The Leaders of the New Cool

Artist Profile: Donnis

Posted on: July 14, 2009

TONE_2008_Donnis_Sep21_062He is the consummate contradiction: High energy, but laid back. Party nut, yet relaxed homebody. Disciplined, however a rule-breaker—equipped with down south charm and cosmopolitan edge.

For 22-year-old fresh-faced Atlanta native and rapper Donnis, this contrasting personality is masterfully weaved into his music, resulting in an original and revolutionary sound. “There are two sides to me. As a person. Those two sides influence my music,” Donnis explains. Blending down south swagger similar to many of his idols (TI, Andre 3000) with uptempo club records, Donnis will have you rocking out to songs like “Party Works,” bobbing your head to the thought-provoking “Come Along,” and wooing the ladies with records like “Oh Yeah.”

Contradictions aside, the lyricist has opened for chart-toppers like T.I. and Erykah Badu in Japan while serving for the United States Air Force for four years. He performed at the “Bay to the A” concert in Anaheim, CA in early 2007 featuring rap’s heavy hitters Lil’ Jon, T-Pain and Rick Ross. A globetrotter whose been rapping and writing verses for years, Donnis has traveled to Thailand and South America and lived in Colorado, before making rap his full-time livelihood. And just how does a country boy attracted to big city glitz and glamour suit up for the Air Force while maintaining his rap game? “I got into trouble a lot. As soon as my shift was over I’d head to the parties and do shows. The next day I’d be late,” says Donnis, who would often oversleep and miss his scheduled three mile runs which resulted in verbal lashings from his Air Force superiors. “But I’m stronger because of it. I have a better work ethic and a lot of balance. As much as I complain about it I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for that experience.”

The quick-witted rapper credits his time in Japan as an essential growth period where he hustled to make a name for himself on the rap circuit. Donnis hooked up with DJ Masterkey and took the Tokyo hip hop scene by storm performing at venues such as Zepp Tokyo and Club Vuenos. Word around the city spread rapidly about the gifted rapper. In Japan, Donnis was able to develop an innovative musical style that didn’t fit the mold of what a typical country boy exhibits. “Seeing different parts of the country and world by the time I was 20 opened my eyes to alot of new cultures, new sounds.”

His southern accent, big city swagger and and groundbreaking music make him the complete package. Currently, Donnis resides in his hometown of Atlanta, where he is making a name for himself back home. He is also hard at work in the studio with some of the biggest producers in music including Ryan Leslie, Justice LEAGUE, Needlz, Tha Bizness, Don Cannon and more. Donnis plans to release his first project, Prelude To A Dream, in August.

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