“I do not seek to be true to anyone except myself.”

Damso, how have you managed to retain the public’s loyalty when your music is not necessarily played on the radio and you do not release your albums on a recurring basis?

Honestly, I’m not looking to retain anyone. Nor be faithful to anyone… I think some women can attest to this unfortunately! (smile) But I am true to myself and I believe that it is this link that I have with the public in the sense that it is more human, beyond the music. In my concerts where I got sick, it was because I spent more time taking photos outside than on stage. There are also albums that will be more loved than others because there will be more things that I will experience, that people will also experience but, the more I advance, the less I will experience things than certain people live. I don’t know if that’s it, but I think the audience finds themselves facing someone who is sincere about themselves.

How could being an artist from diversity, from immigration, be both a hindrance and at the same time an additional motivation to break through?

I think we should perhaps redefine the term “from an immigrant background”. Is it being a black person with certain difficulties? Honestly, it’s not so much the fact of having an immigrant background that held me back, not for rap anyway, because being a black rapper is common. The brakes were elsewhere. It was more in the way of seeing things. People didn’t see me in a big way, it was, ‘There’s no way you’re going to make it.’ At first, it put me off, because I almost believed it. And then, I told myself that it doesn’t concern me what people think of me. So, actually, I think it’s possible, so I’m just going to do it. This motivation was completely personal. I saw that things weren’t going well at home and that finally I could bring in money by doing this job and what’s more, by doing what I loved. That was really my personal motivation. The brakes were more in the eye of the other at the beginning. And that’s what I also want to fight. There are artists who don’t necessarily have that strength, who will panic in the face of that. But if there are structures, people who encourage them to move forward anyway, we can perhaps discover an extraordinary talent, a genius who was afraid to show himself.

Damso, like many other artists, came to Aya Nakamura’s defense – Ojoz
SH_ART_DAMSO_00685-2_(c) Ojoz.jpg

If you had to be an example of success today, beyond the record number of streams, what would you be an example of?

That question puts pressure on you! I would say an example of honesty towards myself, and not necessarily towards others. In all humility, I think I have reached a good level of honesty. I think I might even give away keys for that. I can more easily see my “dark” side in the mirror. This is the only place where I would say I can be an example…

And is being inspiring for the younger generation essential in your career?

No way! I don’t intend to be inspiring and I think you can be inspiring in spite of yourself. This is why I talk about honesty with oneself: I am an open book in a library available to everyone. You come and take what you have to take. If there are things that can inspire, so much the better. And there are other people who won’t be interested and they will move on. But I don’t intend to inspire more than that.



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