Dizz from Singing Group rIVerse

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dizz is the founder and lead songwriter/choreographer for Canadian musicgroup, rIVerse. rIVerse recently released their music video for "BaeBeeBoo" off their critically acclaimed sophomore album "Poison IV', a deeply personal and eclectic pop and R&B record that explores themes such as Black Lives Matter, systemic racism, body positivity, self-love and more. Dizz recently came out as HIV Positive in solidarity with National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and has since been using his platform to end the stigma around HIV and AIDS. 

On this episode, we chat with Dizz about the behind the scenes of the singing group, coming out as HIV positive in the modern world, and the importance of self love...we also put it out in the world that Beyonce should play Dizz in the movie version of rIVerse...c'mon Bey!  

Hosted by Alexander Rodriguez 

This is Metro Source Mente, theofficial podcast to Metro, source magazine and home of short forminterviews with your favorite personalities from the Lt World and bio,quick, fun and informative. It's not a source on the go out in cousins. I out in proud one thousand nine hundredand ninety the year I was born. Cough cough is metrorious Alexander Adria'slead rider from Metrosideros hot topics in today's headlines, our bodypositivity ethnic representation, HIV awareness, where there's a group ofSuper Heroes actually doing all of that, and we are talking with their fear thisleader today dis, is the founder of an lead. Songwriter Choreography forCanadian Music Group. Reverse reverse recently released their music video forbaby boo say that three times fast or critically, acclaim software albumpoison, Ivy, a deeply personal and ECLECTIC pop and rb record thatexplores themes such as black lives matter, systematic racism, body,positivity, self love and war. He recently came out is HIV positive insolidarity with National Black HIV AIDS awareness day and has since been usinghis platform to end the stigma around HIV and AIDS. Please welcome dear. I go you look Sol put together the restof US darein ovid are like looking like. You know like I want to say, and hereyou are like a like a beacon of light. Thank you. So my thank you. Okay, so tolet's not get it twisted. A suit jacket is on point, go it's to hide the bagsunder my eyes. So for starters, so I've becomeobsessed with you when getting to to know your group. I just have to knowhow did you get this group of misfits together in the first place? How did I bring these fools together?I'm kidding so basically, I've been. It's always been a dream of mind to bea part of a group specifically when it comes to music. I've just been such a afan of various groups growing up, and it was always a gold of mine, so Istarted playing group together when I was fourteen years old. I've worked with many many people alongthe way with it's been a journey trying to find the right people, but it wasn'tuntil two thousand and eight when all of US audition for a Toronto onproduction of Disney's high school musical to it was a live. Fearproduction where we all connected- and I essentially just had picked all ofthem- and here we are today, ten years later, I think overton year almost tellyears later, yeah wow now was it love at first sight, did you guys have somegrowing pains in starting to work together? No, it was. It was love at first sight,definitely and obviously, as you progress and you work, you're workingtogether so closely, you become family throughout so many years, like, ofcourse, you're going to have your challenge you're going to have yourdisagreement. You're going to have, you know those kind of rocky moments, butthe reason why we work is because we have such a deep respect for oneanother and what each of us brings and just really who we are as people, andso we go through our moments, but wealways come out of it stronger just because of the lot that we have for oneanother. We have to say looking at you guys and the personalities couldn't bemore different from each other, like literally just could not like. If I wascasting a show, I couldn't cast more different people, but the sound youhave is such a unified front creatively. How do you work towards combiningeveryone's unique personality with a cohesive product? You know what it is when I'm writingthe songs. It is really I hear them in my head, so I know exactlyhow to kind of marry the voices and marry the personalities into a a structuredsong or structured situation just based...

