From releasing her debut single in 2020 to creating the soundtrack of a social media moment, Dréya Mac has quickly found her place in the expansive UK rap scene.

In her cover story for GAY TIMES, Dréya discusses her career so far, creating a viral hit and speaking her success into existence.

Following the popularity of her song Own Brand Freestyle featuring FelixThe1st and the release of debut EP Twenty One, Dréya’s reaching new heights with her sights set on world domination.

“It’s been very ‘go go go’ and it’s quite overwhelming, but it’s everything I’ve ever manifested. I haven’t actually had time to stop and appreciate what I’ve done, I just keep on going,” she says.

It’s not easy being a Black woman in a male-dominated, heteronormative genre of music. Yet, Dréya’s found her way and she’s forging her own path.

“As someone from where I come from, who looks like me and has my identity, it’s difficult to have self confidence,” she explains.

“We’re told that we shouldn’t be confident and we’re put down for simply being. So, I definitely try to inspire people to be themselves wholeheartedly through my music.

“It helps me too, when I write a lyric into a song, it’s permanent so speaking my confidence into existence is like therapy.”

Clearly, her voice is having an impact, as the rising star has over 1.5 million followers on TikTok. The rapper, singer, choreographer and director is known for immersing herself in the process of creating her art.

“I like to be involved in the entire process because they’re my songs, it’s my video and I’m privileged enough to know how to choreograph and direct,” she says. “In the editing process, I’m there until 3am, during grading I’m in the studio.

“It’s annoying, I know, and the team are probably like ‘can she get out?’ but I really care so I want to be involved at every step.”

The multi-hyphenate found it challenging at times to reconcile all of her talents: “I think before that EP people didn’t know I could sing and it used to irritate me so I wanted to showcase that I could.”

Yet, there’s an unwavering confidence in the content of her art: “I realised quite late after I started music that saying ‘her’ and ‘she’ and talking about my girl in my songs whilst being a woman made an impact.

“Me doing this is actually giving my community songs they can sing along and relate to because yeah, we can sing along to men talking about women, but we still can’t relate.

“It’s a big deal because we’ve just not had this representation before. I’m really an accidental activist.”

Dréya acknowledges that she wouldn’t be where she is without the backing of her fans.

“My supporters pretty much make me,” she says. “I don’t do stuff for them, but I release music about myself, for them. They stream my songs and make me feel good about myself so I want to do the same thing for them.”

The artist is only getting started at showing the world what she’s capable of: “In the next year expect an incredible project, as well as singles in the lead up. I’m feeding it all in slowly, working my way up.”

The brand new issue of GAY TIMES also features interviews with Bros star Ts Madison, Queerpiphany’s chaotic duo Munroe Bergdorf and Tayce, as well as features on the wonderful world of the UK ballroom scene and a British history of Black queer spaces over the past few decades.

You can read our full interview with Dréya Mac from 16 September via the GAY TIMES app, Apple News+, Readly, and Flipster.