We had the good fortune of connecting with DKupe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi DKupe, what’s your definition for success?
To be successful is to be true to your authentic self by doing and pursuing that which is meaningful to you. It is about being honest with yourself about who you are and what gives you purpose, and finding meaning in the process of fulfilling that purpose. It is essentially to honor who you are and what you uniquely have to contribute to life. As long as you are doing what is truly meaningful to you and progressing at any rate through the process, then you are successful.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My mission is to create music and expression that recognizes and empowers the authentic human spirit. I create music that I hope can bring people in touch with themselves on a deeper level, as well as fun music that simply celebrates life! While what I ‘m doing musically is beyond one genre, you could call my music Soul Music holistically. However, it really is based on a blend of influences coming from Soul, Funk, Blues, Rock, and R&B music both new and old. Musically I aim to combine the best of classic and modern approaches to these genres through an expression of love and groove that people can feel. My songs are about finding you way in life, self-realization, love, and finding meaning in it all, one step at a time. My main musical expression is the Guitar, which I’ve been playing for 14 years now, and I have been writing songs since I started playing the guitar! It’s been incredible seeing myself develop through the years as both a guitar player and as an artist writing my own music.
While I have always loved music and had the guitar as my main source of expression since I started playing, my journey as a musician and artist is a bit un-traditional in that music didn’t fully take the wheel as the driving force of my life until just a couple years before moving to Los Angeles. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and went to college at UC Santa Barbara, and initially I was not considering pursuing music on a full professional level the way I am now back when I first graduated high school and went to college to study Communication. Music took a bit of a backseat among other interests and experiences in late high school and early college as I was figuring myself out. However, in my second year in school I started playing in a band and got involved in the local live music scene in Santa Barbara. Playing a lot of those energetic local shows significantly reconnected me with my deep love for music, and it got me creating and performing regularly. Before I knew it, my head was fully in it as I reconnected with music on a level of enthusiasm and love like never before. I realized that I needed to make a plan to attend to a re-set of purpose and realized that I needed to do what I could do to move to LA and start building a foundation for a future as a full-time musician. I moved out here at the beginning of 2019, knowing very few people living here, but fortunately was able to make some great connections with musicians and creators I met in the music scene at gigs, jam sessions, and open mics. I started performing as a solo artist as well as a guitarist for other bands, all while working a day job. That year and a half or so of putting myself out there and building connections helped me become much more disciplined in my craft as it got me to adjust my perspective accordingly, and to level up as both a guitarist and as a songwriter. Working with the amazing talent out here got me to work harder and step my game up musically, and I’m grateful for that. The pandemic then hit and I of course couldn’t play shows anymore, and I lost my job, but I used the time to turn my attention fully to my creative process and organizing my music for release with a much deeper level of focus and intent. I made a mental inventory of the musicians I connected with creatively during my time out in the music scene before the pandemic, and I began putting together material I had been working on to get in to the studio. In the Fall of 2020 I linked up Drummer/Producer Davonte “Deuce” Harris and began recording the material that would become the last 3 singles I have put out in the last year, as well as some of the music that will be a part of my first full length EP that I am releasing this year. In the last year I’ve had to navigate a lot of uncertainty, as many people in the world have, but I feel blessed to be able to put more of myself in to creating my vision with intent. I also feel that the more uncertain times have made me put more faith in to my music purpose as it has been the thing that’s keeping me grounded and providing meaningful direction. I really see this time, and the time that unfolds as the pandemic restrictions fade, as being the thick of it for me where I am focusing on creating the best music I possibly can, putting it out in to the world, and fortunately as of recent, playing it live for the people again!
I’m here to create great music and to spread a loving message. I see the music I am creating as a vessel for expressing my truest self, inspiring others to connect with their truest selves, and to spread beauty all around through sound and message. I strive to create that which is real that hopefully others can resonate with!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love Los Angeles and all of the unique places it has to offer. What I really love about L.A. is how it feels like a place that integrates so many different worlds with their own flavors all in to one area.There really is something exciting for any kind of person to check out. Here are some of my favorite spots!
Music Venues: The Troubadour, The Viper Room, The Roxy, The Study, The French Quarter Bar & Grill, Silver Lake Lounge
(Recurring) Live Music Events : The Boost Collective Show, The Juice Joint (Live from the Studio), The Pocket LA, Pulsar Jams,
(Live) Comedy: The Comedy Store, Hollywood Improv, Skiptown Playhouse
Beaches: Venice, Santa Monica, Hermosa
Hiking/Nature Views: Fern Dell Nature Trail (Griffith Park)
Favorite Bars/Clubs: Clifton’s Republic, No Vacancy, Dirty Laundry, Jones, The Waterfront (Venice)
Restaurants: El Coyote, Antonio’s, OO Kook Korean BBQ Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to personally thank all of the amazing musicians, producers, and visual creators that I have gotten the pleasure of working with during my time living in LA so far. This includes anybody that has worked on any of my projects so far, live or in the studio. I have really enjoyed getting to learn from so many uniquely talented musicians, artists, and visual creators that have helped me along my journey. I want to give a special shout-out to my fans from all around the world who have already become a part of this journey in these early stages and believing in the music and the vision as it progresses. And of course a big thank you to the support of my family and friends who believe in me and what I am doing.
Other: Listen to DKupe’s music on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3H4QQL2oxcYJyHEpoIBWRd?si=SncT6Hx6Ru2rz7u_EeaPOg Listen to DKupe’s music on Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/dkupe/1469655653
Picture Credits: Devlon Short (Onslaught Pictures), Conor Romero (Photos in the Arts)