...on my knowledge of them and what theirvocal styling are the tone of their voice, and things like that. So I justknow how to place it in a way that is going to conically be pleasing for thelistener. Well and in the group you know,everybody gets a highlight, there's really no room for ego and that's whatI really love about your group is that everybody's a star but nobody's a star,do you know what I mean it as the group I'm together? That really tells it butexplain the name to me. So it has Roman numerals. You know yeah our IV, verseyeah, verse. That's not a word. We often saying with Hollywood verse, but so explain to me the structure of thename reverse so so initially reverse. We spelt it. The regular likedictionary, spelling or Eer, and that spoke to the it speaks to the kind ofagain Sonica lly. What reverse brings were very much fans of music from past eras, particularly the s and early andd. So we tars to me is like Judy Garland in like s and s here, you aretake, oh, the old, the old days. My please I mean it's th right, so we definitelytake those kind of elements. I particularly with the both arrangements,the harmonies, what the the groups like desne's child or the back, see boys insink, Drew Hill. There's there's a lot of groups that I used to study where their vocal arrangements, theirharmonies, really were a stand out. So we will take up some of those elementsfrom past eras and apply to what we do today. So you always feel it's kind ofnostalgia when you listen to reverse, so is like going to reverse andgrabbing those elements right, but we had broken up in two thousand andsixteen for about a year and once we decided to come back together, we wentthrough a full rerent, and so a part of that was the name as well, andmanagement and different people that we used to work with would always tell uswhat makes a group special is the four of us. So we wanted to highlight thatso we swapped out the E and put in an eye, and then we became reverse. I Ilove that so much, but let's go back and let's fill the tea a little bit.You know we always talk about. You know everybody's best put forward, but wealso should learn from each other's obstacles. So when you say that youguys broke up for a year, what was the decision to break up? How was that year separate and then howdid you guys kind of come back together yeah? So we had broken up really. Itwas a result of. We were working with management and once reverse the group decided that wewanted to go for it all we really were going to. We were goingto uproot and move to la like we were going for for goes yeah. He with youguys it's going to happen. Trust is onhapenny situation. Is You know, but yes, so we ended up sorry well, when wedecided to make those those choices were making some big decisions toreally kind of Maximi situation. The people that we were working with, wefeel that they got a little bit fearful, and so they started to project their own fears and insecurities on tous and a lot of the things that the reasons why they came into thefirst place. Are they loved the the fact that we were this unconventionaltype of pop arm B group? They love the image you loved everything about it,but then that changed once the fear set it, and so they started to kind of pickof a different members and just kind of like there was a breakingdown of the of the trust and the vision and things like that and a lot of those when people are in your ear and tellingyou that you're not good enough or that this person should not be in the groupor this person is a star and this it starts to mess with your head, and Istarted to really mess with the foundation that that is reversed. Thefour of us and we started to like...

...not trust each other as much and so long story short. It just really brokedown our foundation and it became so tatic to the point where we all four ofus needed a separation to just not be in that energy anymore and so yeah long. There Short, we decided thatwe were going to split, and in the year that we were broken up myself andCadesia, one of the other band mates that members we decided to kee continueworking together, and so we started working in another group and yeah that we just wanted to keep going.We wanted to keep working and we did that, but then at different points intime my roe would call and be like. Are we sure that we're broken up? I thinkwe're going to get back together and I've been like. We've already started, a new projectand she'd be like it's not over mark my words and I was like okay as she wasright, but yeah at different points. In time we had all kind of contacted eachother, just kind of like really were like. Is this really over and so towards the end of the year? I believeit was. I really it sounds Corny, but I had likethis epiphany like I was with a friend of mine and they wereplaying the out the black to meet. You album verses first album, and I wasjust like laying on a bed and just kind of like chilling out, and the Sun wasbeaming in my eyes and this the music was playing. I was like this is so good.I have to put this group bout together.We have unfinished business, and so it was this puzzle piece type of situationwhere I had to let the guy that we were working with in the other group knowthat we were going to stop. I had to talk to Cadesia find out if she waswilling to leave the group that we just puttogether and go back to reverse. I had to them talk to Zachar and see if theywere still ready and willing to come back to reverse. It was a a complicatedsituation, but here we are in two thousand and twenty one and yeah it.Needless to say, it worked out. Well I'm glad you shared that, because youknow sometimes even in our relationships, even our familyrelationships. Sometimes we do have to stick, take a step back kind of refreshand come to it confident. You know you guys put on a good show like watchingyour music videos is so fun, but there's also this intimacy that youcan't fake that kind of confidence. You can't fake that chemistry because it'sgoing to come through, so you guys were not feeling it. Then you weren'tfeeling it yea and the fact that you waited for it to be right. I mean you,can the chemistry is just palpable and it's just infectious and it's so greatto see. So I'm kind of I'm really glad that you share that kind of challenge,because you know artists go through these kinds of ups and downs and it'simportant to take a break and not just do something, because you think thatyou should, but until it feels right. So I want to know you made a really bold move by comingout as HIV positive. I can't explain it. Why are gay men still so afraid to talkabout HIV and eight like it's in our community? What? What? What's? What'sthe issue yeah? I can only speak based on on myexperience, maybe maybe kind of like what my journey has beenin that space. I feel like it's just based on the knowledge that wereceived early on when, when H, Ivas came into the picture kind of on that big news scale, it was just it wasloaded with a lot of darkness and fear like peoplewere dying and there was there's just a a an idea of destruction like your life will be over.Like you are over, your life is over. You will lose your life like the so soI feel like the reason why people are hesitant or fearful of speaking aboutit is because you don't want to be associated with something that'sconnected to the idea of some of the darkest things right. You don't want tohave that that heaviness placed on you...

