I’m literally adding Daniel to my top favorite people. After a random meeting at Starbucks, I knew a couple of minutes into the conversation that I had to get Daniel on the show to share his story.
We all know that the music industry is so saturated with everyone wanting to be an artist or producer and the truth is, most people don’t make it in the door. But Daniel’s story was different…he started off DJing at 15 years old in a small town in Georgia and is now one of the hottest producers in Atlanta that has worked with everyone from Young Jeezy, Rihanna to Amy Winehouse. Daniel’s story definitely wasn’t easy but I think the hustle and heart is what set him apart from the rest.
As a creative mind, Daniel knew he wanted to take rap music to another level. Before EDM became what it is today, Daniel wanted to borrow production from the dance world and merge it with rap music. Daniel figured the best way to make this happen was to take advantage of the opportunity he had to work under a producer. Working side by side with such music game changers allowed him to learn first hand and take notes on the industry. When he got the opportunity to DJ at an Atlanta nightspot, he finally got the chance to mix Atlanta trap music and electronic music throughout the night and set the blueprint for a whole new movement and he started to make a name for himself.
Daniel literally created a business around his raw talent by taking everything he learned and adapting it to his own work. There are so many people that are trying to break into the industry, Daniel says it was his perseverance that set him apart but truthfully, I think there was much more than that. When he first moved to Atlanta, he went door-to-door to different studios and met with engineers or studio managers to find work.
Instead of waiting around for an internship, Daniel took matters into his own hands. Everyday he would camp out from 9 to 5 at Atlanta Pro Audio, as if he literally worked there. He figured, producers and artists needed equipment and he soon became the guy they would come to for help, which opened doors to just the break he needed.
In what seemed to be an impossible situation, Daniel found a way to think outside the norms to get in from of the producers and artists he wanted to work with. To me that’s not only perseverance but grit and ingenuity and hustle and heart. This is a true testament that when you’re desperate you start thinking outside of the box.
If you ever had a business for a day, you know that it can be a liberating but equally draining experience. Lastly, Daniel and I discussed the importance of taking care of your mind, body, and soul as an entrepreneur. Now four years sober, Daniel once suffered from a drug and alcohol addiction, which he claims “boxed in” his life both figuratively and literally. He explains how being in the studio environment it is easy to get caught up in that bubble. He’s hit a number of different bottoms in his life in addiction and in his sobriety he has certainly come out on top.
Most of us are not in the studio everyday working with the biggest names in the industry but we all face issues and deal with them differently. So, it may not be drugs but it can be struggles with getting sleep, anxiety or mental health. If we are not the best versions of ourselves, we can never be the best version for our businesses.