Darrio Johnson has come a long way in his career as a Jamaican artist. From his humble beginnings in Trelawny, to becoming an International musical icon, he has really made a huge impact on the dancehall scene. Having come to Kenya twice, he has managed to build an even bigger fanbase and loves his Kenyan fans. I caught up with him to know more about his musical journey, his love for family and this is what he had to say:
Who is Darrio and why do you do what you do?
I am a humble dancehall entertainer from Jamaica. The reason why I do music is because I think music chose me from when I was young I’ve been interested in music. So I’ve been doing it for quite some time.
What would you term your style of music to be?
I consider my style of music being real. I just do like happy music. I do current affairs and stuff like that.
What makes your music so infectious?
I think the reason why my music is so infectious with people especially in Africa is because of the realness of it. In every song I try to put myself in whatever situation I’m singing about.
Why are you such a strong musical icon at such a tender age?
I guess it is because of the work I’ve put in my music.
How do you manage to stay significant and relevant in the music industry and how have you managed to grow an even bigger fan base in Africa especially in Kenya?
I’m always working, I’m always in the studio, always reading, always watching and listening. So I’ll keep abreast to the things that are going on. I have managed to grow my fan base in Africa especially in Kenya because i have a more on zone relationship with the fans in Africa, by sending my stuff there directly instead of waiting on the distributors and stuff like that.
Name three things that stand out for you about Kenya and what do you keep close to your heart about your Kenyan fans?
The people and the atmosphere. The Kenyan people show me mad love like Kenya is one of the first places I’ve ever gone to in life, and I saw somebody actually cry tears just to come just to come and hug me and that is what I would consider to be the most memorable moment for me.
What was your most memorable tour show and how did it boost your musical career?
The African tour in terms of getting people to see me instead of going through the internet. People get to research more about me and my music. So it really helped.
Do you have your own clothing line/endorsements?
Right now I don’t have an official clothing line. I have my hat/cap brand which is ‘Project Darrio’ which is also my movement. So I do this for promotion but people seem to have an interest in them so I’m thinking about doing a mass manufacture of them. So that’s what I have right now.
Who is your biggest musical influence (your daughter, mother, life, relationships etc.)?
My biggest musical influence would be life and people, my family, everybody.
People say your music is either too explicit or club bangers. What do you think/say about this?
If somebody says my music is too explicit, I would say to them don’t listen to the explicit ones, because I’ve done a lot of different music. I have done explicit music, I’ve done clean music, I’ve done all types of music. So I wouldn’t want someone to stereotype or put me in a box, or put my music in a box, saying that my music is explicit, because I’m sure I’ve done way more clean songs than explicit songs, and most of my popular songs would be the cleaner ones like ‘Ungrateful’ or ‘Girlie Girlie’ which are not explicit. So I wouldn’t agree with someone who says that my music is too explicit. I am sure my music has club bangers because of the type of beats I choose to go on.
Have you ever been in any scandal with any artists and how do you react to overzealous/obsessive fans?
No, I’ve never been in any scandal. The Internet tends to make up stuff at times, so every now and then you see something pop up about this and that. Personally, I have never been in any scandal with any artist. Bigup every artist, bigup every fan.
What is the one thing your fans all over the world do not know about you?
I don’t eat meat, I don’t eat chicken and stuff like that. I am a vegetarian. I am a shy person at times.
You seem to be quite a ladies man. What is your secret to looking that hot and maintaining that stature?
There’s no secret, just live good. I eat right, drinking and keeping myself hydrated, rest, I work out when I have the opportunity to. The ladies just always have love for me so I can’t complain.
Are you in a relationship?
My relationship status is pending right now.
Are you involved in any charity work and with which organization?
I’ve done quite a few but most recently I was part of this campaign in New York called ‘Guns Down Life Up’ which was a peace initiative where we went to different schools and preach the word and message. So I was in that organization.
Which three musical legends do you look up to apart from Shabba Ranks?
I look up to Michael Jackson, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.
What impact has Vybz Kartel brought on the dancehall fraternity that has affected you as an artist?
I think he brought the aspect of saying stuff in your music, our music was just basically the beat and our culture like our accent on the beat. So we weren’t saying much. Vybz Kartel brought big words like having some three syllables and stuff like that in a different way. So as a writer it affects and makes me to read more, so that I can say more in my music. So that is the influence that he brought to the table.
What is your favorite quote/phrase/life motto (something you live by each day)?
If you don’t have the look then nobody’s going to believe it. Meaning that if you feel like you are the greatest, you have to look like you are the greatest in order for people to believe that you are the greatest.
Any advice/last words to your Kenyan fans?
Stay safe, remember peace and love always and try to live good with each other. Try to enjoy life. Thanks for the support of our music and our culture. Big up!