Sun | Dec 17, 2017

5 Questions with Devin Di Dakta

Published:Friday | November 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Devin Di Dakta
Devin Di Dakta
Devin Di Dakta in Los Angeles, California for the 2017 Grammy Awards.
Devin Di Dakta with fans at the Half-Way-Tree Transport Centre in St Andrew in February this year.
Devin Di Dakta
Devin Di Dakta
Devin Di Dakta (centre) is sandwiched by his manager, Shelly-Ann Curran (right), and lawyer, Sara Hsia Hall.
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From Anthony 'Devin Di Dakta' Clarke's initiation into the entertainment industry following his win of the 2012 Tastee Talent Trail at 16 years old, the young recording artiste has not pressed the brakes. Devin went full speed ahead to win the Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall in 2015 and, in less than a year, received a Grammy nomination (for Reggae for Her) then, most recently, hit the Billboard charts (Oh Devil, a collaboration with Electric Guest, made the Hot Rock Songs chart). He is passionate about his role as ambassador to the National Council on Drug Abuse's (NCDA) Youth and Ganja Public Education Campaign and speaks strongly against smoking marijuana. The smooth-talking, well-behaved entertainer tells The Gleaner the secret to his success, reasons for taking a more conscious career path and shares a few stories.

To what do you owe your fast-track career?

Devin Di Dakta: I think humility is one of the major things, as well as my level of professionalism. I must also give credit where it is due to Shelly-Ann Curran, my manager, who has been working hard to pull a lot of strings and get my name out there.

1. To what do you owe your fast-track career?

Devin Di Dakta: I think humility is one of the major things, as well as my level of professionalism. I must also give credit where it is due to Shelly-Ann Curran, my manager, who has been working hard to pull a lot of strings and get my name out there.

2. How do you keep up with the industry without paticipating in certain social activities that other artistes do?

Devin Di Dakta: I am not going to pretend that I am a 'street youth' and won't make that change for my career. Personally, I do not encourage smoking. I might go out occasionally and have a drink, but just one cup I am out. It is not something I am used to and that's just how I was raised. On that aspect, I have to give thanks for social media to keep up with whatever is in the party, certain trends or happenings.

3. As an ambassador for the National Council on Drug Abuse's (NCDA) Youth and Ganja Public Education Campaign what makes you passionate about speaking to youth about the abuse of marijuana?

Devin: It is a very important subject, and I'm grateful to be a part of the campaign, because a lot of youth are under the impression that smoking marijuana helps them to meditate in class or do well in other areas. One of the most popular questions the students will ask during the school tours is "how comes you don't smoke and bad inna music" or they will tell me to "stop bun out smoking". But I have observed the effects of smoking both cigarettes and marijuana, and it is not a pretty sight, in fact a friend of mine, only 23 years old, is now mentally insane after abusing marijuana.

We live in a world where entertainers cannot do without smoking weed even if they want to stop or it is a part of Rastafarian culture, and I am not disagreeing that marijuana is not good for other reasons. But the point I want to emphasise on is that, medically, smoking overall is not good for the lungs. Also, at these young ages the brain is not fully developed and will malfunction by the 20s.

4. You recently landed a deal with New York based label Down Town Records. What do you plan to bring to the international table?

Devin: I leave in December to do work with the label, so I am reading and following up on different genres that set the foundation. I am always prepared; that's how I am. I don't know how to describe my sound, because I started out as a hardcore dancehall artiste, then slowed it down and did inspirational singles as well as a few reggae one-drop songs.

Presently, I am working on a new single, Get Hot produced by Alexx Antaeus, to be released before the end of the year with the music video. It has an EDM vibe and there are five different mixes, including a soca version of it. Don't put me in a box. I look at myself as a fan and Devin Di Dakta is my favourite artiste, so I am 100 per cent hard on myself. I write the lyrics (not a fan of freestyling), criticise if it makes sense or is appealing to more than one set of people, especially now with targeting the world.

5. You travel a lot throughout the island. Let's say you get stranded on Highway 2000, alone with no credit. What is your first thought?

Devin: That happened to me many times. The first thing I would do is send a 'please call me' to my father and sister and once they are awake, no matter where I am they will find a way to me. Couple times the vehicle

I'm travelling in bruk down on the highway.

My friends and I have had to fan down people to beg a phone call to get highway patrol, but I have always thought to make contact to my father and sister. One time before 'Devin di Dakta', a group of us went to an event in Mocho, Clarendon. We had to push the bus and when it started, everybody had to run it down to jump into it then by another mile or so it bruk down again.