Dan Batista, also known as Chosin, is a UVM student as well as a rapper-songwriter. Originally from Ballston Spa, New York, Dan says Burlington is the perfect location -not too far, not too close -, he loves that UVM is ideal for snowboarding and that the people here are really “in tune” and “on the same page,” specifically surrounding small businesses and fostering community.
Easy to talk to, humorous and humble, Dan made this one of my more fun interviews.
Laura: Do you write all of your songs or co-write, and how does that process work for you?
Dan: I write all my lyrics, yeah. I really enjoy the writing.
Laura: Do you have a song that is your favorite or you are most proud of?
Dan: That’s a hard question! That’s like asking a parent to pick a favorite kid! I mean I’m really proud of “Pick Me” and really like that I do more singing on it. “Watch Me Fly is probably lyrically my best and favorite.”
Laura: What is your dream in terms of the music industry; do you watch the Grammys or VMAs and think about that being you some day?
Dan: I mean, those are huge honors, I’d love to win a Grammy some day but in an organic way. What I really want is to expand [my] audience; UVM is a school of what? 11, 12 thousand? My Facebook page has maybe 600 likes — I’d love to reach new people around this area.
Laura: So prior to this I obviously stalked your Facebook pretty thoroughly and saw a Nelly quote on there… whose music inspires you?
Dan: (laughs) I’m glad you got that. Um, I think I really like storytellers. I’d say I like J. Cole, Nas, Slaughterhouse. [As far as more personal inspiration, Dan credits his life experiences, his family and his faith.]
Laura: A lot of musicians have people who tell them they won’t make it because of how hard it is to break into the music scene. Have you experienced that? What makes you confident in your goal?
Dan: (laughs) On Yik Yak actually a few days ago I saw a Yak that said ‘If you’re ever feeling bad about yourself remember that someone in your hometown is still trying to be a rapper’ and a few friends definitely joked and sent it to me. But I mean, yeah the dream is to be able to influence people with my music. How I see it is like, if you’re passionate about something, enjoy doing it and it’s medicinal for yourself I don’t think you should stop doing it anyway. I mean I’m getting my degree; I’m not doing the whole dropout path.
Laura: What would you say has been your most fun show?
Dan: You know, UVM Rallython was really great. It was one of my bigger college shows, and the crowd support was just incredible – people were really vibing with the music, which is the best.
Laura: Alright, just because I’m dying to know and I’d love to throw in a fun fact… your Facebook says you were employed as a Hollister model in 2013. True?
Dan: (laughs) I gotta change that, that’s embarrassing. But yeah, I was in Brennan’s, and this young women came up to me and asked if I would be interested in modeling for Hollister and uh, yeah. It was cool, took some photos.
Laura: So where are you with your music right now? Anything new happening?
Dan: Yeah I’m working on a new album! I signed a contract with Lathan Entertainment, and yeah, it’s gonna be different, good, they’ll be a lot more singing too which is exciting.
Laura: Awesome! Final, fun question; How do you feel about Kanye West?
Dan: Oh man, that’s hard. I mean there’s two sides to him. I really liked him and his music at the beginning you know, he was family based, story telling, it was great. It’s his whole new personality I don’t align with, the whole “Yeezus” thing. I think humility is huge and he just doesn’t have any anymore.
To check out Dan’s music head to soundcloud.com/chosin and be sure to follow him on www.facebook.com/chosinmusic !