I’d like to start a movement about the importance of an active lifestyle. I’m not saying everybody’s gotta strive to be a fitness model, but I can really speak to the benefits I’ve felt both physically and mentally when I started going to the gym regularly. Exercise has been an outlet for stress relief for me and I also get to relish in the progress I experience each week from working on proper technique and form. Nowadays it’s so easy to slip into a sedentary routine and stay comfortable. We ought to challenge our bodies a little and use them to do what they were designed for — to move.
After growing up singing in musical theatre, Nigerian-Canadian artist Del started rapping at age 14 and has since, uniquely combined both skills to create a distinct genre of music. Being born in Nigeria, and raised in Tanzania, Mauritius, Kenya and now Canada, Del’s music blends cultures and sounds from across the world. Del’s debut EP, Glen Road, was released in June 2016 and served as a stepping stone to a more polished sound. With an eclectic range of influences from Anderson .Paak, Drake and Kendrick Lamar to Fela Kuti, Break Bot and Phoenix, Del hopes to craft a new sound in music. Following his most recent project, Songs About Her, released November 2018, Del released singles “Letter To You” (February 2019) and “Settle Down” (July 2019). Del is set to release more new music over the coming months, including a new single in November.
Thank you so much for joining us Del! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My pleasure to be here! I’ve always loved music for as long as I can remember, but what really got me started, was when my cousin, brother, and I spent a summer at home by ourselves. My parents were gone for work, and that time brought us all closer together.
We ended up chatting each night about what we all really wanted to do in life, and where our passions lay. I kept coming back to music and to cut a long story short, I decided to take a leap and give it a real shot. Having had a music theatre background through school, I knew I’d have some translatable skills and it’s been a real joy working and growing in the craft these past 2 years.
Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career?
I had an opportunity to play a set in Manhattan with a friend and DJ from Holland named Tera Kora. Unfortunately, the date was right in the middle of my exams, but that didn’t deter me. Despite the short time I had in NYC, the trip was a blast. I love New York’s vibe and the show was a lot of fun to play. Unfortunately, my return flight to Toronto ended up being delayed due to weather and there was no earlier flight, so my manager ended up organizing a bus instead that got me back the day of my exam. To make matters worse, that bus also ended up being delayed. In the end, I had no choice but to call my mom and explain the dire situation. She ended up driving all the way to Buffalo, New York from Canada to pick up so I could make it to my exam. It was a great experience, but a total whirlwind that I hope to never repeat again.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
A few months ago, I met with a producer named Asean Bwoy. He’d been sending me beats and I initially thought we’d just make a track or two, but the artistic chemistry between us has been so great, we’ve kept working together regularly.
I’m really excited to fully explore what we can create together. It’s been a lot of fun trying new things in the studio with his production behind my vocals. I feel like we’ve got something special brewing and I can’t wait to see what music it produces over the next few months. Shoutout to Asean Bwoy one time.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
I went to school with this kid named Savio Joseph, and he’s quite an interesting person. He’s a magician and a hypnotist, and we had the pleasure of putting on a show together with a mutual friend of ours on the University campus.
This man has his head on straight. Not only is he focused on doing well academically, it’s clear from speaking to him that he has a real vision with his magic career. He’s clearly talented and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. The list of celebrities and notable people he has performed for is impressive: Jessie Reyez, Savannah Re, and YBN Cordae to name a few.
He had put on a show on campus titled ‘MIND GAMES’ that did very well, with him headlining and the artist Chris Oday opening. I was in attendance and was very impressed at the scale and professionalism on show. Not long after, we spoke ourselves about doing something together on campus before we graduated.
A year later, we managed to sell out a show on the university campus titled ‘ONE NIGHT ONLY’, with Savio, our mutual friend Chris Oday, and myself performing on the night.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
I really like the author Ayn Rand. Her philosophy speaks to me and I really resonate with how she stresses the importance of individuals taking the responsibility to carve out the world they want to see and realize their dreams. She’s passed away, but I would have loved to sit with her and pick her brain on all sorts of topics, from politics to music. I wonder who she’d have on her playlists.
