In a recent interview with C Liberia Clearly, Liberian music star, DenG shared some insight on what’s currently going on in his life. The singer who recently launched his Youth Empowerment Initiative, “DenG Youth Empowerment” bared his soul to his fans and lovers and we think it’s a must read:
You are one of the biggest music stars out of Liberia, but yet, you haven’t had a concert of your own, are you planning on one in the nearest future?
I haven’t had a concert of my own due to some concerns but you should expect one soon. I don’t want to have one only for the sake of having a concert, it has to be planned and arranged properly; stage, lightings, marketing, PR and so forth. I have to give the fans their money’s worth when I host a concert. I’m currently signed to a new management , AEMG and they are planning a major ‘DenG Concert’ sometime this year.
When are you going to release an album?
A full album is not what’s trending at the moment, but I’ll surely release one once the time is right. Do I have the ability to release one? Sure! But today’s market is not too suitable for a full album yet; that’s why I keep dropping singles. In this business you do what your fans love and the timing has to be right. But you should expect an album in the near future.
What are some of the challenges you face as an artist?
Getting our citizens and the government to appreciate and protect our artistic/intellectual work is a major hurdle but all of that changed after the passing of Quincy B as his death actually changed the perception of people that once looked down on Liberian music, art and culture. The entire country felt at least a tinge of remorse that we had such a gifted artist who didn’t command their support as a country till he met his demise and it was too late. For me, I saw Quincy as a genius.
Another challenge we face as artists is getting people to understand that our industry will never grow unless we learn to purchase Liberian music and attend shows in numbers. Major Liberian corporations need to invest more in the industry by agreeing to pay our artists reasonable and acceptable fees to perform. Gone are the days when Liberian artists should accept $500 or $1000 to perform. We supported these companies for years, therefore it’s incumbent upon them to start giving back by reasonably supporting our artists.
Imagine an artist put his heart and soul in his music; most we can do is invest in the artist by simply buying the music, share his/her video and a bunch of others. Constructive criticism is good for an artist’s work because it creates room for the artist to improve.
Within the last five years, what are some of the lessons you have learned about yourself?
Over the years, I’ve come to realize that music is a big business; from songwriting, recording, branding, packaging, marketing including the recording studio, all require money and painstaking planning and approach. To be successful in this business as an artist, one must have the mindset of a business man that is, understanding every aspect.
Who is your role model?
I have 3 role models: the King of Pop (Michael Jackson), Jay Z and P Diddy. Diddy & Jay mastered the music artistry; they both came from being ordinary street hustlers to making some of the finest/hottest albums whilst building massive business empires. MJ on the other hand, is a legend and will always be. He was a musical genius and the King of Pop. I draw a lot of inspirations from his music.
Diddy and Jay Z are great artists and savvy business men who are very enthusiastic and innovative.
Tell us something about yourself that the fans don’t know.
Most fans don’t know that I am a very shy person; though most times I’m misconstrued. I am one of the most loving and caring persons you’ll ever come across, however, I find it difficult if not impossible in communicating that love. I am only at my best when on stage performing or in the studio recording. I really need to work on my ‘people-skills.’ I realize that when I am out there, I have to redirect my focus to those fans around me than constantly concentrating on music. I could be in your presence and be focusing only on my music which I guess comes from spending too much of my time in the studio. This is something that I really need to work on.
What is the most hurtful thing you have ever experience in your life?
The most hurtful thing I’ve ever experienced in my life was the death of Quincy B. It took me by surprise; it was surreal and struck me in the guts. His death was very close to home, he was like a brother and on the morning the news broke; it felt like a tsunami wave swept under my feet. I did a tribute song called “Come Back” in his memory and broke down sobbing during the recording of that song. His death left a big dent in my heart. When I went to see his mom, she explained to me how she and my mom were very good friends. It broke me down. We both were busy with our music and didn’t realize how close our mothers were.
Are you in a relationship with anyone?
For now, I’m not seeing anyone as I am focused on my career. The future might change my current status. Liberian kemah them are too beautiful, sometimes I get confused Lol.
What are some of the things in your music career you need to improve on?
Some artists in this country have no hint that scarcity produces worth. By improving and packaging my brand, I will be able to always be one step ahead of the game. It’s not everywhere you go or be seen that makes you a great artist but let your songs, work and brand do the bragging.
Do you someday see yourself doing more than just music?
I see myself being a business man and a philanthropist. There’s so much we can do to develop different sectors of our country, especially when it comes to social development. I want to be an inspiration someday, a voice for the voiceless-not politically but for someone to see my work and reference my struggle and survival and be able to say: “because of DenG I was determined to work so hard…I decided not to quit or give up on my dreams.”
I also just launched DenG Youth Empowerment, an initiative to create avenues of opportunity for our brothers and sisters on the streets. They feel like society has turn its back on them. I wanna be a voice for these ordinary people and seek support for them by providing food, shelter and medication. I think our system and business leaders can do more to help these young men and women that society have stigmatized as “zogos.”
See videos from the event organised by DenG Youth Empowerment which was held recently in Monrovia, Liberia: