Happy Monday everybody, hope you are all having a great start to your new year. Today we are back with another edition of our “Staff Pick” series.
This week let me introduce you to Philly native Dahi Divine. Dahi is a recent graduate of The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, but please don’t place him in a box. Dahi is a multi-talented artist who is a dynamic tenor saxophonist, songwriter and he also produces all of his own music. In April 2015, he released his jazz debut album “The Element” which was entirely written, arranged and produced by him. He also recently performed with Rihanna during the finale of the 2016 MTV Music Awards. Along with being a proficient saxophonist, Dahi Divine is also a hip-hop recording artist. When in the booth, he goes by alter-ego, Ol MacDah.
As a rapper, he combines his jazz influences with 90’s R&B, hip-hop, and trap. The fusion of sounds creates some amazing music and is a breath of fresh air. He is currently working on his upcoming project “Soundsmith“, expected to drop later this year. Listen to Dahi Divine’s first single “Outro/Sway My Way” and check out our Q&A with him below.
1. Who introduced you to playing instruments?
In the 6th grade, I joined the school drumline. I had been taking piano lessons for a year or so and I wanted to play snare drum. My teacher Sandra Dillon told me I had a good feel for music and reading came easily to me. She asked me if I would be interested in anything else and at the time my dad got me a saxophone. So I played Saxophone throughout middle school. By the end of high school, I was gigging and taught myself theory and piano.
2. What was it like working with Rihanna?
Working with Rihanna was definitely a special life moment. I will never forget it. We rehearsed with her and her band for 3 days and got to see her work and refine her skills. She is very down to earth and extremely humble toward musicians. You can tell she enjoys music and is extremely comfortable performing. Her band is awesome, me and some of my horn section brothers got to meet some famous people. I loved the fact that through all the hard work and rehearsing everybody involved just seemed like they were having fun. I mean who wouldn’t playing for Rihanna right?
3. How do you feel about sampling?
Sampling is the s**t. I love finding some beautiful old song or anything that has a crazy vibe. Soul samples and samples of vocals are like gems when making beats. When I find a vocal sample or a riff, it gives a production life sometimes. I sampled heavily on my upcoming project Soundsmith.
4. Who are your musical influencers? No specific genre required.
John Coltrane(I’m Still A Jazz Musician), Wayne Shorter, Kenny Kirkland, D’angeloKenny Garret, Jay Electronica, James Brown, Parliament Funkadelic, Earth Wind And Fire, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, Erykah Badu, Andre 3000, TheD’Angelo, Bilal. I would name way more but these people definitely influence me as an artist whether it be how I play my instrument, my concepts for the content of my music or compositionally for sure.
5. What can we expect from you as an artist and/or producer in 2017?
I have a nice itinerary of events coming up for 2017. A band I’m in called Jack Of All Waves will be creating our debut album intended for a summer/spring release. I will be starting a youtube series of live performances for that band and other groups I’m a part of. I’m working on another mixtape of B-sides plus some new creations. Also, I’m booked to play Jazz throughout the year and will be releasing those dates on my website. I reside in Philly, but this year you might catch me playing in a few different cities, My website will show all upcoming performance dates.