This month’s feature is a singer who is trying to defy definition and genre boundaries lets visit wit…… DAJ


Mistajay: What is the story and conception behind your artist name?

DAJ: well… DAJ is actually the initials for my full Name: DeShawn Aaron Jenkins.  I feel that as a person, over the past few years I have come to understand that I am whole, complete in the package I was created in and If any one where to ask my name I would say my name is DeShawn Aaron Jenkins, This was a way to honor who I am, in its entirety.  I got lucky tho..  My Initials ended up sounding ok.. DAJ  like TAJ, (haha)

Mistajay: Your bio says where physically born in Cleveland, OH but, musically re-born in Atlanta so what area are you reppin?

DAJ: What I have come to understand is that no matter where I travel, no matter where my inspiration comes from… at the heart, I am always born and bread in the heart of Cleveland, OH.  Cleveland is my home, my Truth.

Mistajay: Since you are trained in Musical Theater and Jazz as a child, and began very early as most singers do in church, what are your influences your music? And what in those genres inspires you?

DAJ: I love ALL music.  When I was younger my passion was R&B, my strict religious parents (at the time) took that away.. so for a moment of my life all I had was gospel, When I was reintroduced to R&B again, (Major thanks to Brandy’s First album and a young boy’s obsession)  I was stuck there.  As I got older and began to experience life on my own terms I was exposed to many more kinds of music, which have all influenced me in some kind of way.  What I have understood is my fascination with sound.  It’s not necessarily the “Genre”, but the sound of the music it self.  I’m drawn to Ambient, Synth and orchestral sounding things with heavy percussion… Which could be Janet Jackson, Brandy, Bjork, Sade, Maxwell, Enya and Even Snoop Dogg… Its not the Genre.. its the sound of a particular song.  Unfortunately the music industry wants you to find a “Category” so you can make sense to the general public…  But i love it all.

Mistajay: How do you describe your style what genre or music who you say you fit into?

DAJ: Because I have to Pick a Genre.. I say I would fall more in the Electronic Category, However my Music is a fusion of sound, Its Futuristic, yet Reminiscent, It’s here and there… Yet Nowhere.  But if you listen, there is a place for everyone in it.   Some people listen and hear Soul, Some Listen and hear Electroinca, Some Listen and here Jazz influence.. and they are all correct.  I would like to think my music is like a Art portrait, but with sound … I leave it up to the listener to choose where i fit.

Mistajay: What is your best song recorded to date and why?

DAJ: WOW! hahah,   That is Hard Question…. Each song that I write.. (publicly heard and unreleased) are all the best when I write them… because I’m very particular to the mood I may or may not be in.  Each song is very important to that particular time in my life.  They are all my children… I can’t choose one over the other cause they all serve a purpose in the make up of who I am.

Mistajay: If you could share the stage with any 3 artists or bands who are still around and touring, who would they be and why?

DAJ: SADE-  in my opinion Sade was the birth of sound fusion.  She came along and brought atmosphere to R&B music, she brought mood.  She is def one of my influences and being able to be on tour with her would be an honor.

Maxwell-  Maxwell is so beyond the ear.  People hear him… and See him, because the package is right, However I ‘ think people have ever sat and listened to the core of Maxwell’s musicality.  It’s brilliant.  His EMBRYA album is a MASTERPIECE, and so ahead of its time.. it still hasn’t caught up to with people.. they like it.. because they buy into the Maxwell brand but I don’t think they have truly come to understand the core brilliance that is known as Maxwell…  I would like to create a incredible stage show with Maxwell.

I would like to leave the last one open to my friends… I have some very very talented and amazing friends, who are recording and touring as we speak, and to share the stage with them as we all are grinding and making our dreams realities would be simply a blessing. Because it would be more then the music, it would be our biographies on stage, sharing with the world that it’s possible if you believe and move forward.  Major Shout out to my amazing and Talented friends!

Mistajay: Where do you see the music going in 2012? How do you see yourself fitting into that?

DAJ: I think that Music is going to get “complicated and Fused” if you will… People have been fed simplicity for so long that they are hungry for something with a little more.  Its a cycle, Before Jazz.. it was the blues.. very simple, yet heartfelt, tunes… “da da da dada … my baby’s gone… da da da dada…. I’m all alone.. da da da dada” … and as people began to become more educated, the art rose higher.. Jazz is very complex, and to think at one point it was popular music, played on the corner, and small jook joint clubs.  I think that is where we are at the turn of this new energy cycle.  People are looking for something more… deeper, and complex.   I also see that the generation coming up was raised different.  We are the first generation born into an “equal” atmosphere amongst races and cultures.  So we were exposed to more then “white vs Black Radio” … we had Alains Morissette, Incubus and Madonna in one ear.. and Janet Jackson, TLC and BabyFace in the other.  That is where the fusion comes in,…  As far as to how i fit in with it.. I would like to hope that I’m right on target with where its going, along with my peers.  Headed in a direction where music is honored by Sound and feeling.

Mistajay: What are your future plans?

DAJ: My Future Plans??  Well… all I can say is I’m going to keep creating, pushing to where my heart takes me.  The Future is so unknown to any of us. I have spent my life trying to peep behind Future’s curtains, that I didn’t take the time to enjoy the excitement of not knowing, so now I’m learning how to do just that.  Where would I like to be? Further Established, Touring, and Creating Art/Music Portraits to help inspired the generation coming next, so they know that they don’t have to be anything but who they truly are.

Mistajay: Any last thoughts?

DAJ: Well first I would like to thank you for your interview… your questions were awesome.  I would just like to say, that as we approach a new dawn of day and understanding… I hope that we can come together and love one another. As we are.. Not as we are told to be.  Where the “Let Freedom Ring” idea was for a generation, i would like to coin that phrase for all us now to take on personally.. Challenge yourself to find out not just who you are.. but what are you are truly put here to do.  There we can achieve balance as a nation, as a species first and foremost and eventually truly change and inspire the world to come.   Again.. Thank you so much!

Mistajay: Where can fans follow you and get your music?

DAJ: Yes!!! Yes.. Of course.. Please Follow me on Twitter - @simplyDAJ .
You can also find me on facebook, .
The music is on sale, Via Itunes, (Search “DAJ” or “DAJ x Akira Shelton”).
Or You can Check out the music on where both EP’s are streaming and for sale.
Other sites include :


Mistajay is doing a monthly interview feature the underground experience on the blog and would like to interview you for this new post please contact to publicize any new projects that you have coming up thanks for your time. Donate or pay $50 dollar interview fee below!!


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Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Labor Day Legislation

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

A Nationwide Holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.


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