Emaza Dilan is a whole vibe, and she brings her contagious lit energy everywhere she goes. If you were a fan of Ceraadi, the sister duo composed of Emaza and her sister Saiyr formerly signed to Roc Nation, then you already know the type of time she’s on: ready to turn up and spread nothing but love and positivity while doing it.
Hailing from Cedar Rapids, Iowa until 4th grade, moving to Long Beach then to Los Angeles: Emaza is a singer, songwriter, rapper, dancer, all-around creative, someone who’s never afraid to be herself and reminds audiences all around the world to do the same. Now branching off into her own solo artistry, Emaza drops off her newest project, E-Mixtape, holding fans over as she rebrands and locks in the studio working on original music.
With her “Still Your Best x Come Through” music video, Emaza showcases her unwavering love for music, paying homage to the greats while displaying her own talents as a vocalist and entertainer. With music being her saving grace, Emaza is a true Capricorn, always working and striving to be the best version of herself any chance she can.
On the 18th episode of Shirley’s Temple, I sat with Emaza Dilan at Matrix Studios in Los Angeles to discuss her relationship with cannabis, recording her E-Mixtape in a day, what happened with Ceraadi and going solo, her mental health & work being her therapy, how supportive her mom is & doing this for her family, wanting to collab w/ BLXST, battling Chance The Rapper at Roc Nation brunch, wanting to act & start a fashion line, her dating life, and more!
What happened a year ago that made you finally smoke?
Good friends of ours helped cater the #GRWM party, shout out to them, but I noticed it’s a big thing. I said “man, don’t be scared. Go ahead and try it!” I realized I work so hard, I need something that’ll either put me to sleep at night or help me eat… because sometimes I forget to eat. People say “Emaza, you getting thick! What you doing?” My regimen is smoking and eating. [laughs]
What is your go-to?
I’m a big chips and salsa girl. I’ll go and get In N Out. I get a double double plain with extra grilled onions only, with a fry and coke.
You said you’re sore earlier, what from?
My friend Neil Dominique, shout out to him, I was at his birthday party. They had a bull ride. I come from the Midwest, that’s stuff they do. I got on, but I was trying to beat everyone’s times so I went on there 10 times. Every single time, I was getting better but the guy was trying to go fast. He said “I’m trying to make you look good.” Oh man! You make me look too good and now I can’t.
First of all, 10 times. Are you competitive?
Girl you’re a Capricorn, you know this. We’re competitive.
Do you bring that same energy in the music?
I just wrote a song a couple days ago, I mention marijuana because it’s a part of my lifestyle. As far as music, I’m grinding. I just dropped my E-Mixtape. If you were to put in all the hours, I finished it in less than a day. I’m on it. Music’s my passion. People think I had this planned… it’s crazy because within the last couple of years, I’d put out E-Mixes singing covers on Instagram.
Those be going up!
Thank you! The “No Guidance” one did pretty well. With that, they said “I want to hear you sing some songs by yourself on a project.” I was going to get to it, but my focus was on the group. Now after the split, I have nothing but time. I figured “well this is what I want to do with my life, I’ma knock out these E-Mixes.” I dropped it, a total of 6 songs. “Still Your Best” by Giveon, “Come Thru” by H.E.R., I needed to give my vibe on the track. Girls need records telling how they feel. The guys are doing it, we need to do it. I dropped my video with that, I’ve been getting nothing but praise and compliments. I’m just grinding.
How fun was it to shoot the music video?
It was great, we got it done so fast. Shout out to my friend Koby who shot it. We did that video in 4 hours. Came up with a treatment, good friend Kirk and Buzz came through with the Mustang 5.0 giving 90’s vibes. It was fun.
You’re independent now?
Yes, I’m independent now. I’m a free man! I can start over, start from the ground up and be Emaza Dilan. I’m really big on that. If I want to come out with something and it’s for myself, I want it to hit hard. I want to go Platinum in a week. I’m able to do that now and I’m getting my team together.
Obviously you were one-half of Ceraadi with your sister, what led to the split?
