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The Cut’s winning duo Desta and Ramii define the perfect partnership

“I thank God they paired me with her, cause it brought out the best for the both of us,” said Ramii, producer and Cleveland native who just won Red Bull’s The Cut

His partner on the show? Singer/songwriter and Oakland native Desta Dawn. 

“I completely agree. I’m really grateful that I was paired with Ramii…” 


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Tune In Tomorrow To See The First Episode of #RedBullTheCut, Hosted By Me Sneak Peak Here 🤐 @RedBullMusic

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The originality behind The Cut comes from its pairing of two total strangers together, one producer and one singer/songwriter. Together,  they have just ten hours to come up with a track. Once finished, alongside host and hit-making producer OG Parker, the contestants vote on whose track they thought was best. 

Red Bull
Photo Cred: Maria Jose Govea/Red Bull Content Pool | From left to right: Desta Dawn, OG Parker, Ramii

Desta and Ramii emerged victorious, as two talented artists that perfectly accentuated each other’s styles and challenged each other to make the best songs possible. Simply put, they were a perfect combination. 

Still, neither Ramii and Desta were planning on appearing on TV, especially a competition show. They were home chilling, working on their craft when, eventually, the opportunity presented itself.

Appearances on The Cut

At first, when Ramii kept getting emails about the show, he thought it was spam. It was ignore, ignore… until Ramii would get a phone call, breaking down the show and what would be needed from him.

“And I’m like ‘yeah I ain’t doing no TV show, like, I’m good,’” said Ramii bluntly. 


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But he submitted and sent in a video of himself to the show’s producers. They quickly admitted him onto the show.  “And again I was like ‘Nah, I’m good, I’m not doing it. I’m not tryna be on TV for music.’” 

He would go on to tell his friends about it and they encouraged him to accept the opportunity. 

“I had this studio store in West Hollywood and I was really making music for like 10-12 hours a day for like two years straight. I never went this hard in my life.Ramii was working hard to perfect his craft, he was gearing up to create something special.

He didn’t expect to get an opportunity to go on TV. “I was just like ‘if imma do this competition, I gotta win it… I’m glad I did it though, it was a great time, great experience.” 

“It was so much fun,” Desta added.

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Cash Money Records taking over for the ‘99 & the 2000 #BallerBlockin

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For Desta, she ended up on The Cut because of a relationship she was in at the time.

One night, she was at the dinner table, and the guy she was with let her know that he got an email and saw a link that Red Bull was looking for new artists. Artists, specifically in R&B, and so he sent them her Soundcloud. “I hope that’s cool,” he said.

Desta did not think much of it, nonchalantly responding “okay,” before moving on to the next topic of discussion. Then, she got an email, asking for more music, for a video of herself.

“I was asking homeboy ‘What is this for?’ And he was like ‘I don’t know.’” 

The day after her birthday, Desta got a call. The call was from Red Bull, saying they wanted her on the show.

At first, she celebrated. Then, she took a second to think, “wait, what am I gonna be on?”


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Tried to type out a really long and meaningful caption about how my life has completely changed this past year, but it was way too much pressure and i started to feel myself getting frustrated. And then I was like, wait bruh, this is fucking Instagram, you don’t even OWN Instagram why tf do you care so much stop it. So instead I’ll just leave you with this. If you’re currently in a really good and happy place, fuck yeah! If you’re not, that’s ok you can always change that. It’s YOUR life. You’re not here to impress other people. Because I mean, how fucking exhausting am I right? Anyways, here’s me with #RedBullSongs at their #Summit2019 this past summer. Thought it made sense for me to post a pic of me singing and something related to @redbullmusic since I literally have a shit ton of exciting news to announce with them soon-ish.

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“So I agreed to it halfway, not even fully knowing what it was.” Both Ramii and Desta stumbled upon The Cut, and it turned out to be a more glorious experience than either of them could have expected. 

As Ramii put it, “It was one of the best times of my life.”

Before The Cut

Desta grew up in Oakland in an Ethiopian household and coming up, some of the first music she’d hear would be just that, Ethiopian. It was her older sisters that put her on to R&B, Neo-soul, and the more American genres she listens to now.

“Singing, I just have always been doing it. My parents constantly tell me they have videos of me singing in my crib, before I could talk, but just humming something,” Desta told me.

As far as Oakland’s influence, it’s too simple to boil down to just a metaphorical reference in her music. In some way or another, it affects everything about her. 

“People from the Bay Area, specifically Oakland, we have so many different kinds of personalities. But anywhere we go, you can tell we have something different about us.”

