Local GSU Rapper is on the Rise
by: Angelina Reyes
STATESBORO, Ga. - Many students come to college with an idea of what kind of path they will follow. Some will be doctors, some lawyers; while they are busy following this path there are other students whose focus not only lies within a collegiate education. Balancing school and work is tough enough; imagine balancing school and a career as an independent artist. Well, one Georgia Southern student manages to tackle just that.
Whether he is spending countless hours studying for class or staying up late recording a new masterpiece, self-named artist, Damez, never seems to stop chasing his dream as becoming the next mainstream recording artist.
The 20-year-old Mississippi native, Damez, also known as Damien Henderson, moved to Atlanta when he was 6-years-old and since then he has dedicated all of his life to writing music. For about two years, he has been recording and writing all of his own songs for all to hear. Damez chose to record his own music due to the fact that he had limited resources and studio connections that could allot him studio time. But this didn’t stop him: determined to make music, he saved up his own money and purchased his own studio equipment. He explained that because he has his own equipment, much of his music is recorded and constructed by himself so there are no outside influences that can determine what his music sounds like.
“The fact that he bought his own equipment and learned on his own how to track and record music is crazy,” stated Brian Rawls, full time student at GSU and part time hip-hop producer. “I think artistically, his music is very dope. He seems to be a lyricist and story-teller, instead of just rapping about money and women. I respect his style.”
Throughout his musical career, Damez has accumulated an impressive fan base with over 3000 followers on Twitter and Instagram. Among these fans is GSU senior psychology major and friend, Adriene Jones, who believes Damez is the next big name to rise.
“His music is really dark but it comes from a good place, you know? Like, he’s been through some stuff and he exerts his emotion through his music. He raps about real stuff, he raps about his life,” said Jones.
Beyond the music, Damez has committed his collegiate career to studying mass communications/broadcast journalism in efforts to one day see his face on the big screen. He released his first official EP, Midnight on Cloud Nine, in December 2014 and is currently working on other projects.
SOTS: How long have you been making music?
Damez: I’ve been making [recording] my own music probably since like 2013, but I’ve been writing all of my life.
SOTS: When did you first realize that making music was something that you wanted to do?
Damez: I knew I wanted to make music when I first fell in love with it as a child. Growing up, I would know people here and there that made music but, I didn’t really have the resources they did. So eventually, I got tired of waiting for other people to help me chase my dreams and I decided to purchase my own equipment and record all of my own stuff myself.
SOTS: As a child, were you exposed to a lot of music?
Damez: Definitely. I was exposed to a lot of different music growing up. My mom & dad always had the old school stations playing in the car on the radio and my pops has the sickest vinyl collection that I still spin to this day. He has everything; mostly old school stuff, but it was always some funk, soul, jazz and of course R&B playing throughout the house.
SOTS: Who are your musical inspirations?
Damez: I’m inspired by a lot of different artists but especially Beyoncé. Jay-Z too, but on more than just a musical level; his whole brand and story is inspirational to any aspiring rapper, I think. Kid Cudi is one of my favorites because he doesn’t care about what others think of him; he’s just himself. Big KRIT, Lana Del Rey, Empire of the Sun are some of my favorites too. And have you heard Solange's True EP? SO good.
SOTS: Can you describe the process of making a new song?
Damez: It varies; sometimes, you’ll hear a beat and it will just come to you, or sometimes you will already have an idea of what you want to talk about and you just go through the beat selection process. Every song I feel like has a different story and process. But most of the time for me, it will start with the beat. Sounds can take your mind to places you probably couldn’t access without them.
SOTS: Would you say you sound like any other artist? And if so who?
Damez: I don’t think my music sounds like anybody else in the industry simply because it’s very autobiographical; it’s no way anybody can have the same music as me because nobody has the same life stories as me, you know?
SOTS: Have you ever performed live in front of an audience? If so where?
Damez: A few times growing up; I always used to perform in front of family members when I was little. I went on a cruise to Cozumel in 2010 for Spring Break with my mom and my brother Ryan, and one night him and I did karaoke in front of all the people on the boat who were in the venue. We performed "Billie Jean" by MJ and I’ll never forget it. But, I haven’t had a chance to perform my own stuff, yet. It’s definitely coming soon!
SOTS: What genres of music do you regularly listen to?
Damez: Besides Hip-Hop I’m probably listening to indie stuff or R&B. I like alternative music a lot, too. I honestly probably don’t even listen to hip-hop primarily. But I like to rap! *laughs*
SOTS: What is your long term goal for music?
Damez: I definitely want to reach my fullest potential, whatever that might be. I can’t say I wanna be the next this person or that person, but I feel like I am worth more than being just another local rapper. I just want to be remembered.
Check out the article on Sounds of the South Blog!