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Going to Braam is complicated for me. I have so many horrible memories of that terrible section of town. So much so, I refuse to go there unless it is absolutely necessary… But this time, while walking in the streets of Braam, something felt different… A little off, even. Yes, I didn’t like being there but that was mostly down to personal reasons. I used to remember Braamfontein as this vibrant little hub in town. Brimming with students going to and fro from school and young creatives exploring career opportunities. Now, the streets were barren. Void of the energy and beauty I used to enjoy about the place.

I arrived outside the location at Juta street and Debra Nist appeared around the corner. I noticed her by her blonde hair and her trousers, which were a vibrant shade of light green. I know this will sound cliche, but I don’t care… Seeing her was like seeing a personification of everything I had missed and loved about the city. We exchanged pleasantries and proceed to the venue. She directed me to a small, tucked-away seating area and it felt like a little safe haven. The kind of spot you wouldn’t know about unless you know about it. As with any artist who conducts an interview, she was slightly nervous. “I was surprised when you guys hit me up” she said. However, with the calibre of work she has created in her career, she shouldn’t be.


Please describe the day you discovered your voice and the day you fell in love with your voice?

I discovered my voice when I was around 12 years old during Sunday School. That’s where I developed my voice and fell in love with singing. I started to pursue a career in music when I moved from my hometown of Aliwal North in Eastern Cape to Johannesburg in 2016. A lot of different producers reached out to me with beats but none of them were speaking to me and I hadn’t really developed my sound, but thankfully I met North The Jap and we started working…

And how did you settle on the name Debra Nist?

One day I was burning some… And I was really looking into myself. The most important thing for me was to choose a memorable name and I settled on the Hebrew term for Bee… Debra. It was symbolic for me because I see my voice as the honey and the honesty in my music as the sting of the bee. The ‘Nist’ is the initials of my family members and it’s my way of carrying carry them with me wherever I go.

Imagine there are 3 doors in front of you. Each labeled wealth, love, and passion respectively. You can only pick one. Which door would you pick?

Wealth would definitely be the first door that I put aside. Wealth doesn’t make you who you are, it’s what comes with being successful. I think I would choose the door labeled passion. I’m a passionate lover, I’m a passionate musician and I am a passionate learner. Being open to learning is an important part of my life. I have the self-awareness to recognise that there are things I don’t know.


I view music as a connection. Our souls are bound for the rest of our lives, and that connection can’t be built without honesty.

– Debra Nist

Would you always say that you are someone whose life is directed by passion?

I am not the type of person who can do something for the sake of it. I need to do something I feel passionate about otherwise it won’t feed me.

Without asking me to elaborate… What do you believe in and how do you maintain a sense of self?

I could point to a lot of things but I am going to say myself. I draw strength from the experiences I have been through in my life; both good and bad. All of those experiences inspire me to create, and people find healing in my creations. I think that is the reason I am so patient with my career. I understand that my music affects people’s lives. Even when I feel like my career is stagnating, I keep those thoughts at the top of my mind.

How do you stay pure in your passion?

My spirituality and authenticity are what guide me in my journey. My spirituality reminds me to be open to everything that life throws my way and, being the most authentic version of myself in everything that I do ensures I stay true to my passion. That extends to all facets of my life, including who I choose to work with. I am not trying to be someone I am not; I am not trying to tell someone else’s story.

I could point to a lot of things but I am going to say myself. I draw strength from the experiences I have been through in my life; both good and bad.

– Debra Nist

Would “Debranism” be an inaccurate term to describe your belief system?

Yes, it would be an inaccurate term to describe it. “Debranism” is a term I used to use… But not so much anymore. I feel like “Debranism” was me boxing myself into this person that only does things in a certain way. I want people to experience me in the best way they can. Debra Nist is a multi-dimensional brand that encapsulates all of the different facets of my personality.

Please pick which of these two statements describes you better…

My mind is a tug of war between my ideals and my reality’ or ‘my mind is fluid like a river.’

I recently had a psychedelic experience and it revealed the other side of my mind. I found myself in two worlds, but I could only exist in one and that’s how I would describe myself. I am either fully in or fully out. Even in relationships, I fully give myself to the success and well-being of it, even if the other partner may not do the same. To answer your question, the first sentence is closer to who I am. Even though the tug of war between my ideals and my realities exists, I am decisive enough to fully commit to pursuing one of the two. I cannot live in between…

Which Squid Game character best represent you and why?

I think I would be contestant 001. I resonate with him because he delivered on his promise and he left a part of himself in everyone that he came across.


I’m a passionate lover, I’m a passionate musician and I am a passionate learner.

– Debra Nist

A source close to me shed some light on how you create music. Why do you think people love working with you?

I view music as a connection. Our souls are bound for the rest of our lives, and that connection can’t be built without honesty. That is what I bring to the table. A clear level of transparency and honesty.

People use music for different reasons. How do your consume music?

I don’t listen to music as I used to. I used to listen to music to shift my mood into a certain space. Now, I listen to receive inspiration. I look for elements that I can incorporate into my music.

Your caption reads “Lord knows how long I’ve been praying for this moment, with no deal, no sponsor, no management or label”. What moment are you referring to?

The moment of release. I have been meaning to release for such a long time and I was tired of endlessly needing to explain to people why I haven’t released music. The deals that I had at certain points in my career didn’t allow for me to be the most authentic version of myself and I decided it was best to go out on my own, but most of all, I grew tired of people referring to my SoundCloud catalog. I am not that person anymore.


And who are you now?

I’m coming.

When people think of Debra Nist, what do you want them to resonate with about you?

Truth and healing. Even though I have this hard exterior, I want people to resonate with my softer side. I also want people to aspire to be the purest version of themselves. Life will get dark sometimes but you need to stay in the light.

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  1. […] Entrenched hip-hop recording artist Miles just dropped off his new EP today called Think Good Thoughts which comes in with about 7 tracks today with features from the likes of Dooushii, MyKey, IMP THA DON, and Debra Nist. […]

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