PLAY IT FORWARD: Though it was sometime ago you parted ways with a local group that you were affiliated with and changed your name, can you expound on why if there was any reason at all?
Leon Darryl: “Yes, I decided to become more of an independent artist in 2010, I was not in a group it was more like a crew of talented independent artist under one umbrella, but because of our tight knit people always thought it was a group. Though I may not be an actual part any more I am still very much affiliated and still call them my brothers.
The move and even the name change was an effort to make the brand commercially exploitable. We felt, for example, that walking down Broadway who would the masses want to see, which name would attract a more diverse audience ATMoney or Leon Darryl?
Also, we felt like ATMoney was a generic name and it was very close in line with other artist who had similar brand names, we wanted no brand mix up whatsoever especially in a make or break music industry. From there we chose a more commercial direction and vied to go with my actual real names Leon Darryl so you know when you hear me it’s actually authentic. Despite that up to this day locally persons still call me “Money” or “A-T” so I think the name will always be associated with me regardless.”
PLAY IT FORWARD: Any particular fav tracks off of Diverse Versatility, and if so why?
As he giggles he responds,
Leon Darryl: “Yes yes of course, I love all. It’s so hard to pick because each track inspiration was created from a different experience which is worth something to my life but it’s definitely the tracks “What You Dealing With” featuring Yo Gotti just because it has that Bahamian feel to it with a major artist following suit and getting on board with it, also, the track “So Random” featuring Juicy J, and then you have one of my solo track “Broke To Ballin” which will be my next major single, but the whole mixtape is pretty dope it was produced by grammy nominated K.E on The Track, and Beat Mechanics and has definitely been a game changer for me.”
PLAY IT FORWARD: You seem like a well packaged artist in an industry that no longer invests in artists development. How important was it to get brand yourself and your artistic image?
Leon Darryl: “Yea, that’s the thing about it. Most artists always leave out the most important aspect of the music which is 90% business. After, conferences such as the “iCreate Music All Access Seminar” locally, and many more abroad we got a chance to learn, and understand the music business from a revenue standpoint.
We knew right away that the actual music was just the icing on the cake. This is why you see so many talented artist go down the drain and then you are left thinking well why are some of these artist who seem to have no talent still left. It’s not a big secret that though it takes skill once you have your networks in place and you are prepared people will always keep an eye open. Preparedness always meets opportunity. It’s kind of like when you go to the food-store which product are you going to buy? The one that is wrapped up nicely what you just have to open up and heat right away or the one that is raw and left out of a package that you still have to go home and cook? You tend to scorn the unpackaged one right? Most majors or any investors for that part will always go after the project that is the most packaged because it will be less work and cost them less money with a sure greater return, so just creating that lane and buzz for yourself is a goal within itself that we figured was basic and key to being a successful artist first, and then the rest would just fall into place. So far, so good.”
He continues with a smile.
PLAY IT FORWARD: It’s a new season for Leon Darryl, with a new mixtape out, a larger fan base and an active social media presence. What’s up next for you?
Leon Darryl: “With all the recent momentum we definitely are looking for a tour to go on just to expose the brand even more. Also, my new single “Broke To Ballin” is on the way and we are currently in the process of shooting that video right now. We just plan to stay consistent right now, we have so much work completed but it’s just being able to market everything properly.
I am in the process of completing a collaboration mixtape “Trendsettaz Vol 1.” with another young talented local artist on the come up by the name of “Sir’Roc” which should be out by next month. That should be a very exciting project and will do well. Then we plan to hit them with the EP album “Say No More” which is in progress right now and will be out either early next year or during the summer. We definitely are keeping it positive and staying humble at the same time.”
PLAY IT FORWARD: Which local artists, if any, could you see yourself collaborating with?
Leon Darryl: “I can definitely see myself collabing with Julien. We have been talking about and trying put it together it for a while but hopefully we will have that one ready for the people soon because the people are begging for it. I just came out the studio with G-5 but we haven’t put anything together yet so that’s something I’m sure that will be worked out in the future.
I’m also feeling what M-Deez is doing and his hustle game is crazy. Also, someone I would not hesitate to collab with who is making tremendous strides internationally is Angelique Sabrina. I definitely think that we could put together a platinum hit record that would benefit both sides greatly. Right now though, I am working with more of the up and coming artist because coming from the surface I know that’s where the hunger is at.
I am currently working on my first collaboration mixtape which is “Trendsettaz Vol1.” which is set to drop next month, with a very talented young local hip hop artist by the name of “Sir’Roc,” he brings that new era of Bahamian hip hop to the game so I can’t wait for you guys to hear the mixtape. It’s going to be crazy.
Other than that I have pretty much worked with every artist on this island already in some shape, form, or fashion all the records have just not been released yet. I got about 100 collabs in my basement *smiles*. The work has definitely been put in. ”
PLAY IT FORWARD: You got quite a few responses on Facebook when you asked who would love to see a Drake/Leon concert. Which other international acts, known or unknown, would you like to work with and in what capacity?
Leon Darryl: “Yea, I feel that somewhere in the future that is in the making because I just feel that we both are coming from countries that don’t consider hip hop as it’s number one genre and to pull something off like that overcoming that feat alone is something I think that we both have in common, and I think the vibes would flow right.
There are so many incredible artist in the world that it would be impossible for me to single out any individually. Since my focus is hip hop I definitely would like to work with more of the true lyricist such as a J.Cole, Kendrick, Wale, just to name a few, because I feel as though these dudes will push me to my full potential and cause my mind to reach higher heights. All of us want to be number 1 and by working on the side of someone who has the same passion for it like you do what else can come from it other than a classic. ”
PLAY IT FORWARD: What has been the one thing that has kept you pushing with your music, through college and into your adult years?
Leon Darryl: “The way that I want to inspire these kids to be more, or to want to do something that seems impossible or that they were told was impossible to do, and then to turn around and make it look easy in the front of those same people who doubted.
To show society that you don’t have to be a lawyer, doctor, and all that stuff they put in your head as a young kid for you to be successful; to show them that anything you believe you can be or any vision that God has sent you to follow because he would never send you that vision if it was not for you. And of course to make history. *smiles*
I honestly don’t believe in giving up, it’s just that drive and that passion to finish something that you started and it’s safe to say everyone don’t have that.”
PLAY IT FORWARD: If you could say one thing to young spitta who wants to do what you’re doing now, what would it be?
He laughs and his first response is, “get a manager.”
Leon Darryl: “No for real, I just would tell them to stay focus on the music, but make sure that you are doing it for the love because you have to love it. Yes it looks admirable on tv and all that but you gotta be ready for this lifestyle and what it brings and the only way is to make it a habit to work hard. This industry is filled with millions of talented artist, just focus on that thing that separates you from the rest.
To sum it up you need 4 simple, but not easy to obtain, key ingredients. They are: quality music, a selling image, personality, and performance. Once you have mastered those 4 categories you have ‘arrived’.”
PLAY IT FORWARD: How can people find out more about you and your music?
Sound Cloud: https://soundcloud.com/leondarrylmusic
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/LeonDarryl3?ref=hl
PLAY IT FORWARD