Hailing from South London and residing in Bristol, emerging rapper Damzys has been garnering a huge amount of attention over the last year across the UK for his immaculate groove-ridden, low-tempo soundtracks layered with his smart lyricism. With his debut release “BEST OF ME” dropping earlier in the year, the youngstar has already amassed a dedicated fanbase who boast and rave about his unique blend of lo-fi hip hop, or described by the man himself as “chill” and “feel good” music. Whether it be the smooth sounds of the saxophone within Damzy’s most popular track “SURFER” or the more up-beat, housier vibes of the more recent single “LOSING CONTROL”, the emerging artist has a track for every occasion. With his next release on the horizon, we had to catch up with the Londoner to see what he is all about…
Hey Damzys! Please could you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Damola, I am 20 years old from south London currently studying dentistry at Bristol which is where I am based most of the time when not in London. I was actually born in Nigeria and moved to the UK when I was around 4 years old. When my family first arrived in London we lived in a one-bedroom flat in Camberwell and slowly moved further down south – I think I ended up going to about 4 or 5 different primary schools. We then finally moved to Wallington when I was 11 and that’s where I spent my teenage years.
How did you first get into music?
I’ve always been interested in music from a young age, heavily encouraged by my mum and my little sister who both love singing. I vividly remember playing Jesus in my school nativity in year 3 and having to sing and perform in front of my whole school. As I grew older I became more involved with sports as I was quite talented with rugby and athletics but I would still always come back to music. I would always have bars on my phone that I’d be eager to perform to my mates at lunch times or in the changing rooms, we even occasionally had rap battles and it was all just doing music for fun. During the first lockdown, I stumbled on a genre of music most popularly known as ‘Chill UK Rap’ which I could see myself being a part of, so I decided to take music more seriously. I spent a lot of my time in lockdown writing lyrics and would perform songs to my friends when I could. Within the first lockdown, I had a friend in the year above me at school who made music and sadly passed away during a charity bike ride for Yemen. He was a big inspiration for me to put my music out there for reasons I feel like I can’t fully explain in this article.
How would you describe your sound?
Not too sure how I would describe my sound. I think the best way might be alternative rap when talking about the music I have released so far but I really don’t want to confine myself to one genre. I’ve got a lot of songs next year with loads of different genres of music, even hopefully a jungle song for my people in Bristol. I think if I could use words to describe my sound, I’d maybe say chill or feel good but I feel like that might be me reflecting my own characteristics in my music.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Over the years I’ve had so many different influences. I think my biggest inspirations in music are J Hus and Dave. Growing up, I used to listen to a lot of grime and artists like Skepta, JME, Stormzy and ‘early’ AJ Tracey were huge inspirations for me during secondary school. I think now though, my biggest underground inspirations are ayrtn, Ashbeck, Kibo, Finn Foxell and Smith Blaxk, I really want to see those guys succeed and I hope one day I can even make music with them. In terms of production, I feel like I take inspiration from jazz, house, UKG, jungle, breaks and other genres to bring unique sounds to my songs, which you hopefully will hear more of next year.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
Performing my songs in front of all my friends within the first year of releasing music must be my career highlight. On the day of the show, I think I had around 250 people there and to see all the love and support makes all the hours of work I put in behind the scenes worth it. Big up everyone that came to the night and made history with me.
Arguably your most popular release is “SURFER” what was the inspiration and creative process behind this track?
I remember the first time I played the original beat to one of my best mates and his girlfriend, they both agreed that the beat was ‘literally me’. I took that as a compliment at the time and I’m glad they said that because it was the confirmation I needed to go and make “SURFER”. I first wrote the chorus but I couldn’t sing it the way I envisioned it to be and didn’t want anyone to think I was speaking about them specifically, so I asked my boy AP to help me and we went to record the song with El Londo. Big shoutout to Londo as well because I initially put a sax sample over the beat, but Londo removed it and produced that iconic saxophone rendition.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
For now, I am still young and quite childish for my age, if I’m being honest – most people that know me would agree. I embrace it though because a lot of people see me and understand I don’t take life too seriously. I think that’s kind of what I want people to take from my music, that life doesn’t always have to be too serious. I hope that for the few minutes people listen to my music they feel upbeat and maybe even have a laugh at what I’m saying. I’m all about trying to bring the good vibes for people. I feel like as I mature, as a person and a rapper, that I will be able to talk more about more meaningful things but for now I’m just having fun with it.
What’s next for you? What are you most excited for?
I’ve got a lot of stuff planned for 2022. I currently have 4 or 5 songs I plan to release next year which I think all show my growth and development in music. I have learnt a lot from my first year and I genuinely believe that this will show throughout the next. I plan to work with a lot of different people in the creative scene as I think that’s part of the fun of being in this industry, being able to learn and grow with other artists and creatives on the come up. I think I’m most excited to hopefully perform another live show as the first one was genuinely insane.
Favourite line from your most recent track “LOSING CONTROL”?
My favourite line has to be ‘And I’m in motion on a Friday, with a 10/10 coz she hit me up on Myspace’. Sweet ones, I’ve deleted Myspace now but hit me up on instagram @damzys.