pain subsides, there will remain a shard
That will remind me of, who you really are

I see you all around, how do I let go
I can’t escape you even in my dreams
The tears we shared, kissing in the snow
Whoa-oh-oh in the snow, guess we were never meant to be

Oh when the pain subsides, there will remain a shard
That will remind me of, who you really are

Who you are (x8)

Oh when the pain subsides, there will remain a shard
That will remind me of, who you really are

Oh when the pain subsides, there will remain a shard
That will remind me of, who you really are

Woo hoo (x3)
Track Name: Run Deep (feat. Coco Peila)
My eyes are wide this morning, but my heart is heavy still
There’s a sea inside me, storming ‘cause I’m battling with my will
Though I may grow tired and weary, and there’s ache within my bones
I will fight for what I believe in, even if I fight alone
I know that I’m gon’, keep on moving on
‘Cause nobody can stop me yeah

‘Cause I gathered my armour, and I’m ready for battle
I’ve got my weapons drawn, takin’ the road less traveled
And I’m ready to do this, and nobody can stop me
‘Cause I’m thoroughly convinced, this is my love and it runs deep

In my life, there have been many
Who have tried to break me down
But I know in my soul, oh, that I am upward bound
Doesn’t matter what they think of me, cause I know what I was born to be
I don’t do it ‘cause it’s trendy, I hold onto my integrity
Manifest my own reality, and soon all them haters will see
That nobody can stop me yeah

Cause I gathered my armour, and I’m ready for battle
I’ve got my weapons drawn, takin’ the road less traveled
And I’m ready to do this, and nobody can stop me
‘Cause I’m thoroughly convinced, this is my love and it runs deep

[Rap: Coco Peila]

Little nappy headed skinny ass black girl, back of the class
Didn’t try, I didn’t think I could pass
Didn’t fight ‘cause I had already lost more than my share of battles
Before I hit double digits many tried to break me, make me give in
Listen, not playing stupid so they don’t feel intimidated
Give up on my goals and dreams for theirs to be accommodated
Let them use my mind and body, making their shit look bossy
Not speak up and use my gifts cause they might call me “bitch” and “bossy”
Know in my soul what I’m down here for
Exactly what I love, what ma crowned me for
What I hold, they can’t touch, what I have, they can’t buy
Went toe to toe with doubt a couple of times, abandoned that lie
Yea I lost some battles but I’ll win the war
Haters stay underestimating; I’ll settle the score
Run deep like the blood in my veins, it gives me fever
Won’t stop 'til I’m running the game, now sang it Deva

[Hook: Deva Mahal]
And I I gathered my armour
And I'm ready for battle, I've got my weapons drawn
Taken the road less traveled, and I'm ready to do this
And nobody can stop me, cause I'm thoroughly convinced
This is my love and it runs deep
Track Name: Turnt Up (feat. Allen Stone)
If you move forward, there’s no turning back
So let’s take it slow, no need to move fast
Don’t tell me your secrets, don’t care about your past
There’s only this moment, so let’s make it last

And get turnt up, with the lights down low
Love you tonight, tomorrow who knows?
So drink here, with your whiskey lean
Tonight boy, you’re lookin’ so clean
Turnt up, with the lights down low
Love you tonight, that’s how the game goes
So drink here, with your whiskey lean
Tonight boy, it’s just you and me

And I see you checkin’, I can see it in your eyes
And you know I liked it, there’s no need to disguise
Spare me your problems, I don’t care about your lies
Tonight let’s get restless, and give into the night

And get turnt up with the lights down low
I love you tonight, tomorrow who knows?
So drink here, with your whiskey lean
Tonight boy, you’re lookin’ so clean
Turnt up, with the lights down low
Love you tonight, that’s how the game goes
So drink here, with your whiskey lean
Tonight by, it’s just you and me

Though you don’t even know me, I like what I see
So I want you to show me, temptation between the sheets
So finish what you’re sippin’, don’t need another drink
If you’re ready, I’m willing, didn’t come here to think

Turnt up, with the lights down low
Love you tonight, tomorrow who knows?
So drink here, with you whiskey lean
Tonight boy, you’re lookin’ so clean
Turnt up, with the lights down low
Love you tonight, that’s how the game goes
So drink here, with your whiskey lean
Tonight boy, it’s just you and me

You and me, you and me
You and me yeah, you and me...
Track Name: Superman
I need me a superman to, flyin’ round as fast as he can
I need me a big old daddy, knows just what to do with his two hands
‘Cause I am superwoman, I need me a man of steel
So you better come for real, I need me a superman.
Track Name: Optimist
When my sea is burnin’, when the bow breaks
When my heart is hurtin’, and my soul can’t take it
And I feel the need to surrender, cause I can’t hold on
Gotta remember, you gotta be strong

