Darien Interview

DarienDarien has been out there performing to support his new Independent CD "If These Walls Could Talk" on Righteous Music Records. Darien has combined a mixture of Old Soul and new production melted together for a sound that has fans screaming for more at shows.

Darien’s lyrical strength draws the audience into his sound and his soulful voice brings them home to a feeling of warmth and comfort.

His management team Righteous Music Media, LLC www.righteousmusicmedia.com has been doing their job, because he seems to be showing up on stage singing with other high profile artists like Angela Johnson at her most recent Blue Note show.

TP: Where does your inspiration for the great songs on your album come from?

D: Most of my inspiration comes from my life experiences, but it could be anything from a conversation with a friend, to a scene from a movie. For instance, while writing the song "Saturday" for my album, I saw a documentary on George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. I also saw the movie "Car Wash." Both of these became raw material to work with. Some nights an idea will wake me from my sleep – in fact that’s why I sleep with a recorder; it’s the Most High sending material and helping me shape it.

TP: Where did you record "If These Walls Could Talk"?

D: I recorded the majority of the vocals for the album in my personal studio. I did a lot of mixing and programming work there as well. The live portions of the music were recorded at Kampo Studios in NYC.

TP: Did you produce this project yourself or did you have help from some outside producers?

D: I was blessed to have many different people involved in the album. I worked with Noel Zancanella out of CA for the singles, "Gone" and "Saturday". Philosophy laid the groundwork for the live tracks "Composure", "My Door", and "All Kinds of Things". Soulpersona out of the UK (Who I have yet to meet) sent me "Showya" which was done solely through the internet. Terry Lewis produced the ballad, "Seasons". I worked with Marcus Fugate, my long time friend, on "Sail Thru", "The Road" and "If These Walls Could Talk", Joey Adarkwah on "Where it’s at", and Jeremy Mage on "Just Can’t Wait". I also did a significant amount of production on the album along with Robert Stephens III, my musical director.

TP: Your music brings out a lot of "Old Soul" sound in your voice. Did you use live musicians on this recording to help bring out that quality in the sound?

D: This album has different motifs to it, ranging from live recordings to computer programming with live elements. I think the overall vibe is what keeps it consistent. My band did an incredible job in delivering the music for the live portions, which in turn made my job much easier. It was great, in that we really just went with what works on stage.

TP: Have you worked on any other projects/collaboration/compilations in the past? If so, please elaborate.

D: I recently finished work with a band out of the UK called Reel People. The songs "Alibi" and "Upside" were released as singles this year. I also did work with The Realm on a song called "One Step" and Bakura on a song called "Mistaken". All these projects are based in the UK, but have made their way back to the US. Another one of my songs, "The Road," was featured on a Soundtrack called "25 Strong". One interesting thing is a lot of these collaborations came about because of my myspace presence.

TP: How did you get involved in the great basketball documentary "25 Strong" Soundtrack? www.CDBaby.com/25Strong There are so many great artists on that Soundtrack.

D: My manager, Miles Anthony, knew George Littlejohn of Purpose Records. George and Kevin Harewood were putting together the soundtrack for the documentary and asked us to submit a few tracks for consideration. They chose "The Road" which was a blessing because being on that soundtrack led to many other opportunities.

TP: Have you worked in any other capacity job-wise in the music industry?

D: In the beginning I was a dancer and choreographer. Constantly being around music, increased my love for it and I started MC’ing in various groups like The Last Eighth & The Colab. During that period I got a real taste of the NY underground scene as we performed throughout New York City even opening for the Roots at one point. I have also done engineering and production work for various artists as well as my current album.

TP: Your management Righteous Music Media, LLC https://www.righteousmusicmedia.com/  has had you busy performing on various shows around the U.S. and overseas. Can you talk about the performance highlights that really made an impact on you as an artist?

D: I think what I enjoy most about performing is bringing it all to life. It’s the moment when all the writing, recording and rehearsal come to fruition. Performing at places like S.O.B.’s, The Blue Note and B.B. Kings, where I was previously an audience member was a true high. Recently, I have seen people singing the words to my songs and that is an incredible feeling. Songwriting is very important to me, and in a way, this completes the process.

TP: Talk about what you’ve been able to accomplish with a strong Management presence? Many artists do not have this luxury in their corner.

D: Well, for one thing, it allows me to focus more on my art. We compliment each other really well. Imagine if while you were asleep you had "another you" with a complimentary skill set that was awake and just as dedicated to the goal. You could work double time and hardly miss a beat. We are able to bounce ideas off one another and formulate strategies.

TP: Name some things that have had an influence on your vocal sound?

D: I love soulful music — Whether it is Gospel, Blues, R&B, Pop or whatever. Soul music brings about emotion and I think reacting to that emotion affects my sound the most. Time is another major factor. As a singer, my voice is like my fingerprint but it’s always evolving as I learn more about my instrument.

TP: What songwriters have influenced your writing?

D: It’s kind of funny. I think the songwriters that influenced me most were MC’s. I grew up on hip hop and there was a time when lyrics were more important than the beat (imagine that). MC’s dealt with social issues as well as bravado and how to party. MC’s like Nas, Big Daddy Kane, Chuck D, Black Thought, just to name some off the top of my head, know how to paint pictures with their words. That is what I strive to do. I also am a huge Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley fan. Their music inspires me because there is so much power in it. On one level, you can just enjoy it for it’s beauty, but on another level, you can delve deeper and the words can (and did) bring about change.

TP: List some artists that you’d like to perform on a co-bill with in the future?

D: There are so many, that it would be too difficult to list. I want to share my music with all audiences, so I am definitely interested in performing with artists both inside and outside of the soul arena. Too often, soul music is put in a box. I think there are many people who would appreciate it that are not normally exposed to it.

TP: Name 3 artists that you have downloaded or purchased their CD recently?

D: Lalah Hathaway, Dave Hollister, Choklate

TP: Is your music being played on any Radio Stations or Internet Radio Station?

D: Yes, I am getting airplay on many internet stations here in the states as well as overseas. I am also getting spin on Satellite radio and Digital cable TV like the Music Choice R&B Soul station and Sky Digital Overseas. I received airplay from Rafe Gomez on CD101.9 FM. It was a syndicated show, so the exposure was great.

TP: Do you have any performances coming up soon?

D: I have some spot dates, but I am concentrating on my upcoming album release. After which, I will update my myspace page with upcoming shows. www.myspace.com/DarienOnline

TP: When is the release date for "If These Walls Could Talk"? Will you be having it sold on any particular websites in advance?

D: If all goes well, we are looking to release the album at the end of September/early October. We will be selling the album via our websites https://www.righteousmusicmedia.com/  and https://www.righteousmusicrecords.com/ , in addition to iTunes and at my live shows.

By Tom Paul


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