Upcoming urban artist Daniel Damoah, also going by the name of Stak, was recently interviewed by Essential Pop, where he told us all about his new projects for 2011, what music’s his inspiration and what he does to relax. Read the full interview below and make sure you check out his tracks!
Q: Who are you called?
I’ve had a few stage names since I started making music but now I go by the name of ‘Stak’ which was originally ‘Stak Millz’. I chose that name to start of with because to me it represented what everyone works for, to be successful and to have a finantially stable life, to stack millions. I later decided to get rid of the ‘Millz’ due to people critising me either saying Im copying the name from the rapper Jae Millz who I Gods honest truth I was not aware of at the time. Or people saying it sounds too American as I found out a lot of the U.S based rappers used ‘Millz’ as slang or shared the name as an alias. I try not to let peoples opinions influence me too much but it came to the point where I felt I needed to separate myself from the rest, I did not want people forgeting about the music im trying to put out and focusing on my name. And even now that I’ve changed it I still get the jokes about Stack Bundles the rapper for obvious reasons. What about all those rappers with the ‘’Lil’’ or ‘’Young’’ infront of their names, no one seems to complains about that do they, but you can’t please everyone, theres always gonna be people critising and that’s just life. Im happy with ‘Stak’, I think it’s short and simple.
Q: If you could classify your music in a genre or number of genres what would it be?
My genre of music is Hip-Hop/Rap with a little bit of R&B thrown in from time to time depending on the song.
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
‘’Good music is Scorp music, musically blessed’’
(Scorp is the name of my team and our independent label, just incase you was wondering.)
Q: What is your musical background?
I don’t have a very musical background but my uncle is a music producer and owns a record label in our home country of Ghana.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
2010 was a progressive year for me. I signed a film distribution deal with a British film company Vertigo Films inabling them to use my music for soundtracks for their film projects. I got one of my songs titled ‘’Make It Happen’’ distributed through TuneCore Online Distributions, the song is now available on major online retailers iTunes UK/EU/US, Myspace Music and Spotify. And I also shot my first ever music video for one of my songs titled ‘’Party’’ which I will distribute through TuneCore to have it up for download on iTunes. I also plan to upload the video to YouTube and send it off to a British television channel called Channel AKA.
Q: Who inspires you musically?
Anyone can inspire me musically if when I listen to their music and it can make me say ‘’Wow! I wish I made this.’’ That’s when you know the artist is special. Also the personality of that artist comes into play, how they present themselves and what their goals and intentians are as a people. A perfect example of this, as obvious as it is, has to be Michael Jackson who since the age of like 7 up until now has and always will be my idol.
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
I look up to a few modern day artists such as Kanye West, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Tinie Tempah just to name a few. But from time to time I will find a new up and coming artist who makes good music or an artist who I know of but never really gave them a chance but decide to do so depending on my mood and I find that they grow on me and sooner or later their are added to the list of artists I look up to.
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
Theres a lot of artists I would LOVE to collaborate and gig with, I can go on forever dropping names and im sure you don’t want me to go on forever right? haha! But basically all the artists who I look up to and inspires me. And that’s not just major or signed artists.
Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?
