Diamond: Ya definitely. Music runs in my bloodline! It has for years. It’s a real blessing, and a privilege to have so many musical influences in my life. I grew up around many talented musicians of all genres. My Dad has always been a huge influence in my life. He’s a very well respected Singer/Harmonica player, well known in the Ottawa’s Blues scene as “Reverend Rod”. His father, (My grandfather) is also a well known and respected musician, he has a few albums under his belt too, down in Southern Ontario’s Country music scene. The list goes on and on, and that’s why it was natural for me to come in and do my thing. Even though I do Hip-Hop, the music is still in my blood, and the roots go deep, so my music is way more than just beats and rhymes. I’m constantly growing as an artist, and always attempt the unthinkable first.
CCHH: What was some of your early exposure to Hip-Hop?
D: Well, I guess the hood I grew up in, and people I grew up with played a big part in that, but it just grew on me, Hip-Hop just felt right to me, and nothing else mattered. I started break dancin’ when I was real young, and caught on to it quick..I used to kill it!.. Crisp windmills! Haha So I was into listening to Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow, Run DMC, Public Enemy, and all that. Then Obviously, everything evolved from there, if it was Hip-Hop, I listened to it. Pac, Big, Slick Rick, Big Pun, Wu-Tang, Sticky Fingaz, Beatnuts, Jay-Z…literally any and all Hip-Hop.
CCHH: Was it all straight hip-hop for you growing up?
D: Ya I’d say pretty much once i got into Hip-Hop, I didn’t even want to hear nothing else. I didn’t allow myself to take a liking to anything else but Hip-Hop. I also had a closed mind back then, but I grew out of that stage once music became more a part of my life then just what I listened to. I’m always branching out now, taking it wherever I can take it. I mean I’ve done blues meets rap, I’ve done house meets rap, dubstep meets rap so who knows what’s next man?
CCHH: You do a lot more than rapping, you DJ as well?
D: Ya but as I like to say, I’m NOT a DJ, I’m just a rapper that can beat match! Actually it’s funny because I love to spin house music, it’s one of my hobbies. I’ve been DJing since about 2007, and I’ve already played in some of Ottawa’s hottest clubs, and I did a live set on CKCU. I got boys who are DJ’s and I try to help them as much as I can by booking weekly gigs and putting them on, but obviously I continue to rap, I can’t put all my focus on DJ’ing. I’m always trying to do more. Something catches my interest, and all I want to do is learn how to do it myself. Now I do graphic design, Video production & editing, photo editing, and web design. I designed the artwork for my new album, and also designed my own website. I’ve designed some logos and stuff for some local cats but I mostly do it because I’m an impatient perfectionist, and I can’t stand waiting around on people, especially when i’m trying to make moves, you can’t have everybody’s schedule slowing you down, because at the end of the day, nobody cares about you and your plans, so just do what you gotta do to make your dreams come true.
CCHH: I hear you man. Do you feel like the art ties into each other?
D: Ya but it depends on your vision. For me, I would record a track, and I could see a video for it right away. I could see exactly how I would want a video done. So it was only a matter of time before I started doing video production. I’m building my video & design portfolio, you can see some of my work on my website, www.diamondhiphop.com.
I’m always learning more, getting better and better at it all. I am now doing videos for other artist’s as well, for info, y’all can hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org
CCHH: Cool man. So obviously you’ve been around Ottawa, tell us about some of the bigger shows you’ve done in the city.
D: My biggest, and most memorable show to date would have to be Corel Center (Scotiabank Place) in 2005. I won 1st place in the Five Minutes of Fame contest and a $1000. I mean the place was packed with people. It was basically my first real show as an artist, and it helped lead me to where I am now, and where I’ll be soon.
CCHH: How about some of the smaller clubs? Where do you prefer to perform?
D: Aha I can’t even say that anymore. All the clubs I loved to perform at are all closed down now. One I remember the most was Club Sin back when the 200 Carat Diamond mixtape came out, I did a sold-out show there for my release party. That was one of the best turnouts I’ve ever had.
CCHH: Have you performed anywhere outside the city?