...and there's there's an idea that comeswith that, because it's connected to set. I think it's such a deep rooted issue.There's religion involved, there's People's ideologies, there's so much, there's so much heaviness in thatconversation and the idea that you are dirty or you are just just broken when it comes tospeaking about HIV AIDS, and so I can understand why there is that fear,there's that stigma, but it's one of those things. I know for me personally when I receive my diagnosis inSeptember, Fourteenth of two thousand and twenty. My initial default was all of thethings that that people who are not educated about H. I was that guy aswell. I was very fearful I literally was like my life is over and I feltvery much like who I was at that time. I died like the man that I was September, Fourteenth Sorry September,Thirteenth, two thousand and twenty is a very different person than the onethat receives a diagnosis on the fourteenth and it wasn't. It was onlybecause of the interactions that I received literally within the week ofreceiving my diagnosis. That really immediately shifted my frame of mindand my viewpoint and on this situation and really just kindof like beginning the actual steps on educating myself about what is thisthing? That's now in my life, I realize that it is very much not what I grew up,believing which I'm very grateful and thankful,for you know, there's a whole younger generation that obviously was notaround for the AIDS epidemic and coved, obviously, is not on the same scale,but we saw people around US getting sick. We saw people around US dine. Wesaw a misinformation from the government, we saw so many. You know fake facts outthere and it kind of was a remembrance of where our community hascome from. You know, and it's about education andit's about communication, and I think the more representation we see on showslike pose we're. Seeing some of these stories being told in a conversationalway and people should be having this conversation. You know the younger generation thinks.Oh, why can just pop a pill and then it's fine. You know, there's there'smany aspects to Beni HIV positive. Now you kind of had a duel coming outbecause you came out as a gay man and then you had to come out as HIVpositive. So you kind of look a double coming out. What was coming out thesecond time like to your family, Oh wow, so so so my I don't think myfamily knows I mean there's been a low s, some press about it, but so so goingback to when I came out at fourteen when I let my family know that I wasgay. Most of my family basically abandoned me. I I am not in communication with reallyanybody in my family other than my mother and at one point even my mother,I wasn't speaking with, but it was only what was it like last year that Ireally started to be in communication with my mother again and there's justcertain things. My peace and my joy are. I hold those in very highregard and unfortunately, my my mother's very she's, very religiousshe's, very much about her religious journey, and so I choose to in order for me to have a relationshipwith my mom and has to come with certain boundaries, and so I don't speak to my mom about my personallife, a side as that sounds, but I do want my mom to be in my life in someway, shape or form. I know that she wants to me in her life, and so we kindof keep it out a certain surface level.

