Outro Creator Highlights: David D'Angelo
Creator Highlights is a new series focused on up-and-coming artists on Outro. Want to be featured? Let us know.
Meet David D'Angelo.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm a Peruvian-American producer and multi-instrumentalist. I love playing piano and listening to jazz, funk, R&B, neo soul and hip-hop...that whole soulful sound really speaks to me more than anything else, although I can appreciate good music in all styles. I love traveling and nature as well. Honestly beautiful scenery and natural beauty inspires me to create as much or more than other dope music does.
How did you get into music?
My mom is a piano teacher and I grew up around classical music from her and traditional Peruvian music from my father. By the time I was seven it was clear that I was really interested in music so I began taking piano lessons from my mom. Within a few years I was composing music and teaching myself new styles.
In middle school I was the keys and bass in a band that played everything from emo to traditional blues to metal. I really learned a lot about different styles of music and playing with other musicians during that time.
Some time afterward, I met a rapper-producer working in FL studio and we made a ton of beats together. I got much better at using DAWs and gained a better understanding of making beats, both as instrumentals and as part of a full vocal-led song.
I moved to New Orleans for college and was immersed in Jazz, while simultaneously branching out from my main genres (R&B/hip-hop) into chill hop, downtempo electronic etc. Now I really feel as though I can create in any style, but trend towards chilled out electronic beats fused with hip-hop, R&B and jazz elements.
Tell us about your approach to writing and production.
The best songs are created in a organic, natural way, usually starting with chords on piano. But I also like setting aside a time and space where I can create something cool without having to feel like it will only come together spontaneously...if that makes sense. Like its all about feeling the vibe but still being disciplined and dedicated to create in whatever environment you are in.
What programs, equipment and other tools do you use when producing?
My Roland Juno-G workstation synth is my baby. I started making full beats on that thing before any other DAW. Then FL Studio and now primarily Ableton. I also work in Pro Tools for mixing but my strongest platform is Ableton. I use iPhone voice memos for getting down ideas and recording piano bits and melody lines on the go. It's actually a super handy tool.
I also have a little M Audio 32 key midi keyboard that I take with me while traveling and I can make pretty full tracks just from that. I'm definitely the kind of producer that prefers to play the instrumentation out as opposed to using step notation because I come from a background of playing instruments first and foremost.
How do you use Outro in the music creation process?
I love how easy it is to pair with other creatives to source elements you might not be able to do best on your own. I've found some really cool sample packs through Outro as well as some other creators who's music I dug, so I followed them. Along with being a creation platform it still has networking capabilities which is dope. Listen to David's tracks on Outro.
Who are your influences at the moment?
French artist FKJ is a huge influence of mine. LA based producer Iman Omari, then more west coast cats like Dam Funk, MNDSGN, MR Carmack, Kaytranada, and Terrace Martin. More on the R&B-jazz side, Robert Glasper has been a huge inspiration for ages.
What advice do you have for other creators/producers/musicians?
Collaborate with others, for sure! You learn so much from other musicians. But also, go within yourself, find your own unique sounds and put out music that is done all by yourself...there is no right or wrong way to do it.
What you should look out for and avoid are the people that say there is only one way or a 'right way' to create. Everyone has a different process and being open and receptive to others styles and opinions will go a long way. In a nutshell, don't be afraid to branch out and try new collaborations and styles...but never compromise yourself, sound or artistry in the process. Last but not least, don't give up on yourself, stay positive and keep improving!