WITH such a vivid and interesting road into music…
I was keen to chat with Dámì Sule about his album, Rough Canvas, and some of the things that inspired the songwriting. He talks about growing up in Nigeria and moving to the U.K.; whether music holds spiritual sway and power; which artists he considers influences – Sule reveals plans for touring.
The songwriter tells me which three albums are most important to him; if he spends any time away from the rush of music; what advice he would give to new songwriters of the moment; a couple of underground acts we need to get involved with – he ends the interview by selecting a song that is in his mind right now.
Hi, Dámì. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m good, thank you. My week has been very eventful.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I go by the name of Dámì Sule. I am twenty years of age. I write poems and I make music - born and raised in Nigeria for ten years and now living in Manchester. I would best describe my music as emotion-filled and, in some ways, thought-provoking.
Rough Canvas is your first full-length. Can you tell me about the ideas expressed and what influenced its creation?
The whole idea of Rough Canvas is about portraying everything perfect yet imperfect. It is about finding your flaws and making it a canvas for everything beautiful to be made. I try to play with the ideas everyone can relate to, as well as drawing from my own day to day experiences. I try to believe my work is an embodiment of me; as to say I am my own influence in terms of sharing my lived experiences and putting it into my creation.
Chains seems to be a bit of a standout. Does that hold personal relevance and a special place? How did that track come together?
Chains is all about breaking free. It holds a lot of relevance in my personal life in terms of breaking the burdens ahead of me. As well as this, when writing for Chains, I tried to put myself in the shoes of the millions of common men and women I walk past in each day. I tried to put in words the problems we all face and reflect how restraining our problems can feel.
You are Nigerian-born. Do you take a lot of the music and spirits from Nigeria and put it into your work?
I definitely believe I am influenced by my upbringing in Nigeria, although I believe it's largely an unconscious process. However, in the future, I do aim to intentionally to induce the sound Nigeria carries into my music; in my pursuit to create something unique and closer to me.
Which artists would you count as influences? Did music come into your life at an early stage?
It is really hard to consider which of the artist I listen to are influences as it isn't my aim to draw from other artists. I try to embody my own personal experiences into my music in order to make them relatable to the masses. Making music did not come to me at an early stage: I only understood the depth of my talent and how I could use it for good about a year ago.
I started writing poetry from my college days and, from then on, I began to understand what I was actually doing and what I could make it into - which is what I am doing today.
What, to you, does music mean? Does it hold a spiritual and awesome power?
Music is absolutely spiritual. That is why I aim to only create and preach positivity. I believe we listen to music in very spiritual ways in terms of when we are jubilant, sad etc.
How do you think you have grown since 2017’s (E.P.) Crayons? Have you noticed changes in your music?
I think, since my Crayons E.P., I have discovered more ways to use my voice in terms of playing around with different sounds and not sticking to a genre, B.P.M. etc. I am not the same person since making the Crayons E.P. - in terms of the fact I am older and have experienced different things since then; it has impacted my music by adding more depth.
Can we see you tour this year? What gigs do you have coming along?
I am collaborating with The Pit LDN and Relentless Energy Drink to create a show called Introducing Dámì Sule with my live band The Youth Club. It is a show about introducing my sound to new ears. The date for the show is 21st June in Manchester – at the Zombie Shack - and tickets will be available through my website and Dice.fm.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
Growth. Growth has always been my aim each year. Everything else I consider as further blessings.
Which three albums mean the most to you, would you say?
The Score by Fugees, Dear Daisy: Opium by Kojey Radical and The Paradox by Jacob Banks are albums that I have indulged (plus, a couple more).
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
To stay original.
It is very easy to sway towards the desires of others or what's the latest trend. Being original leads to longevity…and that's what I have learnt in my short time.
IN THIS PHOTO: Indigo Dee
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I currently juggle university, placement and my part-time work away from music. So, in my very little downtime, I’m on my Xbox being LeBron James on NBA 2K18.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Dry Cry by Wretch 32, Avelino (ft. Stacey Barthe)
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