1. IT WAS GREAT HAVING THE RARITIES PERFORM IN LAST YEAR’S DDF. WILL YOU TELL OUR READERS ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE?
Our performance was at the After Glow of an Art Battle that had taken place at The Alley Project (TAP Gallery) in Southwest Detroit. I liked being a part of the momentum of people who had been competing, and the energy was great. PLUS the food at La Terezza was amazing!
2. WHY IS DDF IMPORTANT TO THE CITY?
Overall the DDF was a fun concept, and what a cool way to expose all of these little gems in Detroit. I had never been to The Alley Project before. We all connected. It was great to do that in a neighborhood that often does not get positive press.
3. ANY WAY YOU WILL LET US KNOW WHAT YOU ARE UP TO FOR DDF THIS YEAR?
For this year’s festival, the Rarities will have some new material. Maybe some new covers… You will have to wait until the DDF Kick-Off Party to find out! I am also interested in doing a beat-box workshop.
4. FOR SOME WHO MAY NOT KNOW, YOU ARE A NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED BEATBOXER AND PERFORMER. SO, WE HAVE TO ASK, WHY BEATBOXING?
I grew up with a speaking disability and I had a stuttering problem, it was to the point that when I went to speak, weird sounds would come out. Everyone made fun of me at school, my parents were immigrants, so English was not their first language. In order to teach myself to speak and form sentences I would take funny sound, beats and patterns until they became a flow of sounds and rhythms. Through this struggle, I developed a catalog of sounds, and I found I was able to mimic the sounds of instruments.
As I got older (middle school years), the same kids who used to pick on me, began to seek me out to “make that sound for me” or lay down a beat so I can rap to it. Before long, word spread and I was being signed up for talent shows, showcases, commercials, radio commercials and bands.
5. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR EARLY INFLUENCES IN DESIGN?
By the time college came around, music was a skill I was very strong in. I wanted to use school as a time to challenge myself and learn something new. I would sketch little funny advertisements of songs or skits. As a beatboxer, I was always making skits, short, interesting, high-energy skits. I had always wanted a visual to match that. I got a fine arts degree from IADT with a focus in entertainment advertising. Graphic Design turned into a side hustle to help pay for college. I started a company called “Creative Department” and used that as the business front to get all kinds of jobs.
6. WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION FOR YOUR PROJECTS?
All kind of places! I know that when I do not look for inspiration, I find it the best. I love to clean and organize so when I clean, my mind is off of anything and I often find some of the best inspiration.
7. WHAT KIND OF PROJECTS/AND OR MEDIUMS WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK ON IN THE FUTURE?
Currently, I am working with 25 students from Charter Schools from the ages of 18-21. The CAID received a grant from Metro Youth YMCA and the Detroit Workforce Development Department to fix stages, organize landscaping, fixes fences, basically to rehab the entire space.
8. WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED OR GIVEN?
On the first day of class, I tell my Graphic Design Students at the College for Creative Studies that everyone is a designer, not maybe a good designer, but it is up to you to find that niche, flavor and style within yourself.
9. TELL US A DESIGN SECRET.
Don’t make logos in Photoshop. Use Illustrator!