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Tampa-based Femcee (female emcee) Diana Hardy is better known as “Dynasty the DreamPusher,” or Dynasty for short. She got the name, Dynasty, from her god brother around the age of 15 when living in New York. It applied to her personal journey, because she knew early on that she wanted to be a leader in the industry. Hardy later adopted the “DreamPusher” portion of her title after realizing she wanted to help others achieve their goals and dreams. An emcee since the age of 12, the last five years have been an experience, as she dedicated herself fully to a career that has allowed her to share the stage with artists such as Erykah Badu, The Wu-Tang Clan, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and more.

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Where did your style come from? Would you compare yourself to anyone else in the industry?

I call my style “Hip Hop Soul,” because it makes you feel something. It’s real. I can give you love songs and then some straight emcee joints. I think my musical tribe would include the likes of J Cole, Lauryn Hill, Talib Kweli, Jill Scott, Common, Erykah Badu and so on. 

Let’s talk about your music. How many releases have you had?

I’ve released three projects. My first was a mixtape called Dreampusher. The second was an EP called The Love EP. Lastly, I released an album through a German-based record label, Jakarta Records. That one was called A Star in Life’s Clothing. I’m planning to release my next project early 2016. I’m really excited to put out some new music. 

You’re from New York; is music what brought you to Tampa, or is this something that happened once you got here?

Yes, I’m from Queens, New York City. I visited Tampa with a friend one winter and fell in love with the weather. I went home, packed my stuff and moved two months later. The crazy part is that I’m from the big City of Dreams, but everything really started happening for me once I moved to Tampa, because I was able to stand out.

How do you feel about supporting and influencing the community? Do you get involved in your local community and/or mentor others?

I think it is very important to support your community. I have a program called The PUSH Project, which aims to empower and educate the youth via music and the performing arts. I frequently visit schools and other organizations that serve the youth, performing and speaking. I think that it is critical for people who have grown up and experienced success to reach back to those who are coming up behind us—to show them what the possibilities are. 

While we’re talking about location, where have you toured?

I have toured all throughout Europe. I’ve been to cities throughout France, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Portugal, Romania and many more. I was actually scheduled to ring in the New Year on an Air Force Base in Turkey, but unfortunately I had to cancel that due to current security risks. Naturally, I was pretty down about that… but safety comes first. Hopefully we can reschedule in the near future. 

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What challenges have you faced as a woman in a male-dominated industry?

What I’ve found is that I am sometimes overlooked, because I make music with substance. I don’t compromise myself to get “put on,” and I am not selling sex. Don’t get me wrong, many well-connected people give me “props,” but few make moves, because I don’t fit the commercial mold that they’re used to. I’m okay with that, though. Staying authentic has led me to develop a true fan base, who really rocks with me and I’ve had some priceless experiences. 

What do you feel is most important for independent artists in finding success?

Quality products—music, videos, merchandise, etc.—and genuinely connecting with your fan base a.k.a. your support system.

What do you feel about the current mainstream? Why do you feel it is important to be lyrical, and is there anyone that you aspire to be like (or that influences your style)? 

The current mainstream confuses me. Haha. It’s hard for me to understand how so many people who sound exactly the same are being played on the radio over and over again. But, money talks. There are a select few true artists who are receiving mainstream recognition, and I think that is really “dope.” But when I hear people who I can barely understand, people who sound very odd without Autotune. It blows my mind that this is what the current commercial sound is!

Lyricism is still alive and well, though! It’s important because somebody has to say something that actually means something. It doesn’t even have to be “deep” just say something “dope” and if you happen to move someone in the process, even better.

What is your ultimate goal in life and through the music?

My ultimate goal in life is to remain happy and healthy, while continuing to tour the world and connecting with as many people as possible. I am the DreamPusher. As long as I am able to get out, perform and touch someone in the process, I will be living my dream. 

Do you have any advice for any newbies in the industry? 

Know why you do what you do, because that is what is going to keep you going on the days when you feel like giving up. Stay authentic, and make music that you love. 

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Jessica N. Abraham-Hogan is the owner of Shorty Produkshins in Orlando, Florida, and specializes in Social Branding and Public Relations for both the Professional Services Industry and Entertainment Business. Over the last 13 years, she has worked with many publications and has created branded content for multiple organizations, Globally. BrandSocial.me