By: Kat Harlton
Certified international artist, successful record label executive and socially active community ambassador Duane Gibson (D.O), recently released his eighth studio album ‘Second Home’ via Believe Digital.
The album is a perfect representation of what D.O is all about, paving the way for the next generation with his inspiring words and catchy music. Second Home features the singles “Cmon Cuz”, “Quit That Job”, and “Made It From the 6ix”.
D.O spends a lot of time in the Netherlands and this was the inspiration for the album title Second Home. During these travels he met Netherland based producer Tantu, who collaborated on Second Home, providing D.O with the beats he needed to compose a new school spin on classic boom-bap.
D.O doubles as a motivational speaker so there is no shortage of lyrical storytelling in Second Home. D.O uses his platform to demonstrate how dedication has allowed his career to prosper, and his music encourages listeners to do the same.
D.O is also well known for founding his Stay Driven program, speaking and performing at over one thousand schools and reaching hundreds of thousands of students. Aside from this, he is also the driving force behind Northern Power Summit – regarded in the Urban community as one of the premier emerging conferences in Canada.
On April 2 D.O embarked on his ‘Second Home’ 26-date British Columbia school tour. Each show is a one-hour assembly that combines speaking with live performances to engage the audience while delivering a solid message.
Having such an accomplished career, it is obvious that D.O is bounded only by the hours in the day. In 2003, he set a Guinness World Record when he freestyled for nearly nine hours, sold tens of thousands of CDs, hit #1 on U.S. College Hip Hop Radio charts and traveled the world performing for sold-out crowds; D.O.’s success is defined in his own terms.
We had the opportunity to chat with the artist and discuss his latest album, motivational speaking and career highlights.
Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your latest album, Second Home?
D.O: I travel so much that people often joke that a place is my second home, but in particular the Netherlands have become one of those key second homes. I’ve been there over twenty times. If you aren’t familiar with the area you may think I only travel to Amsterdam, but the truth is I’m in places like Rotterdam and Groningen as well. I’ve built great friendships and have a lot of fans over there so I always like going back. And it also made sense to call it Second Home because the producer behind all of the songs – Tantu – is from the Netherlands. It was great to work with him and his sound.
Kat: What is your songwriting process like?
D.O: I wish there was one way I could write a song but then again it wouldn’t be as fun. I often will freestyle a flow to a song. I try to get the hook and the concept and then will begin writing. Sometimes the inspiration will come while I’m driving and I’ll have to put it down as a voice memo. The first song on the album “Second Home pt 3” is a result of trying a few different songs to start off the album but the first two just didn’t work, so I stuck with part three!
Kat: What’s been one of the most memorable moments of your career so far?
D.O: I’d have to say rocking it in Singapore. We played at Music Matters, which takes place there, and we had a show in front of the city right downtown. It was packed the crowd was hype. We had a blast!
Kat: Can you talk about your ‘Second Home’ 26-date British Columbia school tour, and why motivating students is so important to you?
D.O: British Columbia has also become my second home! As I was saying about Netherlands – where people associate it with Amsterdam – a lot of people think of B.C. and just think about Vancouver. I love it there, but I also like venturing out to Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Prince George, and of course Gibsons – since that’s my last name. It’s been a lot of fun connecting with youth all across the province.
Kat: Was there someone as a kid who inspired or motivated you?
D.O: One of the key parts of my show is talking about role models. Will Smith was a role model to me as a kid – first as a rapper, because I could relate to his song “Parents Just Don’t Understand” and because it was funny. Then through the TV show Fresh Prince of Bell-Air because of the life lessons on the show. Will’s character was funny, but he was also smart. His whole career has been inspirational.
Kat: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists looking to get into the hip-hop/entertainment industry?
D.O: Music should always be the fun part. Learning – and executing – the business is what will help artists in the long term. That part isn’t always as fun but its key. It’s just like practice for an athlete. Finally, I’d encourage artists to get out from their hometown – or even just from their neighbourhood – explore your province, the country, and internationally if you can!
For more on D.O Gibson, visit: http://www.iamdo.ca