TMF meets Donae'o

Having worked with a range of artists, like rapper Lethal Bizzle and singers Craig David and Maverick Sabre, Donae'o has gained a solid reputation throughout the UK for creating party music with a soulful edge.

Ten years after his arrival onto the scene in 2002, Donae'o is still partying hard – but working harder – and is preparing for his Artful tour this year, supporting Lethal Bizzle on the Dench tour, and releasing more music.

We spoke to Donae'o to gain insight into his musical career and what we should expect from him this year...

Firstly, for the readers of The Music Fix who may not be familiar with you, how would you describe your music?

I make urban, soulful, hard dance music!

What is your musical background? Was there a particular point in your life that made you realise you wanted to make music as a career, or did it come on as more of a natural, gradual realisation?

When I was six years old, I was in the back of my dad's brown Cavalier, and I remember sitting in the middle seat, hiding my face in this turtleneck jumper that I used to love and my dad put in this hip hop tape. I was like what is this?! It had LL Cool J on it and I was like ‘I’m gonna do this for the rest of my life.’ It’s a really strong memory.

Who inspires you?

Jay Z definitely. I love him musically but what he’s achieved independently, as a businessman is why I like him. I didn’t realize how hard it was, he makes it look easy. The business side is not the fun side but it’s a necessity. Also D’Angelo, because he’s a producer, he sings, he writes, he arranges. That’s what I wanted to aspire to be when I was younger, to do all of those things. So those two are the strongest influences and everyone else spurts off from them, but I always go back to those two.

What has been the proudest moment so far in your career?

I think it was when I became responsible for myself and started taking my music seriously. I was twenty-four. Before 'Devil In A Blue Dress', before that I never had a job, I thought music would look after everything, but when I took responsibility and took on music full-time, that’s my proudest moment.

Where would you like to be in five years time, in terms of your career?

I’d like to be a worldwide artist on the verge of signing other acts. I want to be a commercial artist, producing and chin-wagging with people like Jay Z!

Which artist/artists would you like to collaborate with?

Labrinth - because I just think we would make phenomenal music! He sees music how I see it. With him there are no boundaries, like he makes R&B but takes elements from all other styles of music. Like, I make dance music but take other elements from different styles. 'Earthquake' is clearly influenced by dubstep but it’s not a dubstep tune, but he puts all these other sounds in it. You have to have a certain freedom to be able to do that.

What other releases, tours and appearances do you have planned for the rest of 2012?

I’ll be doing the Artful tour in the next few weeks and joining Lethal Bizzle on some of his Dench dates. I’m releasing 'Big Ben' in April, then looking to release my album in Summer called Underground King.

Follow Donae'o on Twitter or visit

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