Dusjni Interview: 15-year-old producer-engineer’s talent is far beyond his years

When you think of the most successful albums of 2022 so far — in regards to pop, hip-hop or R&B — you’d likely conjure up images of Kendrick Lamar, Future or Gunna’s latest records. Aside from topping charts and containing top-notch features, there is a commonality that all these albums share.

Detroit-based producer, engineer and composer Dusjni, who also goes by Mari casually, has seen himself ascend to stratospheric heights at just 15-years-old. As a man of mystery touting top-tier credits on his résumé, Mari has worked with many of R&B’s finest artists in Summer Walker, Ella Mai, Chris Brown, Jeremih and more — not to mention his work on I NEVER LIKED YOU and Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.

“I prefer R&B (to rap). It’s more subtle, it’s what I like, it’s what I can do.”

Dusjni to Our Generation Music

With his first major placement being on a Summer Walker record, Dusjni explained that Summer is one of the main reasons he has been able to advance in this industry — and his interactions with her inspire hope and motivate him to continue excelling.

“Summer Walker helped me out with it all, crediting, learning about the industry, getting my name out there, hooking up with different artists, getting opportunities,” he said. “She gave me a stepping stool and I just ran with it… She’s really fun to talk to, she’s a fun person. She’s really joyful and down to earth. She isn’t bougie, she isn’t pretending to be anyone else she’s not, she’s herself.”

Landing studio personnel credits on Walker’s November album Still Over It, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart — selling 177,000 first-week units — helped him land another studio personnel credit on the latest blockbuster album from Kendrick Lamar, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, for its ninth song “Purple Hearts” with Ghostface Killah and Summer Walker.

“Putting that song together with everybody was amazing. There was a lot of studio personnel during this album, it was a lot of mixers, engineers and producers. I just like how Kendrick Lamar stayed with the same team throughout his whole career.”

Dusjni to OGM

Although Dusjni has family in the music industry, such as A&Rs like his father and other executives, his commitment to improvement and producing is what garnered this success. Since before the age of 13, he has worked at mastering production software like FL Studio, ProTools and Ableton, as well as learning about different DAWs (digital audio workstations).

This practice and consistency has led to him being able to assistant engineer for songs like “Feels Like” on Ella Mai’s May 6 album Heart On My Sleeve and Future’s “Massaging Me” off I NEVER LIKED YOU.

“It’s just the big process with my family and pushing me towards my goal,” he said. “It was a passion for me, I wanted to do it. My family were already in it and were the stepping stools that helped me do it… I learn from others, I learn from producers, I learn from YouTube videos, sitting in studio sessions, it’s all about learning and staying consistent.”

Nigerian singer Tems‘ team reached out to Dusjni after the Future album, considering she was one of the features for the seventh song “WAIT FOR U” with Drake, which went No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Dusjni is currently helping out with the process of crafting Tems’ next album, the first project for the breakout star since her 2020 debut For Broken Ears.

“My goal (for the rest of 2022) is to push out this Tems album. We worked really hard on Tems, really hard on Chris Brown, really hard on all the projects I’ve been doing. I just can’t wait to see my hard work and dedication pay off in the wintertime.”

Dusjni to OGM

Most recently, Dusjni just wrapped up the Dolby Atmos mixing for Gunna’s January album DS4. Working collaboratively with Mike Dean for this effort, which helps provide a surround sound experience on Apple Music for the album, the Dolby Atmos mixing took non-stop work from Dusjni and Gunna’s team for a month straight.

“Mike Dean, at first, I was a fan girl about him,” he said. “He’s a cool dude. He’s down to earth. He’s normal. So it’s nothing to worry about when you work with him and he’s really cool. He’s very talented. Very.”

Dusjni first connected with Gunna and YSL in November while they were still working on DS4. He joined them on the road for shows in New York and Atlanta, and explained how much of a supportive family unit they are.

“Being on tour with Gunna, Young Thug, the whole YSL team, it was crazy. Free YSL,” he said.

Dusjni to OGM

Although Dusjni has had the opportunity to work with many of the highest caliber artists in the industry, he explains that his educational obligations back in Detroit sometimes limit his opportunities.

“I really wanted to do more for the Future album but my time ran out, I had to go home,” he said. “I want to travel, I want to live in the studio, it’s what I like doing. But, you know, I have to keep managing my grades. I’m not mad about it but it’s holding me down.”

Looking forward, Dusjni has helped with several different projects and releases that are on the way this year. Whether it be OG Parker‘s upcoming solo album — which Dusjni expects to release later in June — Tems, Chris Brown or others, Dusjni is just getting started.

In fact, likely the most exciting release he will be part of later this year will be an upcoming album from Nicki Minaj, which he helped engineer. Back in April, he had announced on Instagram that he was contributing to the project, but Nicki’s notorious “Barbz” fanbase accused him of clout chasing, so he deleted the post.

“I took it down because her fans were bothering me about the whole album, the whole process. We’re still working. I think I finished that last month. We’re ready to release, I’m ready to release.”

Dusjni to OGM

For now, the Grammy-nominated Dusjni does what he can to duck the spotlight, and hopes to protect himself from the negative aspects of fame and notoriety. Since he is so young, his only goal for now is to land placements and improve his production and engineering skills. Eventually, though, when the time is right he will emerge from the shadows and takeover the game one track at a time.

“I have people telling me that I’m already a legend, but I don’t think I’m there yet. I got a long time to go,” he said. “I do plan about going to events, showing my face more and letting people know who I am when I get older. Eventually, I want to let the world know that it’s me who’s doing all this.”

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