D: Ya I’ve done shows outside the city but not outside of Canada yet. I’ve done Toronto, Montreal, Kingston, Edmonton, and a few others. Now we’re looking to go out of country for the tour though, I plan on making a few stops in Europe, Germany and the UK. We plan to branch out and start taking it by storm this year.
CCHH: Are you hoping to do a Canadian tour before that?
D: It all depends man. We’re looking over a few options right now, one of them is an opportunity to get exposure in Europe. As far as what the vision is, we see it like this: if we blow up in Europe and kill it on that side then we have the funding and the experience to come back to Canada blow up in my own country and basically the after that, keep surrounding the U.S. coming at it from all angles since its the hardest market to break into, but who knows what will come after this album. I’m taking it one day at a time, making the most of every day. I’m not trying get ahead of myself.
CCHH: What about studio work? There’s an album coming out soon?
D: Ya ya the album’s coming, it’s called Journey to the Beginning. It basically speaks for itself, the album ties into my journey over the last 12 long years, the point where I’m at now, which is just my beginning in the eyes of the world. Ottawa’s my city and I love it man but until I branch out and meet some of my long term goals, I’m struts getting started.
All the recording, mixing & mastering of the album is done by Beat Chemist. The man is a genius and I’m sticking with him. No studio in Ottawa compares, and that’s a bold statement but I’m making it.
Production by Epik & one joint from Beat Chemist. Features artists such as Belly, Danny Fernandes, Wes Fif outta Orlando, FL, Young Chill from Houston, TX, Marka from San Diego, CA, my man En-V, D chase, Freshman, Hazy. There’s a big roster, my bad if I forgot someone but it’s a long list. It’s a full length 18 track album, with a lot of work put into it. The final product is a masterpiece.
CCHH: Is there a date for Diamond fans to circle on their calendar?
D: I don’t have an exact date but it will be out this summer 100%. It’s going to be available in 52 online stores, iTunes, Amazon, the list goes on, and in stores across Canada. We got some hot singles lined up, it’s gonna be a hot summer!
CCHH: That’s cool man congratulations.
CCHH: So being a local dude how do you feel about the scene in Ottawa?
D: We have a lot of talent in this city man but it’s hard. I find a lot of artists are wasting their time. Not in terms of rappin, I don’t hate on anybody, I’m just saying someone will go in on a record one time, but then they don’t do anything after that for months, even years. It’s all about that consistency, I find we have so much talent that’s just wasted. People let this city get them down but you have to rise above it. Just do it! No Nike commercial, you just have to go in, work hard, but do it, or what are you doing? Nothing. There’s a lot of talent in this city for sure though.
CCHH: Do you have any hopes or expectations for hip-hop in Ottawa?
D: I hope this city gets taken a little more seriously so people don’t have to go to Toronto or whatever. It’s not a good look for us reppin our city but not living here. We see artists from Ottawa saying they from T.Dot to make a paycheck or whatever the case is, but everybody in T.Dot know you ain’t from there..not a good look, feel me? If you have the opportunity to do it somewhere else, do it but stay true to yourself.
CCHH: How about you? Where do you hope to see Diamond in five years?
D: Aha man I’ve been asked that question so many times. I mean I can’t tell my future but I have my vision. I know it sounds cheesy but this is my destiny, I only see myself doing music. As far as where I see myself in five years? I can’t really say. I don’t think anyone can say where they’re going to be. We’ll just hope for the best, keep working, and keep doing what we’re doing because it’s been working well for us so far.
CCHH: Any upcoming shows for Diamond?
D: There’s always shows coming up. For my show schedule, you can get it on my website, www.diamondhiphop.com It’s got everything you need on it too. There’s a video section where I post not just my videos, but I feature other artist’s videos too if I feel it deserves some extra promo! I got you CAP CITY!.
CCHH: Where else can fans find you?
D: You can get at me on Twitter @diamond_hiphop
and every other website is /diamondhiphop
FB Music Page is /DiamondMusicPage
DIAMOND | HIP-HOP | CANADA
Caalvin Jno-Finn (Management)
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