She knows that I love her with all myheart and I know that she loves me, but it has to be that way, and so my momdoesn't really know about about these things, yeah just that that must behard because you're having so much success with the group and you'reputting a message out there and you be in a role model for so many differentpeople out there. So it must be really difficult that you can't share thatwith your own family. You know what it's so funny. In all honesty, it's notthat difficult any more and again, simply because my joy in my peace are they are. They sit very high on my list on mypriorities, so that is more important to me, myhappiness and being yeah, like I said, being at being atpeace with my life and with myself and with WHO I am, and I souse to surroundmyself with those who who love and respect me for for all of WHO. I am Gay, H, positive black,dark skin this that, like all of that stuff like fatly, that actually be inmy life, it has to be all of that, and so my chosen family are that and theyall know- and I'm I'm content with that. I love that message because it reallyis putting importance on you and your life and what you're doing above therest- and you know rupas as at you know, if you don't like yourself, how can youlove anybody else, and I got to come in up here yeah, except for season thirteen, but wewon't talk about it, but it's really a great message at thatyou're sending out. I want to talk about what are some of the realities ofdating as an HIV positive man, like you, said your life has totally changed. Howhas that affected your dating life? Well, I am with a partner of two years, so I'm not necessarily dating around,but the beautiful thing is. He was thefirst person that I told so him and I are in open relationship, and so whereyou rob, I mean I mean to be honest with you. Imean it's open, but not really like. We are very much we're, basically monogamous, but weanyway that's a whole other conversation, but war episode to exactly when I had had received my dino.He was the first person that I called and his first response to me. I actuallysaid to him: Are you going to leave me in tears in a Toronto subway station?He was like absolutely not absolutely not. He was like I love you. He siplescome to me now, so I went over to it to his place and and saw him, and he justembraced me, and he saw that I was distraught and I was in terse, likeyou're beautiful. I love you, nothing chane nothing's, going to change we'regoing to get through this together, so he was really the first kind of angelin my life, a gym that really shifted. My energy, like I, was still very muchgoing through the process of the grieving of what this situation was.However, with him it was a light Bob. I was Ohwait a minute, I'm going to be okay, you know. So it was a beautiful thing.Your Life is like like a lifetime movie like fiance, is going to play you andlike the movie version like with the Toronto subway and like the phone call,I just say it all. She's gonna have like a single about it. All right so tell me about the latest:Release Poison Ivy. You have said that the album is all about truth. What doesthat mean? So reverse his first album glad me totwo point: O available Potii and all streaming platforms. The first album was very like it was.It was our isus discovering ourselves and we knew that what we wanted to docoming out. The gate was to have a good time, so the music was very field, isvery feel good and has a very kind of like nine tes pop. In some cases, alittle bit of a bubble gum feel so we was very fresh abubble gum, kids, yeahhaving a great time and and that album...

...was really actually recorded in twenty,we started the proces in two thousand and twelve. We really see album twothousand and fourteen so poison. It was released just at the endof of last year, literally December thirty, first two thousand and twentywe release at album. So was many many years in between so in terms of poison. I P. Now the the journey of that album is verymuch right. We decided to really take another approach with this albumthrough all those years. There was so much that we had gone through bothindividually and as a group, and once we got back together, it was a big girl,like we're grown like it it's time for us to talk about some real things wewere. We were ready to just be open and vulnerable and justkind of like put ourselves fully into the music. So when we talk about poison,not e being an album of truth, it literally is our stories, my story, thestories of zacken Ro that we we would discuss when we would be on the roadgoing to a show or or anything where we were together. We would always betalking. We always talk about what each other is going through, and so I wouldjust like grab on to certain little tidbits and say I'm going to put thatin a son, I'm going to write her story in this song, where I'm going to createthe story around his story and that's pretty much what it is. So it'sliterally our truth in the songs walk way through a rehearsal night likeyou guys, are getting together. Is it like coffee and donuts? First, you getin a circle and like light a candle like it. What to rehearsal likerehearsals, okay, we! So you should all talk to you about the rehearses thatwe're doing right now, because we have a virtual concert: The poison, Ivivirtual concert, that's going to be Premier Ing, May Twenty Nine Twothousand and twenty one we are so expended about. It were rehearsalsright now, and so basically, I usually get a ride from Zagat comesand picks me up in his MW. We drive up to the rehearsal, okay, fancy he fade and is Yahhoo he'll pick me upwill be, will be listen to like tons of like S. tunes are like music. Thatreally gets six excited. Like the last rehearsal. We were leasing to likeBritany and then sink and back our boys and eternal, and we were like justhaving a great time, and so we drive to rehearsal and get emp from listening tomusic, that we love and then we go up there and we just get right to work.Let we start get our work out and our stretching and everything like that,our warm up and dancers will come in well, say: Hi, we'll have a littleKeekee Kiki game and then the Wehr, the Cora, comes in an we get right to worklike we just start sweating from within the first hour of rehearsal, so whokind of has to be the bad copy? Somebody's not hitting their notes, ifsomebody's just not giving it like? Is that your that kind of has to be likeokay? You know what that used to be. That used to be mostly me because reverse in our early years, it was verymuch just the four of us, like we've been so blessed now to have a lot ofpeople who really believe in the project who have come on board and,like really are like, I believe in this I'm going to invest my time, an energyand my talents into building this and making it as great as it can, but verymuch in the beginning. I was Caroga hing all the routines. I and just kindof really pour heading this shit and, as we went on throughout the years,like other reverse members would start tolike take a bit of more of a role when it comes to your question there. Socadesia is one who would really kind of come in and clean up the routine atonce. I create the routine next for her, so she be the ones that actuallycleaned a mature hat everybody's doing what they need to do. Nowadays we havea fantastic croden black load, who has worked with some of the biggest namesout there. Who's been really the one to do that for us, but even with that reverse still we were such perfectionat so pens will still come in and do the cleanups with the chorography, whenRo will definitely make notes on vocal. So if we're singing and she'll tell youbasically, our breathing properly maybe...

