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Meet David Emmanuel

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Emmanuel.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My Path in music started from an early age. My Dad is a musician and my Mom is a dancer, so I grew up in a pretty artistic family. They always encouraged me and my brother to pursue any type of creative outlets we could find. I was also really fortunate to go to public schools that had really good music programs. I was playing saxophone and drums in all types of bands, from orchestras to jazz bands, starting around 5th grade.

While I was getting all this classical training in school, hip-hop really started to take over my life outside of it. Just growing up listening to Producers like Dr. Dre, Dj Quik, Dilla Etc, I realized early on that I was more fascinated by beats than the actual full song itself. Listening to Kanye West’s first album really made me start making beats though. I was just sitting there in my room, dumbfounded, like “How is he making all this!”. After that, I started making beats on Garage Band. I had no idea what I was doing but I fell in love with it. At the same time, I was starting to play drums very seriously.

I moved to New York in my early twenties to try to pursue my dreams as a professional drummer. It didn’t quite go as planned haha. I had a groin injury that I had to get surgery for and had to stop playing for like a year. During that time, I just dived into producing. I was going to every record store in the city to dig for samples. That was like my second phase of music school. I would read all the credits on the back of the records, looking for what instruments they used, who produced the record, all that. I was just looking for the illest samples to flip every time I pulled up to the record store. Slowly, I was able to start playing drums again, but after a while, I got burnt out of living in NY and moved back to Los Angeles.

Coming back to Los Angeles, I knew I was starting over. I also came to the realization that as much as I loved being a gigging drummer, producing was going to be my path into the music game. I just dived headfirst into it. I worked with anyone I could find. I went to showcases, was in beat battles, did whatever I had to do to link up with like-minded artists. Through that commitment to producing everyday, I met and started working with some of the most talented young rappers and producers in the LA area, many of whom I believe the world will hear about and embrace very soon.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No Way haha. Life is never a smooth road in general. There’s been times I questioned what I was doing. If I was good enough, all common thoughts that go through an artist’s mind. For a while, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play drums again professionally. At the same time, I didn’t know a single artist to give my music to and I was just bussing tables at a restaurant. I think the thing that kept me going was the fact that I discovered I had a passion for music early in life. That’s one of the biggest blessings you can have and you can’t waste it. I knew there was something there everyday that I couldn’t wait to do when I got home from work. Seeing the progress of getting better is what motivated me. Falling in love with the process and not worrying about anything else will lead you down the right path.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I started really pushing off professionally with music a couple of years ago, creating David Emmanuel Music, to represent me as a music producer and sound designer. On the production side, I’ve been fortunate to have linked up with a really talented crew from the Los Angeles/Inland Empire area which includes BREGMA, ICECOLDBISHOP, and JAHMED CARLISLE. Every time they play me some new music I instantly want to get back to work. There are too many talented artists from that squad! I also have been working with JAG, who is a rapper from LA and has a pretty incredible story on his come up. He is going to have big year. I have a couple of records out right now with VINNY VIRGO as well, who is a very multi-talented artist out of Tampa.

As a sound designer, I’ve recently been hard at work creating a whole line of original samples that I’m going to put out soon, which producers and artists can to use in their own work. The first sample kit is going to be original drum breaks that I played, mixing them to sound like vintage breaks from old funk records. They are going to be called “Emergency Breaks” and I’m looking forward to sharing them with my fellow producers.

I would say that what sets my business up to be unique, is the ability to tap into and combine all my musical influences outside of hip-hop and bring them to a hip-hop setting. I’m taking my 6th-grade jazz band class, drum practice sessions, local blues band gigs, mixing it with J Dilla inspired swing and putting it into every sample or beat I make.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Just being at peace with yourself. You can’t be battling negative thoughts in your head and be out here battling to make your dreams become a reality.

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Image Credit:
@naimanoguera, @chrisdesabota, @robfotografia

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