MEET: Durell Arthur
words Emily Georgieva
photography Samuel Black
As a young, inspiring pop artist, Durell Arthur is provoking people to search for their passion without fear or hesitation. His determination, as well as the mature way of thinking, have helped him develop his career to a point where he has become a recognised name in the industry. In a conversation with him about his music, aspirations and memories of the origin of his musical career, he revealed how one can reach greatness without losing perspective of what actually matters.
You are a successful pop singer. Have you always known that you’ve wanted to do this?
This is a yes and no question. I have always known that I wanted to be a recording artist, but I never thought I would be one, so I didn’t start seriously pursuing the dream until 3 years ago.
When did you become passionate about music? Was it something that you grew up with or did you develop this passion gradually over time?
I have been passionate about music since I was a baby. I have always been known to sing and dance around. As a young boy through to my teenage years, I was known for dancing myself sweaty to a Britney or Janet album, ALL THE WAY THROUGH, as if I was the lead singer to a sold out arena, performing as if it was my last show EVER! **chuckles**
What words would you use to describe your music and style?
“Pop Fusion” describes what I do. I take pop music and fuse it with other genres that I love. I think that music is fluid, so there’s no reason why one can’t take elements from a few different genres, merge them together, and create a dope ass song that everyone can love.
Was it hard to make an impression in the music industry and when did people start noticing your potential?
It has been hard to make an impression in the music industry, but I believe that people have always seen my potential. However, people don’t want potential; they want a finished product that they can sell and feel. I think this is what I’m giving people now, and this is the reason they are taking notice.
As a pop singer, what or who is the biggest influence, reflected in the music you create?
My biggest influence is art itself. I am inspired by art in all its forms. Art makes me push harder, be more creative, explore the unknown, be extra detail oriented, never settle for less. My love and admiration for art is the centre from which all my work comes.
So far, who is the person you know of to have been influenced the most by your music?
I would say, my producer, DJ Inftheturnup. Since we have started working together, her musical palette has broadened, and she’s become hungry for more of the unknown. She inspires me to be even better because I know that she wants me to be better and continue to take it to the next level. It’s quite the symbiotic relationship.
What do you think is the quality you possess which makes you different than the rest of the artists in the music world?
I think my devotion to the art and the listeners is what makes me different from the rest of the artist in the world. I won’t settle for less when it comes to making my art. The vision must be realised because this is what the people are paying for. The listeners deserve only the best in their ears and eyes. As a consumer, I know I don’t want anything less than the best for my hard-earned money, so I know that my listeners want the same.
What do you consider are important qualities which one should possess to make a difference and consequently become successful as a musician?
I think one must possess determination and dedication to make a difference and consequently become successful as a musician. You must be determined to win, and for you to win, you must be dedicated to the music. You must be relentless in this expression of these qualities. You must go harder and harder every day. Never stop being determined. Never stop being dedicated. That’s the only way to win.
Was there anyone in specific who discovered your talent or was it something that came naturally to you, something that you chose to develop because of your love for it?
It was always commented upon lightly by others over time, but it was ultimately me who made the decision to take it seriously and develop my talent earnestly.
Do you think it is important to love something in order to be great at it, or is perfecting yourself just a matter of consistency and hard work?
DA: I think that perfecting yourself is just a matter of consistency and hard work. There are lots of talented people who are great at things but don’t love what they are doing. However, I think in order to reach the top, you must love it. Without that love, you won’t have any motivation to do more, to be more, to be the best.
Emily: What do you believe makes pop music different from other music genres? What is the thing that makes it so important to you?
Pop is different from other genres because of the style and the content of the music. You know pop music when you hear it because it has carved a niche out in our ears. There is no mistaking the sound. There never has been. The inspiration that is set into my heart when I listen to pop music is what makes it so important to me. Pop music has always given me inspiration to be better and do better. Whether that was at being a performer or just getting my day started, pop music always gives me that push I need.
You have a large number of social media followers. Do you like the attention you get or is it something rather difficult to maintain?
I do like the attention because that means that people are appreciating my art. I’m not one for the fandemonium, but I do want as many people as possible to enjoy the work that I do, so the more attention the better. Mr. Deville, I’m ready for my close-up. *in my Norma Desmond voice* **chuckles**
Why do you think people feel connected to your music?
I think people feel connected to my music because my music is an experience. It’s not just a sick beat and a catchy hook to get some radio spins. My music provokes thought, pushes the boundaries of what you know and like about music…it’s multifaceted. It can be seen/heard from many angles. It’s fresh, and people always want something new.
From all of the places where you have performed, which one is your favourite so far?
The Ask Rayceen Show in Washington, DC. The crowd is always lovely, and we always have a great time when we’re there. The show’s producers are so sweet, and they are always so supportive. I really love them.
How do you feel when you perform on stage? Is there a specific emotion you experience when you see a crowd of people, singing along?
I feel amazing when I’m on stage. It’s where I belong. I feel at home when I see a crowd of people who sing along. It’s such a warm feeling. It makes me know that I’m supposed to be doing this.
What has been the most fulfilling experience for you in your career so far?
The most fulfilling experience of my career has been recording my two music videos. I pulled together about 40 people from my network to donate their time and talents for a one day shoot, and I created two music videos from this shoot that represent the songs exactly as I envisioned them. This was a truly rewarding experience.
Do you remember the moment when you decided that you wanted to make music a permanent part of your life?
Yes. It was right after the release of my mixtape, “It’s About Time”. I loved what I created and knew I had to create more.
Would you say that it’s difficult to make a difference and stand out in today’s society, not only when it comes to music, but about everything you potentially want to do?
No I don’t think it’s difficult to make a difference and stand out in today’s society. I think you just need to make a unique product. People make unique products every day, and they stand out just fine.
What do you think is the biggest flaw as well as the greatest quality of young people nowadays?
I think the biggest flaw of young people nowadays is their appreciation of the past. It’s like the saying goes “You can’t get where you’re going without knowing where you’ve been.” I think the greatest quality of young people today is their ability to be better than they were yesterday. We all can change. We all can do better. You only need to want it.
What would you say to your followers and people who are yet to discover you is the best way to stay inspired, the best way to stay in touch with music?
I think the best way to stay inspired and to stay in touch with music is listening to it with an open heart and mind. Allow the music to envelope you and tell you its story with no resistance. That is how you will receive its message.
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