28 Jul DJ 4Rain Raises Our Awareness About the Environment [Exclusive Interview]
DJ 4Rain Raises Our Awareness About the Environment
Not all DJs raise our awareness about the environment but DJ 4Rain does. This Sony and Grammy-nominated artist gives you a look into his mind and discusses who inspired him growing up as well as what’s led to his success today. He also shares some important advice for new artists. DJ 4Rain also just released his latest single “I Don’t Belong” which is a catchy earworm you’ll be popping your head to in no time.
When and how did you find your passion for creating music?
Well, music has always been part of my life and from a very young age, I was making songs with object fun without knowing I’d be creating music on a professional level. Creating music as a producer, I would say it started getting serious about 10 years ago.
Who are five of your favorite artists you looked up to growing up? What mark did they leave on your childhood?
The number one artist without question is Michael Jackson, the kind of pop. He was an incredible performer. I also listened to Stevie Wonder as my dad liked him and I grew up listening to his music and I still do sometimes. Another favorite is Cesaria Evora “The Barefoot Diva,” from Cape Verde island where my parents are from.
Charle Aznavour was probably the best French singer of all time and was sampled all over the world. I have a lot of admiration for his career and what he was able to accomplish. As I transitioned into my teenage years, I’d also have to say David Guetta because he is an example and an inspiration for me.
How would you describe your artist branding and style?
I grew up listening to a lot of hip hop with my brother but in my twenties, I was introduced to house and electronic music. I started to listen to different DJs and producers like Carl Cox, David Guetta, Tiesto, Paul van Dyk, and listening to all of them led me to EDM. This is where I am and it’s my number one style even if I can create other styles.
What were a few different pieces of the pie that came together for you to ultimately get signed to Sony? What advice would you give to people who want to pursue a music career and go down a similar path to you?
After the release of my first single “Call Me” which was well received by the fans, I was looking to work with a label to help me keep growing. It was not easy to get to them but I kept on working and through a contact, I was able to send a couple of songs I had ready and they selected “Whatever.”
The song entered a couple of charts in Europe, the US, and Africa. I was not expecting that to be honest but I’m super happy I could provide the fans a great song with a beautiful natural video that we shot in the south of France.
In terms of advice, I recommend any artist to focus on working instead of counting hours because you wonʼt be able to survive in this business if you are not willing to make sacrifices. When I say sacrifices I should say invest in yourself and put time into your career if thatʼs really what you want to do. Also, try to keep things professional as much as you can and surround yourself with people who will lift you up.
In the past, you have done brand collaborations with companies such as Nike, Daniel Patrickʼs clothing collection, H&M, Talentless, and Fashion Nova. As a current partner with Bang Energy, what is your favorite flavor? What other brands would be a dream come true for you to partner up with?
Yes, I love fashion in general so thatʼs why you have been seeing me collaborate with different brands. The most important thing is for me to fall in love with the product. I need to be able to use the product in my everyday life because I donʼt want to just be an influencer for something I would not use or agree with in terms of their politics. I am pretty open to any brand or anything just as long as it doesnʼt damage my career or personal life.
What is the most important lesson you have learned as an artist even if it was a tough experience to go through?
I am naturally a positive thinker and believe in honesty and trust but I had to learn the hard way that in this industry you canʼt just trust anybody that shows up to your door. Because certain people will try everything to take advantage of you. Luckily, JLV from Uknow Entertainment has been here from day one. Together we have been able to stay on track for the most part.
What are the three things you love most about living in Miami, Florida? How has this city impacted your sound and how you create music?
I’ve been living in different beautiful countries and each city where I stayed was great with nice people. I lived in London for a few years and I’ve also lived in the south of France, Paris, Montreal, and Toronto. Truly, I had a great time in each of those cities. When it comes to Miami however, I have to say there is no place like Miami.
The weather, energy, and fact that there are no seasons make it seem like mentally you’re not aging at the same speed as if you were living elsewhere. This impacts my music in a good way because there is no stress. Itʼs hard to explain but when I am there my music sounds different.
What is one major fact your fans might not know about you yet but should?