Another figure from the past I really respect is Malcolm X. Reading the story of his life, from his delinquency to his reformation was formative for me growing up. I respect the way he strove to obtain rights for his people, and his dedication to his faith and his cause. It’s hard enough trying to work and survive, so to take on a cause for people you don’t even know and represent them with grace and conviction really inspires me.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
While at university, I was blessed with the opportunity to play a benefit concert for mental health which is something I feel strongly about. A lot of the effects of living during this age of enhanced connectivity through social media are so new that we’re not fully aware of how it’s affecting the youth.
Being part of the conversation for mental health awareness is something I strive to be more involved in — both through the messages in my music and performing at events for the cause.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The importance of an active lifestyle. I’m not saying everybody’s gotta strive to be a fitness model, but I can really speak to the benefits I’ve felt both physically and mentally when I started going to the gym regularly.
Exercise has been an outlet for stress relief for me and I also get to relish in the progress I experience each week from working on proper technique and form. Nowadays it’s so easy to slip into a sedentary routine and stay comfortable. We ought to challenge our bodies a little and use them to do what they were designed for — to move.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I try to be mindful not to lose my passion/love for the game and not to take myself too seriously either. Obviously, we’re trying to make careers of things we love, but we can’t lose ourselves on the path.
As you go through the highs and lows in a music career, it’s easy to lose sight of why you started. For me, it was the love of genuine self-expression and have fun with making music. In general, I love making music because it makes me feel in tune with myself and the people around me, so I try to always remind myself this.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Take the time to learn about publishing, royalties and all that good stuff.
As important as the creative side of the music is, it’s important to not lose sight of the business end. Longevity is something you strive for every day, and in this industry, you stand a much better chance of achieving it if you are aware of the numbers side of the game.
2. Network more than you think you should.
As I started out in music, I wasn’t entirely comfortable reaching out to people whose work I appreciated, but it’s something I’ve worked on and has actually resulted in some great collaborations. In fact, that’s actually how my last two music videos have come about. I met the videographer I’m working with now at a Toronto clothing brand release party, and we’ve been working ever since. I met the actress from my “Karma” video through a community event. The overall aesthetic of the visuals had a lot to do with her input.
‘Ask and you shall receive. That’s the energy I’m moving with now.
3. Set up a budget from the start, really focus on tracking your expenses.
Operate like a business, create a budget you can stick to and plan accordingly.
My team understands that our resources are finite; where we put them matter and keeping account of how they’re used will go a long way towards tracking the results of that spending.
4. Be patient. Breathe.
Initially this is something I thought I had a handle on, but still had to improve as I developed my skills. It’s easy to see success stories happening all around you and feel impatient about getting to your goal, but the journey is just as important as the destination.
These days, I aim to be more self-aware about where I’m at, what I’ve accomplished, as well as where I’m trying to be. Obviously, I hope to progress and work towards that every day, but I don’t get swept up in thinking about the goal too much. Take things one day at a time, staying consistent and trust the process.
5. Don’t be afraid to take risks. You’re better than you think.
I’m an unabashed extrovert when it comes to meeting people in the music scene, but even then, it took a little while for me to get comfortable striking up a conversation with creatives in Toronto.
I try to get into as many rooms as I can, play as many shows as I can, and generally show my face at events often as well. Putting yourself out there consistently may be tough at times, but the results speak for themselves. You give yourself the best chance to grow when you meet people who are doing what you are trying to do at different levels.
We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
I’d absolutely love to have a meal with Gary Vaynerchuck. Listening to him speak on success has been inspiring but watching him actually walk the walk consistently is what impresses me the most. He owns his own business, speaks at a multitude of events, and knows how to sustain relevancy in this day and age where it can almost feel like things come and go more easily than ever before. To have 30 minutes to an hour to pick his brain over breakfast would be fantastic.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
They can find me on Instagram, my handle on there is @delgotgame, and I am super active on there. Feel free to say hello. I’m also on twitter, with the handle @manlikedel.