With the industry and with life, they say there will be people who try to divide and conquer. With that situation, unfortunately it’s happened with both sisters. I wasn’t expecting to talk about this, but I’m tired of the narrative people paint that I’ve kicked them out of the group or my mother is controlling me. What happened between me and my sisters was only between me and my sisters. My mom has sacrificed everything. She’s been the rock, been holding it down! She’s sacrificed so much and even for that narrative of hers going out, I’m disgusted and feel disrespected. I know people have watched us grow up but at the end of the day, we’re all different families. Not every family’s perfect.
People need to allow us to deal with it. It doesn’t help if I’m minding my business and I have my sisters talking about me. I don’t say anything about them but I’m tired of the fake narrative. I love my sisters, I’ll do anything for my sisters. People have told me to go solo. I remember I had made a diss track when I was 16, to someone who’s told me to go solo. Why? Because I said “me and my sisters are going to make it.” With that situation, it hurts but I’m happy I’m on my own because I can depend on myself. I don’t have negative energy. I’m living proof: if I can do it, anybody else can do it. A lot of people are saying “I’m going through the same thing you’re going through,” or “the fact you’re going through that makes me know I can push through my situation.”
You’re the sweetest person too!
People be thinking I’m mean, how? Do I look mean? They say Capricons have a resting bitch face, maybe that’s what it is. I’m pushing through, I’m here. At the end of the day, I wish nothing but the best for them. I wish that certain things wouldn’t happen or people would tell the truth of what’s really going on. My family will always be the ones that ride for each other. I have a 10-year-old baby sister I gotta think about. I have a 17-year-old brother I gotta think about. I have a stepdad who’s helped raise us. It sucks when you have a support system and you want to turn on them, versus the people doing you dirty.
It is what it is. I’m grateful and thankful I have my mom. I’m a mama’s girl till the day I die. My mom was born on the bathroom floor in a third world country in the Philippines, and she was able to get her daughters signed to Roc Nation. That gets me emotional because I love my mom, she’s done everything and anything. [tears up] My mom was abused by my dad, he abused all of us. Was able to get us out of that situation and take care of her daughters in LA. I’ve been in fights, we’ve been robbed. Every step of the way, my mom said “what do you want to do with your life? How can I help you? How are we gonna solve it? I’ma take care of my daughters.”
I’m human, I don’t care if people make fun of me for crying. I’m emotional, this is really raw. I’ma keep it 100 with everybody. Nobody’s perfect, but I’ve never done anything to my sisters and neither has my mom. My mom’s the sweetest person you’ll ever know, everyone knows that too. From the fans to the people in the industry, everyone knows how my mom rides. I hope people will stay tuned with what I got going on because people need to get to know me. I’m Emaza Dilan, I cry and have family problems like anyone else. [laughs]
A huge part of this show is mental health, how do you cope? Do you go to therapy?
People have told me about that and I’ve always been down. I even wanted to take family therapy before any of this stuff happened, but my therapy’s through my work. I’ll pound myself with work work work. It helps me get through certain situations, but I know it’s not the answer. Lately I’ve been dealing with it. When I get high, I’m either lit, funny, or emotional. People think I have no soul, feelings or I didn’t care because I wanted to continue putting out content. This is what I want to do with my life. I’m not going to sit at home and cry in a fetal position every single day, which I’ve been there at times. I can’t do that, me sitting and not being productive is not healthy.
People ask “why are you on the Ceraadi page?” Which there was a verbal agreement about that. My thing is y’all gon’ let that run out in the streets when we had this conversation, so it’s foul. I’ma keep it real, I can’t be fake or a fraud. I had to keep on going so people were getting mad about that. What do you do? Sit, roll over and die? I can’t! That’s what makes me strong. I’ve been through a lot of stuff, so I turned to work. That’s what makes me successful. I want to take care of my mom, my family, make sure they’re living good. It’s tough living in California, the taxes and bills. I’m 23, I have car notes and bills to pay. I can’t be homeless or out of a job. I love to work, it helps me take care of my life.
How much help do you have?
It’s my stepdad, I love my stepdad shout out to Nate, then it’s my mom and myself. My mom’s my manager, she’s answering all of these emails and taking care of her kids at home. When Covid hit, I was so thankful to have work with social media. After this split, everything got lost in translation. How do I support or still work with Emaza or the group? I had to do some extra grinding. I can’t be stopped. When you’re taking money out of my pocket, then we have an issue, but I’ma work harder so I can’t be in that situation anymore. It’s the last time I’ll let somebody F me over, period.