One major fact my fans might not know about me yet but should I would say is that I am very sensitive when it comes to nature and the environment. I am not part of any organization or activist group so I speak for myself.
I try to be respectful and grateful to live in this beautiful world. As you can see we are very small creatures and we could be wiped out in no time. We just have to look at what Covid-19 did in six months. We should be more cautious in the future.
Although the negatives are monumental, how has the pandemic positively affected your life and music career?
Well, I like to look at things with a positive view and I took the time to work on my music since there is no rush to release it. I took more time to develop the sound of my instruments and basically work on all aspects surrounding my music. These are things that I’m not necessarily looking at when I’m touring or in the studio with other artists.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as a musician so far?
The industry is tough and very few people believe in you. To me what has always been hard is not receiving support from certain friends and family members. I know what to expect when I have to deal with people in the industry but I was not prepared to deal with certain close people.
How have you changed your production process from earlier singles like “Call Me,” “Play the Beat,” and “Whatever” compared to what you are currently producing right now?
Every song was created with a different approach and every time separated between ten to twelve months. So in between that, I was traveling all around and was exposed to a lot of different sonorities and different vibes. Now you will mostly hear EDM from me, but that doesnʼt mean I wonʼt produce for an artist in pop, dance hall, or hip hop.
Your latest single “I Donʼt Belong” is about raising our awareness of our connection with the environment. Which environmental issue do you believe is the one our planet needs to prioritize most?
I have been doing work that takes me to different parts of the world and I have seen things that made me sad. I wonʼt mention any countries because I donʼt want to offend anyone and I believe those issues need to be addressed by big corporations and governments all around the world.
Rivers are being used as a dumpster. To me this is insane. I’m trying to send a message through my music because I am not part of any association or activist group. We could speak about that for days…
When was a point in your life when you felt like you didnʼt belong and what changes did you make to shift that reality for yourself?
I think it was about two and a half years ago I started to pay attention to this matter. When you travel you see a lot of things, some are amazing and some are very hard to watch.
When it comes to the environment I think we all can relate regardless of the belief and traditions because the consequence is the same for each one of use. In my personal life, I try to change my bad habits and I educate myself more on the subject.
What marketing strategies did you implement for your track “Game” to hit over 2 million streams on Spotify?
The song “Game” was Nyso’ song who is a French rapper. I made the beat and Nyso wanted me to be on the song so we did it. When it came to marketing, I can’t answer it because it was under his management. The only thing I know is that it was a success. Nyso has a big fan base in French-speaking countries.
What advice would you give to an up and coming artist who wants to pursue a career as a music producer and also has a goal of a Grammy nomination?
Whoever wants to start a career in music needs to able able to make sacrifices and be focused because hours are long and itʼs not a 9 to 5 job. Surround yourself with people who will serve your best interests. You will need a manager, lawyer, and publicist when you’re ready to start a real career.
Which three artists would you like to collaborate with in the future? Why?
I already work with amazing artists but if I had the opportunity I would like to work with The Weeknd, Ed Sheeran, and Adele. There are a lot more artists I would love to collaborate with but you only gave me three choices. Haha!
These three artists are extremely talented. Every time they release a new song they come up with something different and that just doesn’t happen with every artist. This is why I would feel honored to work with one of them on a new project.
Which hotspot venues do you hope to perform at one day? Why?
With no hesitation Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Florida. I donʼt know if you had the chance to go there but itʼs crazy. It would be perfect for me. Why? I live in Miami most of the time so it would make it even more special for me. My brother JLV is there and my nephew was born there. I’m very attached to the city.
Where do you see yourself with your career in five years? Are you interested in potentially mentoring other artists, launching your own record label, or creating your own clothing brand?
Five years from now I will still be young. Haha! But on a serious note, I hope I will be part of the best top DJs and producers in the world. For the branding, we are already working on it and in a couple of months, we should have a collection ready. The label will follow. Thatʼs part of the plan.
What new music do you have coming up in the pipeline?
I have a few songs ready. One song is with Emeli Sandé and a special guest. I also have a song with Niniola and Wiz kid. I’m working on a project with Farina who is a Colombian singer. There’s even more stuff coming and you wonʼt be disappointed…