Well, for 24-year-old Dasha Chadwick her voice can easily persuade the toughest thug to ponder settling down. The Bay Area beauty with dark brown eyes has been blessed to find a name within the music business. With current projects ranging from writing songs for artists in conjunction with O Music to her new song "Over You" Ė Ms. Chadwick is clearly a focused young lady motivated to accomplish all of her goals.
Beauty & Brains sits down with this ethno-musicologist as she chops it up about her humble beginnings in music, why the song sheís singing is a ďsolo,Ē and speaks on lessons learned while being in the business.
Beauty & Brains: Your name is Greek for ďGift of God,Ē right? So, how are you a gift to the music world?</b>
Dasha Chadwick: I would say so because nowadays people tend to sound like everybody else and looks are considered to be more important than vocal ability. I feel like my focus is on my vocal ability and my lyrics. I think that thatíll be a gift to the music industry Ė especially to the consumer. People are getting tired of the cookie cutter singer thatís been seen before. With me, I donít want to just be famous, but my goal is to be able to maintain my lifestyle with only doing music; if that means being famous at a Beyoncť level, then so be it. I think that the industry needs something like me. The fame is not the focus, I just want to be able to do my music and live. I feel like that there are certain sounds that become hot and then everyone wants to copy it. For instance, Akon does it and now T-Pain does it and a lot of artists have songs that are similar. You just donít see people doing anything original. But I know that the major artist doesnít have the control anymore, it now belong to the industry. You can see how a director will do the same video for two different artists; even the concepts will be the same. Every artist has their style, but itís just ridiculous and crazy.
B&B: You started at 13. So, what was the first song that you wrote?
DC: I started writing at 13. [Laughs] The first song that I wrote wasÖ I used to make songs up when I was a little girl. I think it was called, ďWhy, Oh, Why Do I Fall In Love With You.Ē It was my first song that I ever recorded.
B&B: How do you come up with your songs?
DC: Drama fuels my writing. I write from real experiences. Even as a little girl when Iíd have problems, Iíd write letters and poems to my mom. Iíve always written things down. In order for me to sing from the heart, I want to share with people my pain. I identify with Mary J Blige and Chaka Khan. I love Donny Hathaway. I listen to him all the time. Thatís an artist.
B&B: How would you say that your style has grown over the years?
DC: I trust myself more. In the past, I was trying to fit into some type of category; whether it was pop or otherwise. Iíd work with people in the industry and they would say that Iím not ďMyaĒ enough. We look nothing alike and I have not been dancing. But now, I donít care. I explore more different genres of music. Most of my singing style and writing style is more soulful, but youíll hear me over a rock track or a mellow Jazz beat.
B&B: Whatís the weirdest song that youíve ever done?
DC: Thatís a good question. I find that I donít delve that much into those territories. I usually do crazy concepts while doing spoken word. I like to play on words and metaphors and symbolism. I do that more in my spoken word. I used to act, so I can do that more with spoken word than singing. But recently, I did a rock track that was out of place. Itís called ďBlow UpĒ and it was basically a letter to the industry, but it was worded in a weird way. I incorporated a whole lot of things into the song. I am mainly a relationship oriented singer and people thought that this track was interesting.
B&B: Are you singing to somebody now?
DC: For many reasons. I think that Iím where Iím supposed to be and that person hasnít come for a reason. In general, men perceive, treat and talk to me in a different manner. L.A. is a different beast entirely. I definitely do know that, for sure. Anyone who says that they donít want to be loved is full of shit. That natural want inside of me keeps me entertained with the idea of being in a relationship, but it never works out.
B&B: What do you write about when you go through no more pain?
DC: Itíll change. I also use people who go through it, too. People are really great for writing for themselves and others can write for themselves very well, too.
B&B: How do you feel about the state of music now?
DC: Itís really sad to me. I grew up totally engulfed in the industry and I would stay up to watch every award show. I was in awe of these amazing and talented women. Donít get me wrong there are a lot of those now, but the focus isnít mainly on music now. Itís not the main priority. I think that change needs to come. The consumer is not going to continue to go that way. People canít even go platinum nowadays. The industry is going to have to revamp and find out whatís important. These multi-billion companies arenít going to sit, watch and lose all of those billions of dollars. I just hope that when that change comes that Iím ready to jump in.
B&B: You just recently graduated from UCLA. How was that accomplishment?
DC: UCLA was a good experience. It taught me a lot about myself. The Black population was like 3% there. So to go to there from the Bay was a culture shock; but I learned how to operate in dual worlds. I was very blessed to get in. I got to work with a lot of Jazz legends, so I canít complain other than the fact that the Black student rate is low. But I stayed strong and got through it. Everything in life is what you make it. I know people who wouldíve just crumbled while they were there.
B&B: For those who may not know Ė what is ethno-musicology?
DC: Itís the study of world music and how it relates to the cultures within the world. We study African drum ensembles. Learn the types.
B&B: With your goals and aspirations being so lofty Ė what have been a few setbacks that youíve ultimately learned from?
DC: Never let anyone tell you who you are or what you should be. I wasted a lot of time when I did that. I also learned to not feel bad about not trusting everyone around you. There may be someone who wants you to trust them with everything they had, but that may not be right. You have to be careful with your career. Thatís your baby and thatís what you have to protect. You have to be that cautious because you only have one shot. Always take time for yourself. Thereís one thing about hustling, but you have to rest too. I was hospitalized three times for dehydration. Donít be afraid to say what you think. This is an industry that if you want to be liked by everyone on a business level, then you donít want to be in it. Everyone is going to get screwed a little, but you have to be able to say no when you feel the best. If you canít say that, then youíll be screwing yourself over. Youíre dealing with people who talk for a living.
B&B: On your MySpace page, you have a song called Ė Rescue Me. What is one thing that youíve been rescued from in life?
DC: Iíve been rescued from possibly staying where I was and not pursuing my dream. That was a big moment. When I applied to UCLA, I was sick previously before. I had a form of laryngitis and when I went to go sing at the Apollo, I wanted to pursue a career. If I didnít have that I would probably have three kids and a house. Thereís no way that I could get prepared in a month. My dad prayed for me and I prayed and I appreciated my talents and it worked. I only applied to UCLA and no where else. After that, I got in and that was a total save.
Loved the tale of the songbird? Want to hear her delicate voice some more? Check her out on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/dashamusic.