...place your voice here, and so we tried in here and there to reallymake sure that all of us our own point now, what do you want people to walkaway from listening to Poison Ivy? What do you want them to walk away with themost? We want people to walk away with, afterlistening to Poison Ivy. Knowing that again, your truth andauthenticity are your greatest weapons like those are super powers, if you canjust be willing to be vulnerable and open and share your truth, that iswhere you will be able to make the deepest and most profound connectionswith other human beings. So we really want people to take to take strength inknowing that your truth, your individual truth, whatever that may be,are your greatest assets. I have to tell you know I wrote thearticle from Metropol, and the first word that sprang to me was a super hero,just funny that you say your super power because I was like these aremodern day. Superhero s like this is one power and it was like it was like.I love writing the article because it was just so fun. You know you just haveto press play in one of your music videos and whoever you are you're justsold in the first seconds of listening I and now obviously yeah. I just reallyreally quick that article was beautiful, like it literally had US tearing uplike we sometimes go back and read reread the art that one in particularjust to kind of here your perspective on the situation. Itwas very encouraging and thank you so much for that wonderful article. Well,it was it was an honor to get to know you guys better and you know and chatwith you. So how is dis the person most different from dion camera honestly and what you say is what you an I'm thesame. That's one thing that that reverse we talk about off door or a lotof our fans will will make comments about that. Like they'll,see us on our reverse react series on you, tube or they'll, see us on our instar stories or the C S in verycandid rehearsal. Videos, and the like, you guys, are the same you're sayingthe same when you're on the couch doing the those Outov you're the same as whenwe see you when those behind the scenes, videos, when you guys are working likewe very much are just ourselves. We are a lot, we can be a lot, and Iknow that I'm a lot and it's like me times times for so it's very much whowe are we just we just are ourselves really all the time. Youknow- and I said it before you know it's a chemistry and there's anintimacy there, even though you guys are putting on a big show, there's anintimacy that you, you just can't fake that, and so I'm not surprised to hearthat. Okay, this one's for social media. What is your PRIG message this year toyour fans? What is our pride message this year toour fans go out in the world and be unapologetically and fearlessly you?Because there is nobody else in this world that is, that is you. You areunique. You are beautiful. You are Brither, you are valued, you are lovedand all of who you are is necessary neededin this world. I I love your message. I love yourenergy. I just love you guys you can't get to La sooner like we are going tohang out, I'm going to be front. Row Clapping friend, said gonna happen. I promiseyou all right, tell our audience where you want them to find you and followyou. You can find reverse on all social media platforms at reverse, live R. I vE R S E lie. Oh Got A. I love it. I love it. Thank you so much for chattingwith me today. I could talk to you for hours and we're going to do that openrelationship as like a follow up part. Let's do it, I'm here, I'm open. Thank you. Thank you. So much that hasbeen my chat with this from reverse. You can read my in depth interview withthe whole group at Metro, Sporco and...

...that's our episode in your host leadrider for metro stars, Alexandra Rodrigez. You can follow me on Instarat Alexander's on air on until next time stay true, and do you boo that has been another match of horse.Many like share subscribed on your favorite podcast player and check outthe latest issue of Metrofon magazine on new stands or online at Nutso.Follow us on face book, Instar, that's a source and on twittered that's ahorse that until next time as a.

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