Artist Spotlight: Del

Introducing Del: Nigeria-born artist who is ready to take on the stage. As a fifth-year student majoring in Political Science with a minor in Economics, Del’s motto is, “More scholar than singer.” I got the chance to catch up with him right before his performance for Nuit Violette, a Western-style nighttime celebration of the arts.

Question: Can you tell us a little bit about your music and its uniqueness?

Del: I like to make R&B, rap, alternative and jazz influence music. I try to really put those elements into everything I do. In addition, I’m trying to meld in some rock here and there because that’s what I grew up with and my dad played that in the house. The most unique part is the lyrical approach. Not only am I trying to avoid doing things like other artists I hear—like I don’t want to mimic anyone—I try to bring an original field to something that’s very recognizable and I don’t really see as many people in my age group doing that in the city right now.

 

Q: How long have you been performing?

D: I grew up in musical theatre, so I guess since I was six? But performing in this capacity as a professional artist? Like two years.

 

Q: What set you on your path to being an artist?

D: I always felt like I could do it, even back in middle school and high school days. I’d find myself writing and filling up books and books with lyrics, and I would be like, “Hm, I could do this, I could do that,” but I never really took the leap until about two years ago. I was like, “You know what, I got to know for myself whether I could really do this thing or not.” So the first few songs I released got a good enough reception that made me keep going and it only got better so I’m like, “Have to see where it goes.”

 

Q: Who were your inspirations?

D: Anderson Paak is a big one. There’s a pianist—not that I’m a piano player—but there’s a pianist called Chilly Gonzales who was from Montreal, a Canadian. And there’s Drake even though I don’t know if everyone says Drake, but I like Drake.

 

Q: You mentioned your school life: how did you balance that with your music?

D: I’m not going to lie, last year was tough. But this year it’s been a bit easier because I knew I was coming back. I went crazy every day trying to either make music or go out and perform. Every other day, I was either in the studio or in Toronto. Because I did a lot of that groundwork, now I can relax a little bit because I have a lot of stuff that all I have to do is mix and master it and then I can go. It hasn’t been as stressful, which was the plan all along.

 

Q: What message do you hope to pass onto others with your music?

D: Positivity. And I know that’s something people just like throw in the air, right? But I say that in a different way, I feel. It’s not just positivity for positivity’s sake. That’s really how I live my life. Anyone who follows me on social media, for one, will see that. Two, everything I write is stuff I saw for myself or experienced myself. So there’s never ever going to be like, “Oh what can I say for shock value?” Even if I do that, it’ll be for the purpose of “how can I tailor this to me or the people who listen to my music?”

 

Q: What’s your favourite part about being an artist?

D: Making music. It’s a close one between making music and performing. It’s funny because when I was younger, soccer was really where my heart lay. It was a, “Oh I’m going to play every day” sort of thing. But it got to the point, in the last two years, where I live my life by my performance schedule time. I can’t wait to get out and do this again and again. Because I can feel myself getting better, connecting with more people and that the music I’m making is actually having an impact. People know the words, they’re starting to catch onto this and that. So it’s between that and the writing of that. I like being creative, I like being witty and inventive, and doing things other people haven’t done, aren’t doing…those kinds of things.

 

Q: What advice would you give aspiring artists?

D: There’s never going to be a perfect time to start. Just go out and do it. That’s documented in my story. No one pushed me in any direction, no told me what to do. I was just like, “I see: this is where I want to be, and this is where I am. And I’ll just do things that should push me in that direction.” And I take it super serious. It’s still fun at the end of the day, but I was like, if I need a studio, if I need a manager, if I need an engineer, I need to show these people that I’m worth their time. It needs to be a give or take.

After thanking Del for taking the time to sit down for an interview, the artist was off to prepare for his sure-to-be-a-blast performance!

 

Did you know?

Del has played soccer in Sweden! Back in high school, his school team in Kenya went to Sweden and played in an international tournament called the Gothia Cup.

 

To learn more about Del and his music, check out his website! You can also find him on Spotify, Twitter and Instagram.

 

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