Ramii similarly was immersed in his culture through music; in this case, Arabic tracks. But Ramii, a younger sibling like Desta, learned of the early 90s hip hop sounds from his older brothers. There was Tupac, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, his favorite. 

“I like how different it was, how melodic it was. And they’re from Cleveland, my hometown, so I resonated with it the most.” 


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blessed to be able to do what i love for a living

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The melodic tones and chord-driven tracks within rap and hip-hop let Ramii know these genres didn’t have to exclude a hot tune in the background. One could sing or rap hard lyrics over the top of a songful melody.

“I just make whatever feels good to me.”

Ramii and Desta’s Collaboration 

“At first I was like ‘they paired me with an R&B singer, I guess I gotta make some R&B music,’” said Ramii amidst Desta’s evocative chuckles. 

“And I hadn’t made R&B in a long time. I was making a lot of rap music; I was like ‘why would they pair me with an R&B singer?’ That’s what I was thinking to myself.”

Red Bull Content Pool
Photo Cred: Maria Jose Govea/Red Bull Content Pool

But once Ramii started working with Desta, discussing avenues to go down, getting to know her, listening to their work’s early stages, he realized he excelled in R&B.

“If I would have worked on a rap song, it probably wouldn’t have brought out the musicality I can bring to the table,” said Ramii.

“I was super happy that Ramii was open to doing a genre that I’m very comfortable singing in, and also, he’s so much more than just a beat-maker. Even though I wrote the song, he helped me arrange it, and he would be so honest with me if I sang something off-key,” added Desta.

The work of a producer, Desta noted, was nearly all-encompassing. A role that Ramii understands well.

“Producing a song isn’t just making a beat. It’s helping the artist find the vocals, find what the best takes are. It kinda brought out all the skills that I have. So, I was really happy to work with her,” said Ramii.

Ramii and Desta both noted how all of the pairings on the show were well done; everyone’s vibe matched the other’s. This led to an inspiring work environment and ultimately some exceptional completed tracks.

Make You Mine

On Desta and Ramii’s first track, they channeled energy inspired by female empowerment. As Desta said, she didn’t just want to write another love song. 

“I just felt like there was not enough focus on women being content with themselves first,” said Desta, and that was the impetus for the first song.

For the second, and final, song, Desta dove into the songwriting with a different thought in mind.

“For R&B dudes, it’s always the guy going after the girl, and it was so okay for dudes to be so sexual with their lyrics, to say what they want. And you never really saw it with women artists.”

She expressed how women should feel the freedom to approach a guy if they feel so inclined, to offer a man a drink without the stigma that they are being too aggressive or are shunning the role of “play hard to get.”

“If you’re hella confident within yourself, and if you don’t have expectations of it, then there’s no harm in approaching a guy and buying him a drink first,” said Desta.


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“Ooh, I like that,” Ramii quickly quipped. The quick-witted response was accompanied by deep chuckles from Desta. And over the phone, it was easy to hear how the two got along so well. 

“You feel me?? I wanted it to be fun and feel sexy and have people listening to it like ‘yeah I can do that.’” 

Ramii thought it was important as a producer to still bring his own vibe, but also largely cater to what the artist needs. They’re the one who’s going to perform. They’re the one who really has to draw an emotional connection with the material. 

Plans moving forward

Desta and Ramii are both in quarantine, working with Red Bull Music and by themselves to push out their next project. Ramii just released “Midnight Children” and is working on a larger “uplifting and inspirational” project. On advice he’d give to aspiring producers? 

“Love is what drives your creativity, and your inspiration, and your passion. I think when you love something enough, great things come from it,” said Rami. “Keep falling in love with music.”

Desta plans to release a project towards the end of this year. 

“Creating music, you have to be in love with it. Whenever I feel like I’m forcing myself, if I’m not fully into it, then it’s not organic and it’s not good. I never want to create in a space where money’s on my mind,” said Desta.

“I never want to create where it’s not coming from a real place.” 

Going into The Cut with no real expectations allowed Desta and Ramii to have an incredible experience that they will carry with them forever. Their unique partnership yielded beautiful sounds and eye-opening epiphanies of all the things they can do, and do together. 

“I was telling Desta like ‘you know we’re gonna win this right?’ like from the jump,” said  Ramii. Desta would respond “Ramii stop saying that, stop saying that.” 

“I didn’t say that on some arrogant stuff either, it was just confidence.”

Tune in here to check out the music from the rest of the artists who were in the singer-songwriter competition.