Home Headlines Dana Vaughns Talks ‘Familiar Strangers’ & Performing With Kanye West – Hollywood...

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Dana Vaughns Talks ‘Familiar Strangers’ & Performing With Kanye West – Hollywood News

If Dana Vaughns is a ‘stranger’ to you, you’ll shortly wish to turn into ‘acquainted’ with the following large identify in R&B. He talks with us about his EP, how wild it was to bop at Kanye West’s Coachella set, and extra.

So, how was your 2019? It doesn’t matter what you’ve performed, you haven’t achieved extra up to now twelve months than Dana Vaughns. Nobody has, actually. In a single calendar yr, he has: portrayed Curtis “Contemporary” Edwards on the brand new BET hit collection, American Soul; danced alongside Kanye West at Coachella and with Cardi B and Offset throughout their BET Awards efficiency; and on Nov. 1, launched his debut EP, Acquainted Strangers. Not unhealthy for a man who’s about to show 22 years outdated.

Dana Vaughns speaks with a self-assurance past his years, a confidence that comes after spending over a decade of expertise within the music business. As one in every of, as Dana tells HollywoodLife, one in every of “the pioneering child dancers within the business,” he was concerned in leisure at an early age – and he was good. His abilities resulted in some high-profile appearances on every little thing from Child Bopz 16 to the Hannah Montana {movie}. His stint in boy band IM5 yielded some success, however evidently all these early-career sparks have been meant to gentle the hearth that’s Acquainted Strangers.

Six tracks that deftly weave collectively ‘90s R&B and hip hop with trendy manufacturing, Acquainted Strangers showcases the various ranges of Dana’s songwriting. It’s a robust method to cap off a yr that established simply how a lot Dana is a legend within the making. Dana spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife about dancing with Kanye and Cardi, concerning the story behind Acquainted Strangers’ beautiful cowl artwork, and the way he’s going to do much more in 2020.

HollywoodLife: Your debut EP, Acquainted Stranger,  has come out. You’ve appeared on BET’s American Soul. And also you carried out with Kanye West at Coachella AND with Cardi B and Offset on the BET Awards. So, the vital query is: are you exhausted?

I’m blessed, I’ll say that. That doesn’t imply you don’t get drained. I can positively say this may be the primary vacation season — being 21 now, nearly 22 — that I’m truly wanting ahead to trip and really feel like I want it. Whenever you’re youthful, trip’s only a enjoyable factor with your loved ones and issues like that. However, yeah, I believe all my accolades this yr are a check to me being like, “All proper, you realize what? I want per week to relax.”

How did you land the gig of dancing with Cardi and Kanye? Did they name you up realizing you had all the proper strikes?

I imply, to a level, yeah. I’ve been out in LA since 2008 or 2009, and I used to be type of one of many pioneering child dancers within the business to have the ability to work with Jabbawockeez and Chris Brown and The Pussycat Dolls all earlier than I used to be a young person. It’s one thing that lots of people can’t say that they’ve performed, so simply to have that rapport within the dance business. Shout-out to Fatima Robinson, who’s a artistic director who actually simply type of known as me direct for each of these.

Really, no, Tanisha Scott did BET for Cardi, excuse me. However, yeah, she simply known as me immediately for Coachella. Referred to as me on Wednesday at 3:00, saying I needed to be at rehearsal at 3:30, and we’re going to Coachella the following day. That was some of the surreal experiences. It was simply so quick. And to see every little thing that Kanye performed with Sunday Service since Coachella, I really feel like was actually the launching pad for every little thing that he’s performed with it to date. So, to be part of that and simply being a believer myself, to have the ability to unfold God and simply music. You recognize what I’m saying? To tens of millions of individuals in a single sitting and simply on one stay stream was unimaginable.

Then Cardi and Offset, that was simply numerous enjoyable. It was taxing on my physique for certain. You don’t get to see all of the angles on digicam, however we have been doing numerous dancing, and it was nice to see. That they had their child [Kulture] there. You see numerous issues within the media, however I imply they nonetheless put household first.

Whilst you have been engaged on these main productions, did you choose up on something that might assist your profession? “Oh, that is what they’re doing? I’m going to try this too.’

