Interview: Donae'o talks retirement

With a 14-year music career encompassing various experimental musical elements, Donae’o has produced quality material for his fans and peers alike. However, it’s come to a time where he wants to hang up his artistic gloves and retire.

MOBO’s Kamran Assadi got down to the nitty-gritty about his retirement, his final mixtape project and his thoughts about being an independent artist.

Tell us about your recent single, 'Fire'?

Fire is a Dubstep record so I trained myself for four to five months to make that style of music because it’s intricate and complicated to make. I had to understand how to make it to the quality it needs to be. I was listening to Trap music because I didn’t want the vocals to be too complicated. I’ve noticed that a lot of Trap music is 140BPM but they’re rapping slowly so I attacked it that way, and the chorus is singing anyway.

What made you decide to retire?

It’s more retiring on the artist side of things. I want to carry on producing and writing songs for other people so I’m not giving up everything, I’m putting down one side of me and focusing on others.

Your final mixtape The Forest of Zephron will be released in January, what inspired the title?

Zephron is the name of my company and it’s the forest of my head, it’s basically where all my ideas come from. I thought that I’d be more personal with this album in regards to me and my personality because I’m allowing you to get inside my head.

What is your proudest achievement?

When I turned 23, I decided to become responsible and become a man, make money, look after my mum, take my music career seriously, and became a businessman.

Do you regret not being signed to a major label?

Never. My artistry has allowed me to experience certain things in life and me being a businessman has allowed me to exploit that and make money from it so I’ve been able to create a life that suits me. When you’re a producer and a songwriter, you can do what you want – when you’re an artist, you’re owned.

Is there a chance that you’ll come back from retirement?

There wasn’t until a few things started happening. I just got playlisted at Radio 1 for Not a Saint so as I closed the artist door, someone else opened it again. They didn’t just open it, they destroyed it and created a bigger door and then opened it, so there’s different options available to me now.

Any future projects lined up?

Not a Saint has been playlisted on Radio 1 and will be released on the 6th January – that’s Vato Gonzalez’s second single. This mixtape is going to come out but I’ll be pushing it for the whole year, I’m going to do a proper campaign with the record.

What does success mean to you?

I think everything you do has its own form of success. As a businessman, success is built on how strong your relationships are and how much money you make. In life, I see success as how strong my personal relationships are and how proactive I am in regards to making me happy and how happy I actually am. If I’m really happy then I’m successful in my life, and I’ve become successful in my life on both fronts.

The Forest of Zephron will be released in January 2013. 


Kamran Assadi