Having been likened to rap luminaries from both sides of the Atlantic, including Lupe Fiasco and Dizzee Rascal, London-born musician ThisisDA has caught the attention of broadcasters ranging from BBC Radio 6 to Dalston-based internet station NTS. Now living in Bristol, a city that boasts a proud hip-hop heritage, and with two EPs under his belt, he’s rapidly gaining an audience for his ethereal flows and melancholic delivery, developing a sound that variously borrows from woozy southern rap tapes, politically edged spoken word and laidback jazz licks.
We caught up with ThisisDA over email, which you can read below.
Tell us about yourself – where you're from, how long you've been making music and how you chose your name?
I’m just a young man going through it and broadcasting that through whatever means I have at hand. I’ve always been making music in some form since I can remember – rap got started mid-teens. My rap name ThisisDA (pronounced This Is D.A.) is just my initials with a little introduction. I'm not much of a talker so perhaps that was a subconscious decision.
Do you work with particular producers or is it a sound that you look for?
It used to be about sound; now it's all about mood. My mood is my vehicle. It takes me wherever appropriate. Maybe it's a spiritual thing. I don't feel in control most of the time – even when I'm creating something.
Which artists, from anywhere in the world, do you admire?
Far too many to reel off. God is the greatest of them all though. Nothing transcends the beauty of the universe and everything that dwells within it; especially when observing microcosms and macrocosms.
What was your favourite album this year? And what have you been listening to the most recently?
There were a plethora of deeply creative albums put out this year, so it's hard to pinpoint. If any, I'd say 22, A Million by Bon Iver resonated with me the most. The aesthetic and approach of its release impressed me just as much as the sonic experience.
How do you find inspiration when you're writing lyrics? Are there certain things that trigger your creativity?
Of course. I write lines down almost every day; jotting lines and bars that I later interpolate into verses and songs when I decide to sit down and write. It used to be something I did for fun and practice. Nowadays I find myself writing when something soul destroying has occurred. It's a crutch – a cathartic coping mechanism.
Also see our exclusive cover story on how Jamiroquai got their groove back here.