Greater than that. Since I’ve been on each side, now an artist and blessed to have followers that help me. However I’ve additionally been a dancer. I’ve seen that facet. I simply know how one can act in rooms. I simply attempt to have the identical integrity and respect that I need my dancers to have for me once I’m in rehearsal. I believe that’s simply one thing that enables me to even join with the artists typically totally different than that. I don’t have to come back as much as them and say, “Hey, I’m an artist too.” However the truth that they only see how I’m shifting and simply to not be in sure conversations to do that or no, simply be in your spot. Individuals actually discover these issues as a result of that’s the kind of stuff I observed once I’m of their sneakers. It’s simply mutual respect greater than something.

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You simply dropped Acquainted Stranger. It’s an attention-grabbing title, and the quilt depicts you in three totally different levels of a relationship. There’s clearly a deep idea at work with this. Did you’ve got a hand within the shoot?

So, yeah, the title, Acquainted Strangers, I like it as a result of it’s contradicting. If you happen to take heed to the challenge, it’s all first-time experiences in a brand new love relationship on the time of my life. There’s a lady that I’ve identified since I used to be youthful, and I didn’t even notice she was the inspiration behind numerous this stuff. Although I had identified her for thus lengthy, we haven’t actually skilled many issues collectively like that. I described her as a tune, “Tough Rider.”

I didn’t actually know what we have been going to be this intense, however since I met you, I’m like, “Okay, that is greater than only a one-night fling.” It is a ‘trip or die’ kind of scenario. You then hear “Cupid” on the challenge the place I’m caught in between two ladies. Making an attempt to resolve this one or this one. Whenever you speak about that image [on the EP artwork] the place I’m sitting down on the sofa, that’s actually while you’ve been with any person for a yr, and also you’re going by way of issues. It’s like, “All proper, we nonetheless love one another, however I’m annoyed at you proper now,” you realize?

I simply really feel like ‘acquainted’ describes the emotions which you could have with any person which you could relate from an outdated expertise, or simply even with your self. Then the ‘strangers’ simply actually the thrill a part of any person being new. I believe the six songs that I placed on there actually put that into perspective rather well. I’d say so.

To the quilt, I used to be part of that. We truly had a pair choices for the quilt artwork. Shout-out, my boy C. Brady, Chad Brady, he’s an important photographer. I’ve identified him for 3 years, and we simply bought collectively like, “What describes the challenge? And what’s timeless?” I believe that cowl artwork simply appears like an outdated ’70s or ’80s artwork that I might see in a file retailer.

Paige Kindlick

Whilst you have been engaged on this, did you uncover any inner conflicts or contradictions?

In ending the challenge? Sure, I’ll say that. The final tune added to the challenge was “Cupid,” and it was a making an attempt time in my relationship standing. I’m speaking to this woman and never positively the place I’m at, however very a lot have some kind of affection for her. I needed to actually push by way of. I’m like, “You recognize what? Let me simply be weak. Let me simply put this on there.” Greater than, I believe, simply having to a unique emotional degree. I govt produced this EP, which I’m very proud about, however I believe that took lots out of me too.

As a result of, often, I’m simply on the writing facet and the recording facet, however now I’m on a manufacturing facet as effectively. So, it’s nearly double the time and double the work. Nevertheless it was simply nice. I felt like I proved lots to myself that I might do it. The response from the followers has been proof of it. Even when they didn’t reply, I do know I did job. Yeah, it’s wonderful. It’s loopy to be right here in New York and simply enthusiastic about the entire thing.

Your video for “Cupid” is a drastic departure out of your “DNA” video, which was this extremely choreographed, one-take shoot. “Cupid” is simply you and a digicam.

Yeah, I didn’t wish to have a full out video. Really, we have been capturing the quilt artwork, the primary model of the quilt artwork that by no means got here out, and we had some downtime. I used to be like… as soon as once more, Chad Brady and my supervisor, Nick DeMoura, we have been there. I used to be like, “Let’s simply movie one thing actual fast.” If you happen to discover within the video, the framing that we selected, it’s smaller than the total factor, simply to nearly make it really feel like a documentary as a result of it’s such a weak tune and actually simply type of expresses the place I’m really at in my life.

