Don Phillip, aka Risk, is a Namibian rapper out of France. At the age of 11, Risk was channeling his creative energy through writing poems. By 13, with the influence of talent like Tupac, Eminem, and R. Kelly, Risk began transforming his poems into music. Basing his music on personal experiences, his music is sentimental, riddled with deep and sometimes dark thoughts. Make sure to check out his most recent project, “Listen At Own Risk.”
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
Oh yes, when I was 12, I was in a class which was filled with young rappers. Every time there was no supervision, they would make beats using school desks and they would just rap until the teacher came back.
I had a crush on some girl in my class, so on this fateful day, one of my classmate dissed me while I was talking to my crush. I made an instant decision to jump on the raw beat as it was still spinning and just freestyled. To my surprise, as I was rapping, I noticed my classmates nodding their heads up and down, listening attentively to my words. After I was done, they applauded me and decided that I was the winner. Most of my peers at that time never heard me rap before and probably they thought I just got lucky. It was my very first time ever rapping.
Even I didn't know 10 years later I had be a rapper.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
If you mean crazy but great experience, here goes, My team 'Young Ballers' and I went on a road trip on the quest of promoting ourselves to smaller towns in Namibia. We took full risks, we had a car but no license but we drove anyway. By the way, Who stops an Audi 500 SEL V6? Classic car, you would think only an old man would drive that.
Anyway, in the first town we reached, we met few fans that even offered us accommodation for free till the next day. We had fun the whole night BUT early in the morning as we were about to continue our trip, our car didn't want to start anymore. In a town with very few people with skills to fix the problem the car had. So we stayed in the same town for another week. It was crazy, but I am grateful that the fans could accommodate us.
What has been the high point of your music path?
Well, I had the privilege of meeting a lot of people in the music industry and I have learned so much from each and everyone. From artists, producers to A&Rs. But my highest point would be being offered publishing deals with 'Music Of The Sea' who pitch music for NBC/Universal", "Sony Pictures", "Omnicom", CBS Television, Bunim Murray and Getty Images catalogs for movies, films, apps and games. This is a high point because, it is my first ever project and only a mixtape. I am very pleased my music is rated on that level. I also got over 20K streams on Spotify in my first month from my mixtape.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I first allow the beat to play on repeat as I mumble on it to get the right flow and rhyming scheme. Once I have the flow and an idea of what I want to transmit, I begin writing. The hardest part for me when writing, is the start and the end. I always want my first two bars to pull the attention of the listener. After that is sorted, the ideas flow like divine inspiration. Probably 60% of my songs were freestyles towards the end. I simply just freestyle the last two-four bars. I know it is weird, but hey, It works for me.
Fun fact: In my mixtape, 'Listen At Own Risk', 4-5 songs were not fully written and I had to freestyle from the top. Not that I'm a great freestyler but I recorded in my own space and time so I was really comfortable when doing my thing.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Well the biggest challenge I have noticed is lack of finance obviously. Finance to market and promote their music. I know a lot of incredible talents that gave up on their dreams because the road seemed unbearable. But my advice to indie artists is to do research, everything is on the internet. You just have to look.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
A tribe called quest. I listened to them as a child but I just never knew their names. Phife Dawg flow was out of this world for me. It was only last year 2017 I discovered their names.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
As a rapper, usually I rehearse my composure and balance. I am not a wild performer so I keep it basic.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Track 5 from my mixtape titled 'Buried Love' I wanted a love song but I wanted it different from the usual boy meets girl. Finding a way to execute it was a little bit of a challenge and I thought of removing it from the mixtape. However, I later found an inspiration from my own personal love story. I wrote about a woman whose love I have buried. That love is dead, it doesn't act anymore, doesn't exist. It was the longest time I ever took to write a song.
What's coming up in the future?
Well, I'm quiet overwhelmed by the results my mixtape has gotten. I have two different deals on the table that I requested my mom to go through but I am not in a rush. My group Young Ballers will later drop their album this year which I also feature. So the future is bright and soon to be announced plans.
Tell us where fans can access your music.
Check out “Marliq ft Risk SUMMONS” Official Music Video below!