Caught In Conversation: Donae'o
Updated: May 24
New Wave caught up with Party Hard hitmaker, Donae’o. We discussed what it takes to become a successful artist with a long running career, his upcoming project, emerging talent and more.
Hey Donae’o, how have you been coping with lockdown?
I’ve just been making a lot of music if I’m honest.
Congrats on the both original and remix of Vancouver, what was the inspiration behind it?
I felt like my project had to be restarted, so I wanted to make a project that would introduce the new sound I was going with. I had second and third singles, so I knew where it was going but I felt like they weren’t records that you could open a project with. I feel like you should always start your projects from the heart track, if you want to be taken seriously there has to be a level of honesty that you put out to the world. So when I’m introducing something, that’s when the honesty matters the most. Don’t get me wrong, it should be honest through out but the first track has to set the tone.
Both tracks feature emerging artists that are extremely talented, but why did you think they’d suit this particular song?
I like working with new artists because they’ve got a new perspective on things, and if you want to grow as an artist or as a person you need perspectives and you aren’t always gonna find that by yourself. I also like working with different things so I don’t get bored. I wanted to work with Blanco, we’d be working together anyway but I knew I wanted him on the first track of the album.
So as a renowned hitmaker, what are the key ingredients to creating an anthem that will stand the test of time?
If you want to make anthem that stands the test of time, you’ve got to have patience, hard work and attention to detail.
So if you could choose two artists - one from the past and one from the present - to make the ultimate party hit, who would you choose?
Drake and Biggie Smalls, that’s gone! Even if the song was whack that’s gone!
So as someone who has spanned over two decades, what do you think you’ve got as an artist that’s allowed for you to remain relevant for this long?
I’ve never been a person who gets trapped in time and I’ve always been that person who needs to adapt to today. I’ve never let the wave come and sweep me away... I might jump on the wave and jump off or I might create a wave and then jump off. In order for me to stay relevant for myself, I can’t stand still. You’ve got to move forward man.
What are your thoughts on how the scene has evolved and developed over the duration of your career?
I think it’s been great and I feel blessed that I was able to see it from the beginning. Remember, I was around before everyone. I was around before 1Xtra, before the hip hop blow up and I was around before grime was even invented. I think it was a blessing from God that he put me on this earth around this time for me to see things. For instance, one thing I give props to for BBC 1, to give us a platform from early and it was just for us. That’s because they saw grime doing well, which taught me if there’s a need for it, someone will create a platform to deal with that need.
Give us two songs that are on your current playlist that you wouldn’t expect?
Tyler Wave by Tom Misch.
Fly by Lucky Daye.
So would you ever be open to creating a Tom Misch or Lucky Daye-esque track?
Yeah, why not? I like their music, everything’s about experimenting. You won’t know what you sound like until you try, if could sound whack and it’ll never get released but at least I tried. Then on the flip side it could end up being the best song I ever made.
There’s a lot of talk about signing to a label or staying independent - How do you feel about getting with a label? How has it impacted your career?
I think that everybody has there own path and journey. However I think that if your not gonna sign, at least partner up with someone. You can’t succeed with out people, you can’t do it without a team. So I would say build a team that’s works for you.
Is there anyone in the scene right now that you see potential in and think that they could have longevity, like you?
I think Blanco, Frenzo, Kwesi Arthur could have a career like mine. I think M1llionz could have a career like mine, Pa Salieu definitely.
Stream Vancouver below!
To keep up with Donae’o, click here.