Hip-Hop Artist That's Blazing A Trail For Success While In The Queen City...
Darren Blakeney released his first single, “No Reason,” on July 1, 2016.
The rousing track blends snare drums with an electric guitar, creating a mid-tempo and preemptive flow.
Blakeney’s style is similar to Future, but his lyrics are clear-cut, without the auto-tune strangulation, although there is a hint of auto-tuning on the short riff. This should allow Blakeney to fit discreetly within the variations of mainstream music while still harnessing ingenuity.
Aside from his music, the rhymester has other remarkable qualities.
For instance, the South Carolina native presents himself as a gentleman with southern charm. He uses ma’am and sir as respectful titles while in basic conversation, and that’s great because so far, Blakeney managed to stay uncontaminated by the need for approval, popularity, and weight of the music industry—that toxic thing that destroys a character with one lethal blow.
“My cousin keeps me humble,” he said. He talks to me about his experiences on the road with artist like Calvin Richardson or working with Fantasia… he always tells me, “’humbleness can take you a long way.
I might meet a Grammy nominated producer that will want to work with me for free or throw me a few beats—something like that. So, humbleness will take you a long way,” he said with sincerity.
The industry breeds intentional monsters, a type of arrogance within an individual that catapults swiftly as that person’s level of success increases, which is one of the reasons that Blakeney might have a shot at this. He will continue to turn heads with his personality and searing style of music as long as he remains true to his integrity as well as his craft.
Blakeney began recording songs in the studio when he was about 15 or 16-years old. His cousin, Qz DaMusiqman recognized raw talents that Blakeney possessed and offered to mentor him in preparedness for the industry.
He spent 6-years in the military, so he couldn’t focus on music the way he wanted to, until now. “I’m a military veteran. I toured oversees and everything,” he said.
If he had another dream to conquer besides perusing music, he’d be an MMA fighter. “I love UFC. Actually, I was training for that last winter. I just love doing it. It’s something cool and crazy about being in a cage. I get an adrenaline rush. It’s fun to me,” he laughed.
We caught a peek at your music video. How important is it to keep the representation of the video appealing so people will want to watch it?
The visuals are very important. It’s one thing to hear the music, but if you have dope visuals to accompany the sound, it will keep people entertained. They’ll be intrigued by the project. The visuals need to be dope.
How important is it to be hands-on with the process of creating the music videos?
Oh, it’s very important cause everything that you do, you want to feel like it’s yours, and it’s a part of you. Krucial from Krucafix Productions did a great job making the visuals come together. The idea was a collective effort between me and him. Shutout to Marlin—he’s dope. I want Marlin to do all of my videos.
What sets your track aside from others in the industry?
I don’t think it sounds the same. I have my own swag and style—I know it sounds cliche, but I don’t think I sound like anyone else right now. I love the Amigos, but everyone sounds like them.
Do you sing and rap—who’s singing the hook on your single?
Yes, I do a little singing. I do a little of everything. I model as well—women think that I’m an R&B singer because of that. I’ve been modeling for a little over a year now with Keyanna Wiggins (Diamond Class Photography). When I met her, she started taking pictures of me on the spot.
Does modeling help you with confidence? Are you more comfortable enacting romantic scenes like the ones in your video?
It could seem pretty weird at first. The shyness eventually went away, and it came natural. I’m working on being a pro. I’m working on it.
Speaking of fashion, how important is it for your fashion to stand out so that it’s alluring to your audience?
It’s very important… I think I’m a pretty fly guy for the most part, and it’s also appealing to the females, so I try to keep them happy all the time.
Who writes your lyrics? Do you eventually want to crossover into pop?
I write all of my music. Yes, I want to crossover like Future, Torey Lanez, and Drake. They are hip-hop artist that crossed over to pop music.
What do you expect to happen with this single? Where do you expect for it to go?
I expect for it to go all the way to the top, but I have to be realistic cause I am a new artist. I just want people to hear me. I enjoy it. This record is a bomb record, and anyone can relate to it.
How did it make you feel to know that you mixed and mastered the single and now it’s complete?
It made me feel great. I don’t think it could make me happier. It was a good feeling… You know, my camp, if they didn’t like it, they would’ve told me. Everyone that listened to it says that they enjoyed it. Hopefully, I will get a good response.
Do you take and accept constructive criticism? How does it help you shape your sound?
Yes, I do. Man, my cousin is the best with that. He helps me a lot.
Is it important to have a team of people behind you?
Yes. I can’t do everything by myself, and he [ my cousin] is a veteran in the game.
Why should people buy your music?
It sounds different. It’s hot, and I'm just—I’m me. I don’t have a stage name. I’m Darren Blakeney, and that’s what you’re gonna get out of my music. It’s authentic.
What do you think about music today?
Oh, I love it.
Do you appeal more to the younger generation?
Hopefully, I appeal to everyone cause everyone feels like they can get fly for “no reason.”
What’s one of your not so pleasant experiences in the business?
I worked with people that didn’t have my best interest at heart. Shows weren’t lined up, there wasn’t any money, and at the time, I was 16 and 17, in high school. I was working in fast food restaurants and paying for studio time with my checks. I drove from South Carolina to Charlotte just to record (I live in Charlotte now).
Do you ever think you’ll go back to Pageland, South Carolina? What was the transition like leaving Pageland and doing music permanently, here, in the city?
It really wasn’t that big of a transition. I mean, people do music down there, but it’s so small and you have to branch out.
Where do you think our culture/ generation is going right now with the state of affairs regarding racism?
I think it’s messed up the way people my color, and my age, are treated. We don’t get any respect. They are afraid of us. Why? We’re citizens too. I just don’t get it. I don’t understand it and I don’t like it. There has to be room for change. It has to come now. It has to start now.
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