Funky DL's 5 Keys to Longevity
Recently you dropped 'A Treat to Repeat', what did you want to accomplish with the project?
The aim in dropping 'A Treat To Repeat' was namely to continue the consistency of quality instrumental releases and to put out a new wave of beats which I previously had planned to use for vocal releases. I really just wanted to put some new music out there for the fans, because my last release was Classic Was The Day - The Black Instrumentals, which came out in January of 2014. I felt there had been long enough of a hiatus since dropping that album and didn't want to hit the 6 month mark without dropping something new.
I think the game is now one that moves incredibly fast, and too much of an interval between releases means you have to do so much more upon your return to remind the consumers that you're still in the mix. I love the selection of tracks on 'A Treat To Repeat' and there is a strong possibility I'll eventually voice some of the joints on that project.
Most creative people stray away from sharing their scholastic pursuit with the masses. How has the pursuit of higher education impacted your ability to make music?
Going to university and remaining productive with music was incredibly difficult. Saying that, Blackcurrent Jazz 2 was released a few months after I begun studying; and the following year, I wrote, produced and recorded the NANE record and remix projects. The Jazzmatic project was perfect to allow me to maintain my creative outlet during studying, but allowed me to still be excited about dropping a new release as if it were a full vocal album (which it was, but of course the vocals were by Nas and not me).
There were many times where I had to press pause completely on music because I had papers to write or revision for final exams or presentations, but that was a good thing because it gave me that hunger and eagerness to return to the studio. I also managed to write and record about ten new unreleased joints during my final university year, but truth be told, I'll probably re-rhyme them again since I've had quite a long period to live with them. The impact of higher education did not only affect my timetable, but it positively affected my confidence. I guess law is a subject which requires (at times) high levels of certainty and the use of language to assert a point of view or perspective which is highly persuasive. I'll be carrying all those key skills back into the lab when I begin recording again.
Given your educational pursuit, how do you manage to remain so productive?
I've always said that releasing music for me is like my need for air... It's a must. My productivity is always best sparked when I'm really excited about a project. Again, Jazzmatic was an example of this. When I get really excited about creating a project, I'm able to somehow make the time to get into it. I may have to shave some hours from my sleep, or avoid any distractions to be able to indulge in a project.
I guess I always knew that going to study was never really about letting music go. I could never do that. So I had to just find a way to juggle both of those worlds without one causing a major disruption to the other. I've also found that staying productive breathes life into older catalogue. Many of my older albums would not be selling as much as they are if I wasn't releasing new material. Peripheral sales can add up and new fans are always available to find your music; so productivity is highly important to capitalize from your entire catalogue, as well as amassing a wealth of new followers and supporters.
You are a legend in the jazz-hop community. How do you handle the praise and what motivates you nowadays?
I am very aware of the amount of praise and reverence I receive from the hip-hop community. I think I've been blessed beyond what I could have ever imagined. I receive many messages from fans who express to me the meaning my music has in their lives and how my creativity has become a part of their day-to-day soundtracks. It's difficult to put into words what that means to me. To have never met some of these people, but to know that they have been touched by me, my thoughts, feelings, opinions etc... That is beautiful. To have never set foot in a specific part of the world or into someone's home, but to know that my voice is being heard there is amazing... It still gives me goosebumps.
I've always tried to stay grounded and not allow my attributes to be the only thing that showcase who I am. University was cool because people only started to find out who I was and what I do towards the end. Praise for your work is one thing, but people genuinely liking you for who you are and not just what you have done or can do is really important to me. As far as what motivates me nowadays, I guess it's a number of things from learning to teaching. And also testing my own capabilities. I'm really motivated to show the world that whatever negative label anyone wants to put on me will never stick. I mean this both inside and outside the music world. I think people are often to quick to try and tell you who you are and what you're made of. It's almost as if you you've got to exist according to their limitations... That's not me, so right now I'm mostly motivated by just the idea or being, do seeing and becoming more than what anyone (including myself) can ever fathom.
What are Funky DL's 5 keys to longevity?
1. Quality never dies. People will always desire quality music. If you go into the studio with that approach and leave with that result, then longevity is well on it's way for you.
2. Consistency is never a minus. To be consistent demonstrates many qualities such as discipline, determination and endurance. When you are consistent, people can bank on you.
3. Patience is difficult to master, but if you can be patient you will never sell yourself down the river for 30 pieces of silver because you were in a hurry.
4. Value is paramount. To recognize what your worth and never let anyone value you less than that worth. Don't mistake value for ego, valuable doesn't necessary mean special.. recognize the difference.
5. Truth is the most vital key to longevity. Whatever your truth is, that's what you run with... There exists nothing other than YOUR truth.. because it you run with someone else's truth, what happens to you when that so-called-truth turns out to be a lie?