Dami Oniru was born in Atlanta, Georgia and moved to Lagos when she was 3 years old. Ahead of Gidi Fest 2019, where she will be gracing the Next Gen stage, read on to go beyond melodies with this talented singer songwriter and performer.
Tw: What was growing up like for you, and how did it inform your career choice?
DO: Growing up was soooo much fun, even though I was an only child then, I was always surrounded by other kids one way or another and I used to travel a lot, So that was great! My aunties and uncles always kept me entertained. From taking road trips to Orlando and Tennessee to just spending time together every day and bonding through music and just family time really. I’ve been surrounded by so much love that I have so much of it to give now. I think its influenced my music in terms of how intentional I am about what I create, I try so much to incorporate as much love, honesty and emotion as I can so that my songs can be felt literally. I want to be able to take whoever is listening on a journey.
TW: What is your relationship with music?
DO: Music is my best friend haha, my boyfriend, the love of my life. It’s one of the most satisfying things to me. I’m really just grateful that I’ve been graced with the talent to be able to create and feel!
Tw: How and when did you fall in love with music?
DO: I think I’ve always been in love with music. Growing up, everyone around me had their collection of CD’s, I remember my mom had this huge case of CD’S from loads of artists like Destiny’s child, Jaheim, Freddie Jackson and my uncle introduced me to john legend, there was literally music everywhere I turned. I fell even more in love with music when I realized that I could sing at age 14 and I just knew that was what I wanted to do forever; create music that made people smile and feel happy.
Tw: What is one experience in life that, without it, you wouldn’t be the artist you are today?
DO: Definitely all my experiences from childhood till date- I can’t pick one because, everything I’ve been through, every situation I’ve been in, everyone I’ve encountered has broken me and shaped me in a way that has made me the person that I am today – I try to show this through my music.
Also my family and friends turned family– I think if I was part of a different family, the kind of love and support that I receive now would be different. In fact, I can’t even guarantee that I’d even be doing music right now.
Tw: Can you take us through your creative process from idea conception to full song and how you find your artistic inspiration?
DO: Usually I get beats from producers who know the kind of sounds I like and have made them specifically for me. I give it a listen, I know when it’s the ‘one’ cos a melody starts to form in my head almost immediately so I get my voice recorder out on my phone and freestyle with the melodies I have. I try a few freestyles until I find one that’s a perfect fit, sometimes I mix different parts I like from each freestyle and then arrange them into the song. Once the melody’s ready I write properly to it, in my special book and then record with harmonies if necessary and adlibs.
Other times I could just come up with a melody or write a whole song and then send the idea to a producer so they can create something around the idea I sent and then go through the same process mentioned above.
Tw: Do you think women in the industry have it harder than their male counterparts and what can be done to push inclusivity and parity?
DO: I do think so, and I think it’s in every industry and in life in general really. Women are seen as the weaker gender. We’re actually stronger than we look, but I think that’s known to many, it’s just a question of why then is it harder for a woman to succeed than a man, anyways I think like any person who wants change, the narrative has to start with them. I think it’s just a matter of women coming together, for instance, in the music industry and working together and just supporting and loving each other. It’s not literally not a competition, the male to female ratio in the industry is crazy but I think recently I’ve found a lot of female artists are doing their thing and they’re winning, that makes me happy and I hope that gives other female artists that haven’t started yet the courage to come and dominate and lets all win together.
Tw: If you could pick any artiste to work with, who will you choose?
DO: Lol my list is loooooong — H.E.R, Brandy, Tems, Amaarae, Tay Iwar, Chigratt.. I’m pretty sure I was only meant to choose one but there you go.
Tw: What will it be for you if it wasn’t music?
DO: I would definitely be doing something technology related, I’m absolutely obsessed with coding and just technology in general. I bet you weren’t expecting that.
TW: One advice for any artiste looking to come up in the industry.
DO: I’d say just do it, do it afraid. It’s better to do it and fail till you get it right than live a life wondering what it could’ve been like. I don’t think I would’ve forgiven myself if I allowed myself feed into my fear of failing and not try at all.