Catch A Groove: Your debut was released in 2009, are you pleased with how it was received?
Darien: Very pleased! While a project is forming, you are hopeful, but never know what to expect. As it nears completion, the nerves set in, and then it's released into the wild and out of your hands. Well, since it's "release" we have had nothing but positive reviews and have really been riding a wave of support from people that have gotten behind the message and the music. You can't ask for much more than that.
Catch A Groove: One of my favorite tracks from your record is "Gone". what's the meaning behind that record?
Darien: Gone is a very special record for me. It was the last song recorded for the album, and written before I, myself, had the courage to embrace the message. The song is about recognizing you have been in one place too long, and realizing the only way to grow is to move to your next chapter. For me, the next chapter was leaving full time employment and stability, for promises unknown. I held my resignation letter in my hand for 2 weeks before I had the courage to turn it in.... and I played this song every day to encourage myself to do so.
Catch A Groove: I was impressed not only with how strong your record was but that you did it without any guest appearances. Did you purposely not invite any other artists to perform with you?
Darien: Thank You. It's kind of funny, there are not a lot of guest appearances because.........I just didn't know a lot of people. :) When I started working on the album, I was a relative newcomer on the soul scene. In addition, I had a lot that I wanted to say. "If These Walls Could Talk" is really the story of my life... so who better to tell it? :)
Catch A Groove: Soultracks named you newcomer of the year back in 2009, what did mean for you?
Darien: As humble as you are, or want to be, it's quite an honor to receive an award, especially when it's a Readers Choice Award. Soul music is not like Pop music. People generally like the artists because they like their music, not because they are popular per se. I think, the recognition set us up and gave us a momentum that we continued to ride.
Catch A Groove: I recently heard you on the lead single for the Reel People project, how did you first hook up with them?
Darien: I linked with Reel People in the days of myspace. :). They heard some of my music and told me they would like to work with me. They sent a track over which I wrote to and sent back. The next thing I knew I was on a plane to the UK recording what would become the lead single "Alibi" and the third single "Upside," on the album "Seven Ways to Wonder." It was quite an honor to be on a record with artists like Omar and members of Incoginito. On the latest project "Golden Lady," I happened to see Oli Lazurus of Reel People on Instant Messenger. I hit him up really just to say hi and update him about my project. He told me he was finishing up a record and had a track that I might like... the only catch was I had a week to finish it. Well the great thing about Reel People is they know their soul and that makes it easy for me to lock to. A week later and "Sure" was born. .
Catch A Groove: What else is in store for you in 2011?
Darien: Well 2011 has started off with a bang. We had a great performance at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in January and my first televised performance on BET's 106 and Park in February. In 2010, we launched the Love Revolution campaign and the response was amazing. Bringing that message to a show like 106 and Park, with the live band is something I am really proud of. The response so far has been incredible. Looking ahead, I am booked for the Capital Jazz Cruise with artists like Eric Benet, Frankie Beverly and Maze and many others. We are planning on shooting videos for songs on "If These Walls Could Talk," and are scheduled to get back in the studio. Also look out for collaborations with DJ Kemit and Defected records. One good thing about the exposure we have had thus far is that every day, new opportunities are presenting themselves.
Catch A Groove: Do you have a new album coming out?
Darien: We are going back in the studio, but I don't have any dates yet. I can't say much, but I will say that I plan on exploring more collaborations with my new friends in the Soul Community. :) Stay Tuned!!
"If These Walls Could Talk" by Darien is available now.