Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Too Young“? Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
The creation of Too Young began as an attempt to comfort a close friend who lost a very close friend of hers. I’ve always been a hard lover, to the point where I often experience too much pain of those close to me because I want to empathize as much as possible. When somebody close to me is going through something, I really sometimes feel like I’m going through it with them. I personally find music very therapeutic, and often find it helpful to attach to (or maybe a better word is deposit) heavy emotions to certain pieces of music. It was very therapeutic writing this song, but further than that it allowed me to relieve some of the weight of those emotions, which are partially revisited when I listen to the song in a less painful way, but I do not have to carry around with me all the time, and I hoped that this song could be that for that particular person. But, considering the context of what is going on in the world right now, specifically the Syrian refugee crisis, the meaning of the song grew into something greater than that, and that is what you see mostly captured in the music video.
How was the filming experience?
Awesome! The videographer, my good friend Felege Gebru (who is absolutely incredible), understood exactly what I was trying to do and allowed me to share the directors hat with him, which is very important to me especially as somebody who is just beginning to shoot videos. My music is very personal, and I see a movie in my head when I make these songs, so I really want to be involved in every single aspect of the creation of what the world will see as I want it to be as close to what I see in my head as possible. Ironically enough however, shooting in the countryside in Rhode Island brought a very nervous moment in which a farmer (or at least the owner of the land) drove up to us in his pickup truck, shortly after we heard a loud shotgun-like bang to ask what we were doing, and all I could think about was the headline “DAP The Contract and crew killed in cornfield shooting Too Young video in Rhode Island”, but he was calm and allowed us to continue.
How was the recording and writing process?
The recording and writing process was heavy, but easy because the emotions were so raw and it was just writing exactly how I felt. For me the most powerful lyrics in the song are the chorus lyrics saying “when children die too young, do their bodies grow? Does anybody know?”, and those came to me first when I started writing. For me, translating emotion isn’t difficult when they are so close to home.
What was it like to work with Mark Ronson and how did that experience get to influence you as an artist?
That was an amazing experience. Mark Ronson is an incredible producer, and made me feel very, very comfortable, like I had been walking into Abbey Road and recording my whole life. My main thought process going into the studio was “the music comes first”. I didn’t want to get star-struck by him, by the studio, by Converse or Noisey, by the cameras, by anything. All I cared about was that I did what I came there to do, which was make great music, and that’s just what I did and I am extremely proud of myself for executing under the pressure I was under at the time preparing to take the LSAT the weekend after I returned to school. If anything, it showed me that I really am prepared to do this, whatever studio, whoever I am working with, I have 100% confidence in my abilities and I am ready.
How has your education influenced your music?
My education has influenced my music in so many ways. Firstly, I have met almost all my collaborators in academic environments (kids, that is one of the biggest reasons our parents want us to stay in school, the network). Creatively, it broadened my horizons, and gave me so much more to talk about. I was also a Classics major, and studying Latin and Greek for so long helped my writing greatly mainly because of the attention to detail it takes to study that writing. Most importantly, my music education, studying music theory, and being classically trained at the piano from the age of 4, gives me the ability to understand the nuts and bolts of ANY kind of music, and breakdown any style to its fundamental pieces and put them back together as I please, which allows me to genre bend effortlessly.
What role does Nigeria play in your music?
Nigeria, and being Nigerian, is THE most important thing to me. Not only does it dictate the way I move to music, and the rhythms I use in my music, but I am extremely loyal and feel a responsibility to use all the information I have been blessed to acquire abroad to help my country. Nigeria is the backbone to everything I do, and ultimately the conclusion to everything I do. The influence doesn’t always show directly in my music, but it is on my mind at all times.
Any plans to hit the road?
Without a doubt. I don’t want to say too much, but it’s coming very very soon. If this is anything to go by, I head off to law school in August, and I plan on releasing a project (or 3), performing as much as possible, maybe even going on a college tour. To squeeze all that in before August, just know the music is on its way very very soon.
What else is happening next in DAP The Contract’s world?
To be completely honest, nothing else matters to me Right Now. NOTHING. I need to get this out of my system. It’s strictly music until I have no other choice but to reap the rewards of my hard-work, getting into a top law school while creating all this music. Law school will be a very tough, restricting experience for me, but a blessing nonetheless. However, I will feel I have done myself a disservice if I do not give my music everything that’s in me Right Now. It’s all about the music.