Detroit native Deekah Rox is more than a guitarist. She is a guitar instructor, an all-around boss, and the founder of the Cosmic Slop Music Festival, Southeast Michigan’s first Afro and Latino rock festival. With more than 25 years of guitar playing under her belt and a drive to succeed, Rox has truly shown what it means to represent the culture.
Inspired by the music of Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix, she continues to use her gift to uplift others around her. Rox talked us through the things that inspire her the most as she continues to rock out with the Cosmic Slop Music Festival’s 10th anniversary kicking off this Fall 2021.
Tell us a little about your musical background. How old were you when you started playing guitar, and what inspired your passion for music?
I was 13 when I got my first guitar and formed a band called Generic with a few homies of mine. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a performer—singing, acting, and modeling since I was seven or eight years old. It was discovering Nirvana that made me want to write my own songs. My pops introduced me to Jimi Hendrix, and that really made me realize rock and roll was just the blues in leather pants.
What inspires you to wake up every day and continue pursuing your dreams?
My 13-year-old son. He’s watching me, and it’s my job to show him how to live, so I do what makes me happy. I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. Being crazy and clever enough to pursue my dreams is in my blood. I come from Hawaiian ukulele masters and Georgia bootleggers with stubborn Detroit urban farmer/outdoorsman roots. We do what fulfills us, and we make sure everybody gets enough to eat. Somehow, it all works out.
Take us through your songwriting process. What types of environments do you feel you need in order to be your most creative?
Songwriting happens in a few different ways for me. However, it ends up coming together and is definitely driven by the melody. I can usually hear the melody in my head even before the lyrics are written, in which case, I’ll end up playing the chords over and over again until I can make it make sense to me.
In order to be my MOST creative, I just need a little solitude, a few light snacks, and a pot of strong coffee.
What guitars are you playing right now?
Right now, my favorite guitar to play is my 2009 silver sparkle-fleck Ibanez ART100. I love to play with pickup textures and sounds, so I had my tech install Seymour Duncan Hot Rodded Humbuckers (SH-4 JB on the bridge and SH-2n Jazz on the neck). This guitar is rosewood, so it gives me a beefy and warm sound, which I absolutely love.
My other favorite is my vintage Fernandes Strat, which, if you remember, was part of the Fender lawsuits in the late ’70s-’80s. I was gifted this guitar by a friend after my initial model was stolen. It mostly has original parts, but it is a workhorse!
If I’m playing guitar in bed, which is often, then it’s my 7/8-scale Washburn Mini Dreadnought acoustic.
Finish this sentence: I believe music…
Is the voice of God. We should all take time to be still and listen.