Oh, I won’t give up, to all the heartaches that life brings
‘Cause I believe in love, believe it’s everlasting
Oh-whoa … oh-whoa

Now we all fall down, and we all feel pain
And the hurt are drownin’, in the pouring rain
Lord, they don’t make it easy, ain’t given nothin for free
But you gotta get on up, and get back on your feet

Oh, I won’t give up, to all the heartaches that life brings
‘Cause I believe in love, believe it’s everlasting

Oh… whoa oh ...whoa

It’s hard times, in this hard life
There’s so many demands, but you can make it
There’s no mistaking, if together we stand

Oh I won’t give up, to all the heartaches that life brings
Cause I believe in love, believe it’s everlasting

Oh- whoa whoa, Oh - whoaI believe, I believe in love
I believe, I believe
I believe
Yeah!!!!!
Track Name: Wicked
Limbs, breaking off the pieces of me
Wind, blowing me away to a distant land
Come on and catch me if you can

Rain, trickling down my face but it don’t wash
No, it doesn’t wash away the pain, I’m still wrapped in chains

I’m goin’ off, no, I won’t go down in the night
We goin’ off, got the kingdom in our sights

We are wicked now, we are wicked now
Gunning for the crown, you can’t hold us down
We are wicked now, we are wicked now
Coming for you now, we are wicked now

Oh, leaves
Withering and a falling at your feet, your trees are sullied at the root
Bearing such a bitter fruit, oh you
You tried to bury me, but you forgot that we are seeds
And we’ll grow, and you’re gonna lose control

I’m goin’ off, no I won’t go down in the night
We goin’ off, got the kingdom in our sights

We are wicked now, we are wicked now
Gunning for the crown, you can’t hold us down
We are wicked now, we are wicked now
Coming for you now, we are wicked now

You may try to intimidate us, and turn our hearts
But the more you try to break us, the stronger we are

We are wicked now, we are wicked now
Gunning for the crown, you can’t hold us down
We are wicked now, we are wicked now
Coming for you now, we are wicked now

We are wicked now, We are wicked now
Gunning for the crown, you can’t hold us down
We are wicked now, we are wicked now
Coming for you now, we are wicked now
Track Name: It's Down to You
I won’t be the only one, to travel over land and sea
And I won’t be the only one, cause that’s a lonely life for me
You tell me ‘bout your love but I’ve never seen it
It’s not enough to make it, you’ve gotta mean it

And it’s down to you, I’ve tried everything to please you
What else can I do? Darlin’ I can’t wait

And I won’t be the only one
Who’d lay my life, lay my life on the line
The lights are up and the curtains down
Listen boy, you’re running out of time

You tell me ‘bout your love, but you never show it
It’s not enough to say it, I gotta know it

And it’s down to you, I’ve tried everything to please you
What else can I do, darlin’ I can’t wait

I know if I stay here, I’ll never make it
So I’m running with my heart, before you break it

And it’s down to you, I’ve tried everything
To please you,
And what else can I do? Baby, I can’t wait

And it’s down to you, I’ve tried everything, everything (oh)
to please you
What else can I do? Baby, I can’t wait

Say, Lord, I’ve tried everything
Track Name: Take A Giant Step
Though you failed at love and lost
And sorrow's turned your heart to frost
I will mend your heart again
Remember the feeling as a child
When you woke up and morning smiled
It's time it’s time you felt that way again
There is just no percentage of remembering the past
It's time you learned to live again and love at last

Come with me leave your yesterday, yesterday behind
And take a giant step outside your mind

You stare at me with disbelief
You say for you there's no relief
But girl I swear you won’t come to no harm
Don't sit there in your lonely room
Just looking back on your lonely gloom
Mama that's just not where you belong

Come with me I'll take you where the taste of life is green
And everyday hold on woman we’ll be seen
Come with me leave your yesterday, yesterday behind
Take a giant step outside your mind
Ooh come with me I'll take you where the taste of life is green
And everyday hold on woman we’ll be seen

Oh yeah, come with me leave your yesterday, yesterday behind
Take a giant step outside your mind
Come with me leave your yesterday, yesterday behind
Take a giant step outside your mind
Come with me leave your yesterday behind
And take a giant step outside your mind
Though you failed at love and lost
And sorrow's turned your heart to frost
I will mend your broken heart

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