I don’t have like thousands of songs on my iPod like most people. I like to keep a small selection of songs on my iPod and it’s all songs that im loving at the moment otherwise I find myself skipping a lot which gets annoying after a while. Right now I’ve only got like 108 songs I think, Tinie Tempah-Written In The Stars, Kanye West-All Of The Lights, Michael Jackson-Behind The Mask, Jazmine Sullivan-Luv Back and my song ‘’Party’’ just to name a few.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
Well it depends but most of the time I start with the name of the track, this way I already have a topic and concept to work with. After I come up with the name I will try and come up with the hook/chorus. I listen to the melody of the instrumental im working on and start humming something that goes with that melody, something I feel sounds catchy enough to be a good hook/chorus and gradually fill in the humming with actual words. When I finally have a finished hook/chorus with words I can start writing my verses using the hook/chorus as a guideline to stay on topic so that I write something that fits and relates to it. Depending on the length of the instrumental I will have 2 or 3 verses. If I have 2 verses I will usually add a bridge in replacement for another verse, this also helps to change up the song a bit and makes it less repetative and boring. On some occasions I will just simply repeat the last hook/chorus if I feel it’s necessary. And that’s my usual and basic process for creating a track, then I just hope everyone likes it haha!.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
Good question hmm!… Im gonna cheat and just say both. Because you can have a song with a great melody and not very good lyrics and still like the song cause the melody of it is so good and it just sticks in your head. Then you can have some really good lyrics but the melody wouldn’t necessarily stand out as much but you still like the song because you can relate to it or it has good punchlines or metaphors etc. I think it also depends on the genre of music you do, with R&B/Pop/Rock/Soul etc its more important to have a good melody as theres not much lyrics used in those genres, the lyrics tend to repeat a lot and the verses are much shorter then in the Hip-Hop/Rap/Grime genres so it comes down to having a really catchy melody and rhythm which is key for a good and successful song. With Hip-Hop/Rap/Grime now its more like poetry, spoken lyrics with a bit of melody. In this genre its mainly about having a good 16 bar verse, a good flow, punchlines and metaphores. These are the areas listeners tend to focus on in this genre alough you still need a some melody thrown in there to keep it fun and catchy. But overall they are both important for a good song, you just have to find the right balance and that’s the hard part.
Q: Where are you based?
I am based in the U.K, West London to be exact.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
It’s ok I guess…..haha! Nah im joking. It’s a nice place to live in with nice friendly people, all of my friends and family live here so its all good. The only thing I don’t like is the weather which is always cold, rainy and windy which as you can imagine is kinda depressing. I try to make the most of the sun when it decides to come out on those rare occasions haha!.
Q: What are you currently working on?
I recently shot my first ever music video for my song ‘’Party’’ so im patiently waiting for it to be finished as its currently going through the editing process. When we have a finished product I will send it off to a British television Channel called Channel AKA for the public to see. I will also have it distributed to iTunes and upload to YouTube. My older brother and boss of our independent label Scorp-e is an independent producer so he’s been working on a couple of beats for me which I gotta say is sounded hot. So I will be working on some new music very soon.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
The highlight so far has to be shooting my first ever music video, the experience was just crazy and fun. We had a few pretty female extras on the set who I got to dance and flirt with which made me a very happy man hahaha!. Another highlight was when I received an email from none other then Miss Tina Davis who is currently the manager of R&B singer Chris Brown and Jive Records A&R rep. She reviewed one of my songs titled ‘’Make It Happen’’ after I sent it to her as a demo and this is what she had to say
‘’The song has potential. I would probably change the chorus. The production and your flow goes in sync greatly. I like that you can ride the beat. Keep working on your music and best of luck.’’
the song is available on iTunes UK/EU/US, Myspace Music & Spotify now for only 79p U.K and 99c U.S so please support and download it.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
In 2011 I am hoping to finally put a firm foot in the music industry at least in the U.K. I hope to land a record deal with a major label so that I can share my music with the world on a bigger and a more professional scale. I hope to do my first live gig and grow a loyal fan base. I believe I can achieve all this with the right people and platform, and not forgetting your support.
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
No not yet, soon I hope.
Q: What do you do to relax?
I love films so I like to go to the cinemas a lot with friends to relax and take my mind of certain things. I also enjoy playing video games, sports and shopping. But the most relaxing thing for me is making music because I can release all my frustration and thoughts
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
Give me a chance to show you why you should play my music. Don’t judge a book by its cover, at least read the first page, don’t assume anything people im sure you will love my music so please support Stak!
Editor’s Note: Stak creates on point rhymes on a bed of catchy beats. Once the latest video is released on iTunes we can see Stak generating the interest and fans to take his career to the next level.
If you want to learn more about Stak or contact him, follow the links below:
twitter link: www.twitter.com/FollowStak
facebook link: www.facebook.com/pages/Stak/102248643178403
myspace link: www.myspace.com/staksmusic
Youtube channel: www.youtube.com/whoisstak