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The T-Spot: D’asani


On Play, D’asani’s first single and biggest song in 2022, (his first official year as an artist,) I’m serenaded with his vocals layered over fast-paced afrobeats. In Nigerian patois, he renders an emotive tale. I try to describe his deep voice - butter - is the word my mind conjures. I listen to his other tracks and when I’m done, I’m interested in seeing where this artist is heading.

In this T-Spot, the Nigerian-born, Netherlands-based rapper and singer answers that question as well as how his first year as an artist went, the superstar he would love to open for and what it means to make music away from home.


Hi D’asani. Please tell us about what you do.


My name is Daniel Ekemita but I’m operating under the alias D’asani, I’m an artist from Lagos, Nigeria. I make music. I also just got into producing so I’m a bit of a producer and a sound engineer.

Daniel is looking directly at the camera. He is wearing a camo patterned shirt.
Source: Daniel Ekemita

How did you get into music?


In my final year at uni, I started thinking, "you’re getting older and you’ve to figure out what you want to do with your life." I didn’t want to enter the corporate world, I always knew I had to bet on myself. At NYSC camp I met this guy, Giovanni. Really cool guy. We would talk about music a lot but he never mentioned that he’s an artist.


One day, after camp, I was scrolling through Instagram and I saw a post from him, he was promoting a song he had just released. That’s when I found out he’s an artist and I was surprised. I clicked on the single and I listened. He actually had a lot of other songs too so I listened. There were all dope. I became a fan basically. One day he posted a freestyle video of him singing No Guidance by Chris Brown. It was good, I gave it a double tap and like two days later he posted another one but it was a girl singing the same song. It clicked that it was an Instagram challenge so I messaged him and I was like "I want to do my own" and he told me to go for it.


Prior to that time I had zero intentions of doing music but when I wrote the verse to the song, when I rapped it out loud and I heard it, I knew, I just knew that this thing dey my body. I sent it to him and he was like "bro wtf, I didn’t see this coming." I sent it to a couple other people and I got the same reaction. At that time my adrenaline was crazy so I decided to write more songs. I was just writing back to back and every song was just banging in my head. I just knew I needed to record. That’s how and when I decided am going to try music out.


Congratulations on marking your first official year as an artist! What’s the journey been like?


It’s not been easy, but I always knew it wasn’t going to be so I’m came ready. I also see a lot of progression that makes me happy. It’s so crazy when you’ve a dream and you actually do something about it and see that people like it. It makes you feel like you’ve purpose. Since the first day I released a song there’s never been a day that went by that one of my songs wasn’t played by someone somewhere. Everyday I go online and check my streams and see that someone played my song. This isn’t something I take for granted. I’m happy and grateful with this journey so I’ll keep going.


Is there anything about the music industry you wish you had known about earlier?


I studied business management at uni and it taught me to strategize. I didn’t just go to the studio and record. I knew I wanted to make money from this, so I had to do my research. To get a sense of what goes on, I listened to a lot of interviews of people in the the music industry, so there’s really nothing I’m facing right now that I didn’t anticipate. I thought about every single detail before deciding to choose this path. I’m independent, so I had to learn how to do it all on my own: make music, put it out, draft contracts, license beats from producers. I did all that shit way before I even started. So far, I haven’t seen anything surprising. Maybe it just hasn’t happened and even if it happens, it’s nothing because I’m ready.


Artists living in countries outside what they consider ‘home’ sometimes say that there's a level of their artistry that can only be unlocked when they make music in their motherland. Would you say there's a difference in your creative process or artistry in Nigeria when compared to your artistry in the Netherlands?


Yes there’s definitely a difference between where you’re from and where you’re situated. For me the main difference is the culture. You’ll be surprised how different everyone is from what you know and are used too. The language, the people, the kind of music they listen too, it’s totally different from what I know in Nigeria. I feel like over here, The Netherlands, I’ve just come to accept, and I know this may not be the best line of thought, that this people may not fully accept me because I’m not one of them at the end of the day.


When I meet them individually, they like my songs and will actually listen to it but community wise, there’s a bigger chance of being accepted in a community you’re from rather than a community you’re not from. I’m not trying to shade them or anything , it is what it is and it’s exactly what it should be.


Daniel is seated and looking away from the camera
Source: Daniel Ekemita

What will you say is uniquely the best thing about making music?


Making music is beautiful because you’re literally creating something out of scratch and it turns into a whole ass song. You hear it and you’re amazed. It’s what I look forward to when I don’t record for a while.


The journey to achieving one's goals isn’t always smooth. The early stages of that journey are even more chaotic—the crippling doubt, the seemingly never ending days of putting in work and still going unnoticed, the imposter syndrome when things click for you. For you, are there days like that? And what is your anchor on those days when giving up seems like the more appealing option?


Yes oh, I’ve days like that. Days when I’m like something needs to happen. Feeling like you are not where you need to be yet, it doesn’t go away. What keeps me going is the fact that I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew that if I was going to make music, it will require a lot of work. It’s a path that doesn’t work until it works.


I’m seeing the progress from when I started out. I’m seeing my social media grow, I’m seeing how many people I’ve gained just off the music, a total stranger will reach out to me and say "yo I heard your song, I play that shit everyday." I look at my streams and I see that I’m getting plays from Nicaragua, India, and I’m like how the hell did this music get there? Every end of the month I get a royalty check and the numbers increases every month. I’m beginning to see a pattern. These are the things that make me say look bro, you’re on to something.


So you got an invite to open for an artist who has sold out the O2, who’s the artist and what song off your discography are you performing?


I guess Drake. I am genuinely inspired hearing how vulnerable he is rapping and that’s something a lot of rappers don’t do. If not Drake it would actually be Beyoncé.


I will start with ‘Play’ because that’s my biggest song so far. It’s special. Every time I meet people and I have to introduce myself as an artist that’s the song I go to first because it has that it factor. I’m not a household name, yet anywhere the song plays, the atmosphere changes.



Musically, are there any projects we should be expecting from you?


I have an idea for two projects, both with sequels, up to part five. The first one is called Songs About Her, it will be filled with songs about love, something for our ladies, to let them know I’ve experienced love and it’s fucking beautiful. The other one is called Lost Boy, it’s hip hop inspired. I’ll talk my shit on it. The idea of the album is to be as disrespectful as possible. It will make you wonder how I went from singing love songs to being so disrespectful .


I don’t want to say the name until know it’s ready for sure so I don’t jinx it but I’m also working on something in January, just to start the year and let them know that they thought I was slowing down, but I am going two times harder this year.


You are gonna hear me.


 


Listen to D’asani on Spotify or Apple Music | Connect with D’asani

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