As someone who remembers signing along to Danny K’s “Hurt So Bad” from around age 9 or 10 to growing into an entertainment journalist that has never actually even seen or met the man, I was feeling a little amped to meet the multi-award winning R&B/Pop singer.
Nearly 15 after his career first kicked off, this soulful singer – who has a very diverse take when it comes to making music – is still as relevant as any artist who just got signed yesterday. From what I’ve noticed, a lot of the kids born in or after ‘93/’94 think Danny K is new in the industry. I recall talking to one of my friends, who is around 20-years-old, about one of Danny K’s new single titled “Personal Paradise” featuring Heavy K and Donald and she asked, “who is that new white guy who has a song with Donald?”
I composed myself and let her be, opting instead to just let her know that it was Danny K. It seems Danny has experienced this line of thinking for himself and he says that “I don’t mind the new kids thinking I just popped out of nowhere and made a hit. It means I’m still relevant to today’s market and my music is too”.
The Good Look album – which features his famous dog Banksy, looking dapper in a tweed jacket, orange/red pocket square and a button up shirt – is one that most definitely appeals to today’s market in more ways than one. The album (released in October 2013) created an opportunity for Danny to collaborate with Samsung Galaxy in order to create an amazing application for his fans and other Samsung users. This meant that the first 20 000 copies of the album were free for any Samsung Galaxy user to download.
“I mean I saw Jay-Z do it for his album and I thought to myself ‘this is a great idea!’ Then I also decided to do the same for my album, which also worked out really well. Though it was a lot of work developing this app, but the results were awesome.”
After taking the South African music industry by storm with this amazing application, Danny K went on to collaborate with two of SA’s most prominent artists. The first being Donald; who gave us hits like “Denial” and “Over The Moon.” The second was super-producer, Heavy K who has blessed us with heat like “Wena” and “Beautiful War.”The three came together to create one of the country’s biggest on-air hits.
“Look, I’m not gonna lie… I’m fortunate enough to have some of SA’s top artist being a phone call away. Donald is an amazing singer who’s been doing well so far, and so is Heavy K. I just brought them together to make one massive hit.”
Danny is one artist who also seems to have the uncanny talent for picking the artists he works with. He has been known to collaborate with industry greats like HHP, Brickz, and his long-time friend Mandoza, just to name a few. His collaborations have not only been great in the musical aspect but they have also been very influential on society. Having a white artist collaborate with so many black artists during the 90’s raised some eyebrows for a lot of people since the apartheid era/mentality was still fresh in their minds.
“It was very tricky and awkward sometimes because black people would look at me like ‘Yoh lo’mlungu’ and white people would still ask me if am I safe around black people in the townships” explains Danny.
“I actually paid no mind to that. I’m also happy that it was showing society that we should get over this racism thing and unite as one nation through music” he adds.
That’s not the only way Danny has played a role in social issues though. He is one half of the duo that created a campaign called SHOUT! which was aimed at raising awareness about crime in communities and South Africa as a whole.
Started by Danny and his industry buddy, Kabelo Mabalane the SHOUT! campaign has made great strides. Each year they also release a song for the campaign that features nearly everyone in the local music industry. Available for purchase or you can sms ‘VOICE’ to 49300. Each download costs 20 rands, and the proceeds go towards a variety of social development projects. After having won “Most Downloaded Song of the Year” three times in a row at the MTN SAMA Awards, it’s safe to say that it’s a very good song based on the amount of feedback they get from people and that it is most definitely raising awareness.
“I’m very happy about SHOUT! and the things we’ve been able to achieve through this initiative. We are currently building schools in disadvantaged communities and we have already built some in Mitchells Plain and Soweto.”
Adding, “I think we as celebrities tend to forget a few things when our careers start bringing in the money and that’s giving back. I’ve learnt that with great success also giving back can be one of your biggest achievements in life and you can help change someone’s life. Seeing the joy on people’s faces when these schools are built is something money can never buy.”
With the booming success of his album and his application in addition to the SHOUT! campaign managing to change the lives of children who dream of going to a school with decent buildings, Danny K’s good fortune came back to him ten-fold in the form of a bundle of joy that he and his wife Lisa Gundlefinger have decided to name Jayden.
Danny’s good fortune has also come back to him in the form of shares in one of SA’s most prominent headphone companies Rocka. At the end of it all, Mr. K has got the Midas touch.
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