New York, NY
In this era of manufactured mainstream artists like Ashlee Simpson or any of your American Idols, it’s refreshing to come across an artist such as Akil Dasan, an artist with little to no pretensions and a hope that people can “dance, make love, and just simply listen to [his music].” With so much of that music aimed at reaching out to as many people as possible rather than having any actual redeeming qualities, Akil definitely belongs in a small and limited category.
I got in touch with Akil over the phone from his apt. in NYC. He had just returned from a European tour with Us3, where he played, among other places, Holland and Italy. “We played in front of a crowd of 60,000 one night. It was just so empowering.”
Akil told me coming from a diverse background of Native American, Jewish, and African American heritages has always allowed him to “feel like a social communion. It has always enabled [him] to travel in many different circles and have a diverse group of friends.” In return he has been exposed to many different genres of music, and has incorporated all of them into his repertoire. From Bob Marley to Stevie Wonder, Akil says that his vast array of musical interests have helped him to not limit his musical capabilities. “When I’m up there [on stage] I want to be able to reach out and touch people through the mike. I want to try to make my music move people.”
Dasan has been musically active since he was six, when he first picked up a guitar. Soon thereafter, an interest in piano and drums took a hold of him. At the age of twelve, he joined the Philadelphia Boys Choir and traveled all over the world honing his voice. By the time he was a young teen, he had changed gears and had become active in the local spoken word scene. “I really gained a lot of confidence and experience with my lyrical abilities at places like the Painted Bride. They really encouraged me.” Soon thereafter a chance jam session with a group of young Philadelphia hip-hop artists led him to seriously start considering meshing both his verbal and musical capabilities into one unified machine. “I was doing this talent show at The Widener School in Philadelphia. This young hip-hop group called G-Had Platoon saw me holding my guitar and waiting my turn in the wings, and they asked me if I could put a beat over their lyrics. It just took off from there.” Ever since, Akil has been hard at work developing his brand of “Virtuosic Hip-Hop Soul,” a style of music that pretty much speaks for itself. “
Currently the self-proclaimed rapper, singer, guitarist, DJ, writer, beat-boxer and break-dancer is prepping a new album that he hopes to have out, at earliest later this year, but more pragmatically in 2007.
With a blend of music that refuses to be categorized and a willingness to do anything and everything to achieve his goals this is an artist not only unlimitedly talented but unquestionably unique.
Holding a degree from Columbia University, doing tapings for both BET and MTV, appearing on Road to Stardom with Missy Elliot, and being featured in magazines such as Marie Claire and Billboard Magazine, means only one thing: Akil Dasan can only be heading upwards. But don’t take my word for it. Check Akil out at www.MySpace.com/akildasan1 and look for him anywhere and everywhere soon; very soon.