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I didn’t need the visuals to confuse the idea. I simply wished individuals to look at it and take heed to the lyrics for what it was.

It felt a little bit of a throwback, which ties to your Acquainted Strangers. It’s been described of ‘90s R&B combined in with a contemporary sound. What drew you to R&B initially?

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I believe it’s simply what’s in my coronary heart. I’m glad that I do write all my very own stuff and that I’m in a position to try this, so I’m not tied right down to a sure style or a sure lane, and it’s not like I’ve to select one. Then I can go to those producers and saying, “Hey, I desire a hip-hop tune. I wish to R&B tune.”

My favourite artist of all time is Jill Scott. So, if that provides anyone a way of the place my head’s at, how I grew up. I believe that’s actually why R&B connects with me so effectively. I believe it’s linked to lots of people on this planet now.

For some time, it was not that it was shunned in any means, however it simply didn’t get as a lot play. Now that simply within the forefront of our cultures, ladies and totally different races and various things like that, I believe it’s permitting R&B to come back again to the floor prefer it did within the ’90s. I’m simply glad to be part of that new push. I’m actually simply making an attempt to present individuals over some actual music. As a result of there’s numerous every little thing these days, and it’s very saturated. I’ve numerous religion in myself and a few different up and coming R&B artists to essentially deliver it again.

Together with American Soul, you’re on Mindy Kaling’s upcoming Netflix collection. What led you in entrance of a digicam?

Appearing’s at all times been one thing that’s at all times been there. I can’t say that I watered my appearing flower day by day like I do my music, however it’s positively one thing that I do know that I’ve a expertise in. I did it once I was youthful. I had a few brief movies and commercials and issues like that. However appearing is without doubt one of the issues I actually realized is you get higher with the expertise, actually with something. However in appearing, there are such a lot of totally different scripts that you simply’re despatched, and there are totally different roles and unhappy and joyful. You actually bought to only develop and be an grownup and be capable of connect with sure issues.

I believe that’s why I flourished in appearing within the final yr, get American Soul, after which to get this Mindy Kaling factor and in addition simply the roles and auditions which can be being despatched my means now, fairly substantial.

I’m excited to see the place appearing takes me. Truthfully, I believe this yr is the primary yr that I can say I’ve constructed a rapport within the appearing business and beginning to get to know sure casting administrators and issues like that. I believe that’s a testomony to the exhausting work past something. Simply as you guys know, these relationships within the buildings with the individuals are extra vital than even the roles themselves. I’ve excessive hopes for myself in that.

A brand new yr — and a brand new decade — is across the nook. What’s one factor you’re going to in a different way in 2020 than what you probably did this yr?

That’s query. Properly, I can say it’ll be a couple of factor. I at all times attempt to enhance myself simply as an individual every year. II by no means actually ask for permission an excessive amount of, however I really feel like subsequent yr, I’m simply going to be slightly bit extra daring with how I transfer and what I say and what I do. As a result of I actually do consider in what I’ve. This EP has proven that to me, and my objective is to have a full album subsequent yr and actually simply inform the individuals what they want.

That’s not me being cocky or nothing like that, however I’m bored with stuff that’s not feeding the individuals. Blow up. That’s why so many simply really feel so unfulfilled. I’m not self-driven. I’ve been within the business since I used to be 10. I’ve by no means had no objective, or my mother and father aren’t dwelling by way of me, or this and that, it’s similar to… I simply love with my craft, I really like God. And primarily based on that, I believe I’m going to be straight, actually. I’m simply going to essentially not ask for permission. Even when it’s bought to be me on my own doing it, I’m going to do it. That’s actually the most important change, in all probability.

Dana Vaughns’ Acquainted Strangers is out now.

 

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Boyd Willms
Boyd Willms was always fascinated by the workings of the human body. Nothing for him could have been beter than being a health news journalist to get more insights by scientific community dedicated to better health. By writing news articles for the latest happenings in the world of health, he aims to create awareness among the readers to help them include healthy options in their daily lifestyle. Apart from writing, he also takes care of the editorial team at Scoop Square24.