Posted On 08 May 2017
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, and coming from an entirely musical family, DAP started playing the piano at the age of 4, passed his ABRSM Grade 8 Piano with distinction at 13, and went on to attain a DipABRSM Performance Diploma on the Piano at 17. After high school in London, U.K., he attended the Berklee College of Music for two semesters as part of a gap year, with the intention of majoring in Contemporary Writing & Production or Music Production & Engineering.
On his departure after the summer, DAP released a mixtape titled GoodBye For Now. In May 2016, he graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island with a BA in Classics (Latin & Greek) and Computer Music & Multimedia. Although he is a relative newcomer in the music industry, he fully intends on making his mark in a major way.
DAP The Contract Online:
Learn more about DAP The Contract in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What are some words you would use to describe 2016 for you and your music? What were some of the highlights? What are you most excited about for 2017?
2016 was a rollercoaster for me. The first 3rd of the year down to May was amazing. The documentary pertaining to my time at Abbey Road Studios with Mark Ronson and my music career up until that point was released in February; I performed some of the best shows of my life; I graduated college. Post-graduation was difficult though, moving to New York and losing my manager, and getting into talks with an indie label in London that didn’t work out. I felt like I lost a lot of time, but at the end of the year, I refocused my energy into my music and my campaign and turned that around, and now I’m just extremely excited to be able to get my music out the way I want, when I want, and it has been received so well thus far.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? I understand that you from an entirely musical family? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I didn’t know I wanted to be a musician for sure until I was about 15 or 16, but I knew that music would always be in my life. My mother was a piano teacher for a long time before I was born, and all my siblings play the piano. I’m really close to my sister and she’s a full time musician, she gave me most of my earliest music memories introducing me to some very classic era’s such as The Motown era all the way to 90s rap music. My earliest musical memory would probably be around the age of 5 or 6 having piano lessons at the “Muson Centre” in Lagos, Nigeria with my first piano teacher Mrs. Soyanwo.
How do you think your sound and really who you are as a musician is influenced by being from Lagos, Nigeria? Do you currently live there?
I always call Lagos home no matter where I am. I currently live in Brooklyn, NY, but still say Lagos when people ask where I live. I think it is the main influence in my sound because it dictates how I think of rhythm, which is very important in Hip-Hop music. However, I think it is more important to acknowledge that being blessed with the opportunity to travel so much in my life, going to boarding school in the UK and college in the States, is what makes my sound so versatile and blur the lines of various genres. My main focus in my music, aside from therapy for myself, information inspiration and positivity for others, is to bring people together by helping them to see we really aren’t so different from each other no matter what city, state, country, or continent we are from. My motivation to make positive change and bring people together, my ability to be a chameleon and quickly grasp different cultures, comes from being able to travel from such an early age and continuously till this day.
I’m very curious to know how you came up with your name? Why did you decide not go by your own name?
I honestly didn’t use my name because I felt that it was too long. But initially, my artist name was an acronym “D.A.P”, which stands for “Dolapo Akinkugbe Productions”. When I graduated High School, my best friend and musical partner, who went by Shane Chubbz, came up with the moniker “The Contract” to release our joint project “Jam On Scones” in 2014, and when he took a hiatus from creating music in 2015, I put the two together. My closest friends and most people who knew my earlier work from Nigeria and the UK still call me “D.A.P” though and I prefer to be called that than my full formal artist name. It feels more personal.
What was it like recording at the renowned Abbey Road Studios in London with producer Mark Ronson?
Recording at Abbey Road Studios with Mark Ronson was probably the most important experience I have had thus far in my career. He was extremely kind and welcoming, and made me feel very at home. Considering the fact that I had been studying for the LSAT and had to take the exam the weekend after being in the studio in London, my main focus was to do what I went there to do, which was make good music, and seeing myself do that gave me great confidence at my ability to work under pressure and with very little preparation. The studio was amazing, and legendary for me not only because it was the home of the Beatles, but also because Kanye West is my favorite artist and I have watched his “Late Orchestration” concert at Abbey Road countless times.
Let’s talk about your latest single, “Right Now.” Where did the inspiration for this song come from? What was it like making the video for it? How creatively involved were you with it all?
The inspiration for this song was really a culmination of my ups and downs throughout 2016, and the need to let go and just jump. By the end of the year, I really went back into my notorious hole, and figured that if I couldn’t get the support I needed I would just do everything myself. The song also speaks to living in the moment and not being worried about the past or future all the time. Making the video was an amazing experience. I was lucky to have friends who were willing to film for me, and I really directed the video and actually edited the whole video myself, which I am very proud of myself for. This was the first video I edited, but as they say, where there’s a will, there’s a way! I will love this song forever for that reason and also because it really marks a turning point for me where I really took matters into my own hands, and transferred a lot of negative energy into a very positive, high energy song with a video I love that I put together with the help of some friends. Little money was spent, little time was wasted, and I executed my vision as I saw it when I made the song.
When do you hope to release more music and a full album of songs?
My “Two Roads EP” will be released April 28th, and shortly after that I will continue to release a bunch of songs leading up to another project I’m working on that I don’t want to give any information on just yet. All I will say is that the project to follow this will be a masterpiece, and I am very excited about it. I see the whole vision in my head, and I know what it will take to execute it, and I know I can do it. It will be about the visuals as much as the music, and I think it will remind people how versatile I am in my ability to make hit songs or chart topping songs, but also tell a story and really speak to the heart and soul, and above all else, do what I feel I do best which is tell my story. When the time is right for me to really work on my debut album, I will know. But I think this next project is exactly what I need to complement the Two Roads EP.
Who are some of your all-time favorite artists? Who would you love to work with in the future?
Kanye West is my favorite artist of all time. I am a very loyal and particular person, and regardless of whether I think this person has the best catalogue or best music of all time, once I fall in love with an artist and their art, I cannot shake it. I am also a producer so artist that are multifaceted really speak to me, such as Andre 3000, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar. My favorite rapper is Ab-Soul because I have never felt my mind be so opened and felt so much information being presented to me so clearly through lyricism. I don’t think that will ever change.
I also listen to a very wide array of music aside from Hip-Hop that it might be hard to break down briefly, but from this Hip-Hop world, I think I would work well with Golbdlink, Joey Badass, J. Cole, Chance The Rapper, Stormzy, the list is endless. I would love to work with many artists, but there has to be a natural connection there.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs?
I watch a lot of interviews, and a quote from DJ Khaled’s “CRWN” interview with Elliot Wilson really stuck with me. He was asked how he would like to be remembered, and he said “just a big heart”. That is what it is all about for me, although love comes in many different forms, which I believe I represent across the board. I want to spread positivity, but I also want to inform people of negativity and how to change it and overcome it. I also want to inspire people to do things they never thought they could, and be a voice for those that don’t get the opportunity to be heard. Being a musician is extremely powerful, and I know this because most of my information, inspiration, and dare I add education, has come from musicians. I know how powerful my voice will be, and I plan to use it in no other way but to bring positive change and move people to be the greatest they can be. I will make many mistakes along the way, and I will wear those proudly, and regret nothing, and I hope my honesty, transparency, and passion always come through in my music. I want people to know that I care, I understand, and I believe in the TRUTH.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
My sole purpose on this earth is to be the greatest I can be, and I believe the greatest form of myself is doing exactly this. I love music more than anything in life. I believe I can change people’s lives across the world with my music and with my voice, and more importantly, I believe everybody has the same power within them. I’m just an example of the truth. Do what you feel you are here to do, do it fearlessly, and always do it from a place of LOVE.