Tell me a little bit about your background. Where are you from and how did you get started in music?
I’m from Annapolis Md. I started off singing in church, as most singers do. Then, I always participated in all the choirs in school and stuff but I was always too shy to lead songs or ever think about being an artist.
What is your vocal range?
I say I’m an alto but all my musician friends tell me I’m a soprano. But aren't all altos lazy sopranos? LOL
When did your professional career begin and how did it happen?
I took the first step into artistry in my sophomore year of college. I started performing at all the talent events on campus and then I finally started to record my own songs. I didn’t write them in the beginning, that was another fear of mine early on. I didn't know if I could be vulnerable enough to write songs. It felt so revealing to me which has turned out to be my favourite and best part about my music now, funny how that worked out
What challenges do you face being an independent artist?
Being independent means you have to be self-sufficient. Which can be overwhelming at times. As an artist, you want to just create and not have to think about everything else. But there are so many other components that go into making you a successful artist. So if you aren't a good multi-tasker that can be one of the main challenges, not being able to wear multiple hats simultaneously.
In your opinion, what does it really take to “make it” in this business?
Consistency and support from the right people.
In your opinion, what's the best and worst part of being an independent artist
The best part is being able to create freely and being the artist you want to be without the powers that be trying to mould you into something that's trendy. The worst part is that you have to figure a lot of things out the hard way or on your own. But with the internet finding information isn't hard.
Have you ever released a song that you really thought would be a major success, but it didn’t do as well as you expected? Tell me about an experience you had like that?
Actually, the opposite has happened. There was a song I featured on and I honestly hate what I did on it but EVERYONE says I did such a great job on it and I just don’t see it. I didn't then and I don't now. LOL
Do you have a daytime job or is music your full-time job?
I do! I actually work in HR.
How important is it that your friends and family support your music by purchasing and downloading your single? How crucial is their support for the success of your career?
It's always a plus when family and friends support you but it's kind of weird sometimes because a lot of them know you outside of your art maybe before you even started so it's like, “yall love and support me anyway”. Sometimes it's cool to have people who support you with or without knowing you as a creative.
How do you feel about the concept of likes and dislikes on an artist's social media music-related post? In your opinion, is that an accurate assessment of the artist's talent, worth or ability?
I can't help but get sucked in at times but I know it's not real and not an honest depiction of talent and worth. Social media is somewhat of a popularity contest. So if you know a bunch of people and they like you in general your likes will go up no matter what the quality of your work is. Or if you do something once and everyone is surprised and they don't think you're serious, likes will go up. It's like this weird game.
What have people who have heard your music say about your vocal style that sets you apart from other vocalists?
What I get most often is I sound like a Jill Scott - Erykah Badu mix. I don't really hear it but they are definitely an inspiration so I don't mind it at all.
If you can speak to your fans from your heart and tell them one important thing that you want them to know about being an independent artist, what would it be?
Create music that you believe in! Make sure you love it first.
What advice would you give to new artists entering the changing industry?
Get as many reps in as possible. One thing that hasn't changed is the love for live music. If you can perform in front of people you will have a different connection with people than the streaming artist.
If you can speak to DJs from your heart and tell them one important thing that you want them to know about being an independent artist, what would it be?
Play our music! The mainstream artists have enough people playing their music.
How would you describe your music to those who have never heard it before?
I am an r&b/soul artist. It just feels good!
Do you write and produce your own music?
Yes, I write. Haven't gotten into producing yet but it's something I want to try.
What does it really feel like to be an Independent Artist? Share your heart with our readers?
It's an emotional rollercoaster, really. I have really high highs and some super low lows. You have to find balance. Luckily for me, the lows turn into songs that then turn into highs. It's a cycle that now that I'm thinking of it I'm not sure if it's healthy but it's the life of an artist. I feel everything deeply, things that I care about. The saying goes, “art imitates life.” It's true. We live then we art.
How do you prepare yourself mentally for public opinion (either positive or negative) when you’re preparing for a new song release?
I just make sure I love it first. In the past, I’ve put out music that I wish I would have made small changes to but didn't and always regret it. But as long as I know I like every bit of it, I’m prepared for the public's opinion because I’m comfortable with the final product.
Have you ever felt so discouraged in this business, for whatever reason, that you just wanted to throw in the towel?
Of course! I get that feeling maybe a few times a year. Mainly during those instances when I let the social media game get to me. But then I have to remind myself that social media doesn't define my worth or talent.
How many singles/albums do you have out presently and what is your favourite album/song to date?
I have eight full-length projects out currently. My favourite right now is my most recent release 'After The Let Out'.
Tell me about your latest album / song and what was your inspiration behind it? Is it out now and where can people buy it?
My latest album is called 'After The Let Out'. The creative process for this project was so much different for me than all the others. I got to be a part of the process from scratch. Most of the songs I started writing without instrumentation. I started writing a verse or a hook and then went in with my homie Doug and he made it all make sense off of what I came with. I’ve always wanted to create that way and this time I finally got the opportunity. After I was done writing and recording everything, I listened to the songs and noticed everything had a vibe. It felt like what you listen to late at night, after the party or night out. So I called I called it After The Let Out.
Photo Credits - Marvin Bond
Website - https://linktr.ee/Davonnedneil
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Twitter - @Davonndneil