Was it a situation with Roc or something in the industry?
With Roc Nation, they brought in Def Jam to give us a bigger platform and extended team. It was crazy because my sister split right after we signed the contracts. We were about to have a great situation. The industry’s tough, you learn who really messes with you and who doesn’t. You meet people who have been watching you for a long time. When we battled Chance The Rapper at the Roc Nation Brunch, he said “I’ve been waiting all year to battle you.” That’s so dope and crazy.
How’d It feel in that moment?
We came in there to fuck shit up! Like Stepbrothers. I’m the life of the party, I’m the energy. I’ve been consistent. When you go to any party, I am turning up getting lit. That’s me.
How does it feel to be outside?
Girl, I’m living! I’m trying to balance my work and having fun. You only live once, you can’t be too serious or you’ll go crazy. I’m able to let loose and live.
What do you do for self-care?
For me, it’s always about my inner self and my health. I went through a binge. I used to eat Takis a lot. I’ve tried to quit multiple times. I’m a Taki addict, I love spicy foods. I’ve been trying to eat healthy. As far as self-care, I’m making sure I’m taking care of my skin. I’m very insecure of my skin so I’m getting that together. When I drive, even when I’m going to a destination, I’m working on melodies and raps so it’s helping me be creative. Watch movies, be around my family, that’s pretty much it.
Anyone you want to collaborate with?
Being that I was born in Iowa but raised out here in LA, the person I want to collab with is BLXST. I love his music, he’s so talented. If he’s watching this or sees this, I have a record I want you to be on. I’m a big Chris Brown fan, just for the culture. He’s one of my inspirations so I’d love to see that dance combo. I’m very competitive so I’ll give you a run for your money, let’s go! I love Post Malone, he’s fire. Other LA artists, I want to work with Azchike, 1TakeJay, Kalan.FRFR.
What goals do you have for yourself?
I want to dabble in different industries. It’s crazy, my mom just sent me a commercial I had done for Imagine That with Eddie Murphy and Yara Shahidi. I was in that commercial at 9. My good friend Josie, we went to The Tomorrow War premiere. She said “I honestly could see you acting.” I’d love to act. I want to learn how to DJ. Shout out to DJ Hed, he’s a fellow Capricon too. I said “you have to teach me how to DJ.” Even with these playlists on Youtube, I know how to make that stuff flow and work. I be seeing all these cute Instagram models press buttons, that could be me and more!
I want to start my own fashion line because I love clothes. People say I have a nice sense of style. I want to buy a farm, that’s my plan. My family, we already have a garden. We have a zucchini this big. [motions with hands] We have corn, tomatoes, fruits. I eat my fruits and veggies y’all. Some of ya’ll don’t do that, you need to put some green in with your protein.
I’d say asparagus, and some mushrooms.
Do you cook?
I cook a little bit. I’m trying to get into it. I’ve cooked some good dishes before, I love to bake too. I’m trying to get my mom to teach me how to make adobo, a good Filipino dish with chicken and rice. It’s so good. I’m Filipino, shout out Filipino gang. My mom’s Filipino and white, my dad’s black.
What’s up with Emaza’s dating life?
What’s that Lil Wayne song? “Yeah I’m single, yeah I’m single. Had to cancel that bitch like Nino. I ain’t trippin’ on nothing, I’m sipping on something.” I’m focused on me. I might entertain, go on a date or whatever. There’s some cute shorties out there.
You have a crush?
No, not now. You know, there’s people you deal with. I had a situationship, I was all in but my heart got broken. You’ll hear it in the music. That’s dope to pull your life situation into your music because everyone’s going through the same thing at one point. Mary J. Blige and I are born on the same day, I watched some of her documentary. Her My Life album, it’s still realistic and you can connect to it til this day. It’s helped a lot of people so hopefully I can do that with my music too. The messages, you know?
What’re you most excited for next?
I can’t wait, I’m working on my first project. Definitely cutting records, getting in with dope producers and dope writers. That and the success, moving forward vibe. Meeting new people, I’m making more friends now. Figuring out who is who.