Delivering a unique blend of electro-R&B artistry; singer-songwriter, and multi-talented creative, Daniel Donskoy, emerged onto the music scene earlier this year with the release of his debut single Intro. With intimate, honest vocals and captivating lyricism; Daniel is already garnering attention as a talented artist to watch. Bringing us further into his sonic world, he followed up Intro with the release of his second single 24 late last month. Introducing us to a new side of his artistic style, Daniel shows no signs of slowing down, Following the release of 24, we caught up with the talented artist to talk all about his latest single, journey in music so far and all things music.
BM: Tell me a bit about you, and your journey in music so far!
DD: Just like everything in my life – it’s been quite an adventure, never monotonous and extremely challenging..
Due to my multicultural background – born in Russia, grew up in Berlin and Tel Aviv, and calling London my home since 2010; I grew up with so many genres of music around me – From Russian Folk to Oriental Hip hop, Jamiroquai ( my dad was a big fan ) and Jewish Melancholia. But R&B and soul were always on the forefront of my playlists.
Defining your inner voice and message isn’t always easy in a time where oversaturated Social Media personalities seem to rule our modern culture. I am a very vocal and at times opinionated person – and I constantly ask myself how I can infuse my tracks with all of that. Realising that I didn’t have to – that the bare fact that I honestly feel every single word we record, every drop and every harmony is more than I could explain in the aftermath.
Hence a big part of my artistic development happens away from the music – on a human level – and I am still growing, learning and experiencing highs and lows. I feel alive and it feels so damn good.
BM: Introducing the world to your music this year with your debut solo single Intro, tell me about what the track means to you and the inspiration behind it?
DD: To be completely honest, ‘Intro’ was a spontaneous idea. I was rehearsing for my first Late Night TV Show appearance in Germany for the release of my actual first single ’24’ and my producer GOLOW started improvising and vibing to an alteration of the beat for ’24’.
Lyrics are always the first thing that comes to my mind and suddenly my pen hit paper and I started writing. The whole process lasted about 20 minutes and INTRO was done. Retrospectively I think my subconsciousness used this process to solidify my conscious musical decisions (laughs)
BM:. What did you want to say, and what artistic introduction were you wanting to make with Intro.
DD: There is a clear theme in my songs – I talk a lot about freedom. Be it sexual, cognitive or musical.
Even though we live in such a modern world we hide behind so many layers: social media, Makeup, fancy clothes and our jobs. The current pandemic situation intensifies this even further. But can we achieve inner freedom? In my opinion the first step is to acknowledge that life is a for EVER lasting journey until the day it’s over. The beauty of that journey is that we never know where we are headed. We can have plans, expectations and lust; but the most important bit is acceptance for yourself in the very present moment.
Every molecule and every cell is growing, dividing – it’s the movement that differentiates a living cell from a dead one. It’s essential for me in my artistry to look for fluidity, for the gaps between societal norms, for the opening in our own minds and to shine a light right in there.
BM: How have you managed to navigate beginning your musical journey in such an unexpected year, where you can’t do things like tour, engage as easily with fans and properly showcase your music?
DD: I am very fortunate to have a pretty engaged following on Social Media – this has partly to do with my acting career but throughout the first lockdown I spent a lot of time connecting with artists from all over the world. Surely this helps now. I have had the chance to be a guest on several late Night talkshows in Germany and perform. Also the press in the UK, Russia and Germany have been very supportive.
This year with all its unusual twists and turns gave me enough time to really dive into the musical part of my life. You are right – it is challenging. But this is the only reality we have. On a grand scheme, my worries about not being able to promote my music according to my expectations are minimal compared to the looming bankruptcy of music clubs all over the world. Hundreds of thousands of people unemployed – rookies, technicians, session musicians etc. It’s devastating. I truly hope that this will soon be all over and we can reconnect at concerts, showcases and everything we love about music.
BM: You just released your second single 24; what can you tell us about this new track?
DD: 24 for me is a declaration of love, to an obsession with the present; the longing for strong feelings, desire and lust. All those things give us emotional peaks – so to say Highs. My derogative is all about feeling alive to the maximum – every day.. But every High is followed by a Low. Fearing it, is unnecessary. Because it is the truth. And the truth can’t hurt you if you accept it. This probably sounds a tad ethereal to you, so let me simplify: Broken down it’s a song that should take you with me on a journey of an inner trip.
BM: One of six songs you’re going to be releasing over the coming months; what do 24 and Intro, tell us about your overall artistic sound, and what we can expect from these upcoming releases?
DD: Over the next months I am planning to release five additional tracks. It’s such a privilege to know that every one of my songs I am about to share will bring you closer to getting to know me.
The overall theme is freedom, with the overall sound being urban, warm and slightly trippy. I cannot wait to be able to share them with the world. Working on the songs in London as well as Berlin has given them the right amount of London grit paired with Berlin hedonism. So basically my life 🙂
BM: Who have been some of your main influences and inspirations, especially over the last few months?
DD: Artists like Frank Ocean, Mac Miller and Mike Posner with ‘A Real Good Kid’ have been great inspirations for me. Artists who don’t always follow the rules. Artists who express and share their most intimate truths.
I am a big fan of FKA twigs but I also recently revisited all of Patti Smiths albums. Kofi Stone, Manik MC and Travis Scott are also big inspirations. I am constantly looking for new artists from all over the world and was fortunate to connect with many of them through social Media – invite them for Instagram Live talks etc.
Just the other day on the release of ’24’ – I was live for 24 hours. One of the Highlights was having ALOE BLACC joining me.
His new Album ALL LOVE EVERYTHING is truly astonishing.
BM: On your upcoming music, can we expect any collaborations; and are there any artists or producers who you would love to work with?
DD: Throughout the next five tracks we don’t have collaborations yet, as I was focussing on finding my own sound. In the future it would be an absolute joy to collaborate.
A feature with rappers like Kofi Stone and Loyle Carner would be an absolute dream. As I am a true fan, obviously Frank Ocean. Samm Henshwaw, BenjiFlow and Labrinth, I also truly admire Joy Crookes, Celeste and Jessie Reyez. As you can see the list is long.
Producer wise: well MARK RONSON!!
BM: Do you have a distinct creative process, or do you take it track by track?
DD: My creative process starts with living to the fullest. I write about what I feel, what happens to me. The current circumstances make it more difficult to enjoy a wide variety of activities but there is always your own brain filled with so much information and ready to be dived into.
I spent time with my producers – we jump onto each song, each world separately. We start with a jam normally on keys and once the beat comes together I start writing lyrics. To be honest I always write lyrics just about anything. So when a beat truly hits the spot, I can look through the different themes and check out what fits best. I am a true perfectionist so after we produce the first demo there’s a long process following – My team appreciates it but sometimes they’re ready to kill me.
BM:. What are your main artistic goals heading into 2021, and over the upcoming year?
DD: First, I wholeheartedly hope that the entertainment industry will receive the sufficient support which is desperately needed all over the world. Governments must recognise the importance and the need for culture in our pluralistic society. It’s difficult to make proper plans. Next year will start with four musical releases and a Feature film for me. Let’s see what happens next. Planning is for beginners. I am a pro!
Such a pleasure to catch up with Daniel, and chat more in-depth about all things music; we can certainly expect more fantastic releases, and great things, coming soon from the talented artist. To keep up to date with his upcoming releases, and all his music news, find him on all his socials @danieldonskoy