The Dope Skinny on Philly Music Man Darius Coleman
Q & A with Darius Coleman, One of the Artists on NBC’s New Show Songland
- You were born and raised in Philadelphia?
Yes! I am a very proud Philadelphian!
2. What about the city inspires the music you write and perform today?
Philadelphia breeds some of the most incredible talent. From artist like Patti LaBelle to Boyz II Men to Jazmine Sullivan, there’s just something special in the water. Growing up around all of that greatness influences the kind of artist you become in my opinion. I know for sure that my sense of musicality was directly affected by the Philadelphia sound.
3. When did you first fall in love with music?
I always had a knack for music from as far back as I can remember but I would say I fell in love with music in high school when I finally connected with it as a passion and not just a hobby.
4. Which artist would you say had the biggest influence on your love for music growing up?
There have been several artists that have impacted me along my musical journey. Some of those are Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Donnie Hathaway, Nat King Cole, Beyoncé, Celine Dion and Kim Burrell to name a few. I’m a sponge and I absorb from many different talents but these in specific have been especially instrumental in shaping who I am artistically.
5. How did the opportunity to be a guest on the hit TV show Empire come about?
I wasn’t a guest on the show however I was a music writer for it. I was blessed to work alongside Timbaland to create some of the music you heard throughout the season.
6. Which character were you most excited to sing with?
Working with the talented cast was a blessing but as a singer and songwriter, it was an honor to work with Timbaland. He’s a living legend!
7. You have collaborated with a lot of talented music industry professionals so far in your career, who has given you the best advice?
I’ve received some gems from a lot of people along my journey, both names you would recognize and some might not but one that sticks out to me is something that Babyface told me. He said, “never forget that only you can tell your story the way you can tell your story.” By that, he meant that it’s important to remember that what makes each of us special is our individuality. By celebrating what makes you different it also makes you special.
8. If you could be any performer for a day, who would it be?
Honestly, I’m so happy being me I wouldn’t trade that to be someone else. You never know what kind of struggles, pressures or added responsibilities come with their life. I believe God knew exactly what He was doing when he created us and I’m grateful he made me, me!
9. Your family has a music background; this must’ve influenced your dream of becoming an artist?
I definitely grew up around music and it was very much a part of my life as a child. My father is a pastor and I grew up singing in church and got my start there but I do have a pretty musical family and I’d imagine that in some way being around it planted the seeds that would later blossom into desires to make music a career.
10. If you weren’t a musician what other career would you have explored?
Second to music my passion is fashion. I love fashion. The idea of how clothing communicates so much about you with you saying anything has always fascinated me and I genuinely see the beauty in clothing and appreciate the workmanship. I’ve been sketching for years and having a menswear and high-end womenswear line of my own is a long term intention of mine.
11. What does family mean to you?
Family means EVERYTHING to me. Period. The End. They’re the reason why I’m doing any of this. I want to make their lives better and inspire the next generation of Colemans to dream bigger and go further than I ever did.
12. What aspects of your career has your family helped you out the most?
My family has played an integral role in my development. They gave me the belief in myself to know that my dreams could become a reality. They supported me financially, showed up to my performances, shared my music with their friends and encouraged me to keep going when times got rough. They’ve been by my side every step of the way; especially my parents!
13. Who would you credit your sultry, soulful sound to? Which family member?
Though our voice types are very different, I would credit my voice to my dad. As far as I know, he’s the first singer in our family so it all started with him.
14. What drives you to get up and work for what you want every day?
I have an awareness that my gift is not just about me. There’s countless lives that are connected to mine and I have to fulfill my assignment in order for them to do the same. Additionally, I love what I do so it doesn’t feel like work. I get up and create every day and am living my dream … what a blessing!
15. Do you have any advice that you would want to give to other up-and-coming artists?
The advice that I would offer to aspiring artists, writers, producers or creatives is that you must remain consistent in your efforts in order to see any real progress. Yes, there are some anomalies that blast off straight out the gate but for most people who succeed in this industry, it takes time. Allow yourself to stand firmly on God’s timing and trust that His plan is better than yours. Keep writing, keep singing, keep making beats and then seek out what’s available to you and start building there. Don’t worry about what you don’t have. Start with what you do have and be faithful over that. God will provide the increase!
16. Tell us about your next project.
I’m currently working on my next EP and I just released my new single High Of U so please go and stream it and tell a friend to tell a friend about it! lol There’s a lot of things going on that I’m not at liberty to disclose but if you connect with me on social media @dariuscolemanmusic we can take this journey together and all the updates will certainly be posted there or you can sign up for our mailing list at dariuscoleman.com
Also check me out on NBC’s SONGLAND which premieres Tuesday June, 11th .
NBC’s Songland follows three veteran songwriters and producers — Ester Dean, Shane McAnally, and Ryan Tedder — as they listen to and workshop the songs of aspiring new songwriters next to a celebrity guest. By the end of the show, the guest picks one winner and releases their song as a new single.
Contributors: Tandi Wilder & Judy Alexander