A DJ’s recipe for success

David Dann explained to The Corsair why he has been so successful in his field. “I think with talent, you either have it or you don’t. Hard work will always exceed talent, but if you can coincide both of them at the same time, then there’s no real recipe for failure.” Dann is a DJ who once roamed the Santa Monica College campus as a student. At the ripe age of 22, he is set to receive a degree in history from the University of California, Los Angeles, but not before completing a tour of South America to promote his first dance album, 'To Each His Own.'

One of his friends told him that he was number 76 on the charts, and the next morning his sister woke him up and told him he was number 19, “in front of Kaskade!” Then finally, not too long after, the young DJ broke into iTunes' Top 10 Dance albums list.

Originally from Long Island, NY, as a child Dann lived a transient lifestyle. He went back and forth between California and New York for years before finally settling in Los Angeles.

“I grew up with a kind of rough parental relationship. My parents never really got along,” said Dann. As a result, he and his mother developed a close bond that would prove to have an enormous impact on his musical career.

Dann’s mission in life was clear from the start - he would pursue a life in music.

“Music held a very delicate place in my heart. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it, but I knew it was always something that I breathed for,” he said.

With a mother who forced him to play the piano at the age of 14, Dann had only been playing for a year and half when he joined recitals alongside kids who had already been playing for four to five years.

“I kind of knew that I was good at it, and I loved it, but I couldn’t bear being taught how to play an instrument. I just don’t believe in being taught how to do those types of creative things,” he said. “I bet my mom regrets putting me into piano lessons now because she doesn’t really like what I do.”

Now that he has gained notoriety and a certain degree of fame, his mother's girlfriends constantly congratulate her, and that has “opened her eyes,” as Dann put it.

“My older sister is super supportive, and my younger sister is my biggest fan,” said Dann. “Now I have a bunch of cousins coming out of the crevice since the album dropped, hitting me with text messages like, ‘I love you! So happy that you’re my cousin,’ and I’m like, I haven’t spoken with you since I was ten, but that’s family.”

Dann considers the support system he has behind him, along with a tightly knit entourage, as his “team.” These people are spread throughout the States, from Los Angeles to Miami, and some even down in Brazil.

“No one on the team had any idea that we were going to hit the top of the charts, so when it came out, we were super amped. I had no idea how many albums we sold, I didn’t even care. For two days I didn’t sleep, I just didn’t need to sleep,” said Dann.

His mom shared in the excitement and shock, it had hit her. “She was a little more confident in me after that,” he said.

“I just want to bring real music to people’s ears, that’s my main goal. I think most artists today are just completely saturated and garbage, so I want to give people the opportunity to know the difference between good music and bad music.”

Dann described his music as a blend of vocals and house beats, and has drawn inspiration from artists like Sade and Eric Prydz - a smooth jazz songstress and an electro house disc jockey.

The House/Dance genre of music has been overflowing with aspiring artists, but David Dann hasn’t concerned himself with such stats. “I don’t worry about competition. I don’t believe in competition if you’re really good at something,” he proclaimed confidently.

Dann concluded; “it definitely isn’t a race to the finish line in life. Find your passion, wake up every morning and do what you actually like doing, rather than taking an engineering position or a doctor position, or whatever you’re kind of forced into. You should do what you like to do, and the money will come.”