*This story was posted on HCMediaOnline on March 1, 2015.
In a dimly lit room lays a mic, a man and his dreams. Although the reality and likelihood of fame and fortune are few and far between, his efforts remain unchanged. Devin Nyshawn Arnold, better known as DNA, remains determined to find a voice, a voice the titans of rap had before him.
“My favorite part of making music is the fact that I have a voice, which is very powerful,” Arnold said. “I can also express my current feelings or emotions through my lyrics with hopes someone out there can relate and connect with what I’m saying.”
Something that once was just for fun now provides an outlet for self-expression and a way to escape the rigors of both academia and college athletics. “I first made music my sophomore year of high school on an app called ‘I Am T-Pain’,” Arnold said. “I started making music seriously my freshman year of college when my friend Nate Maloley asked if I could rap. He told me I was talented, and that I should start making music with him.”
Although he and others noticed his knack for music, he never saw it going this far. “I never thought it would get this serious. As soon as I began to start writing my own lyrics, I realized I had talent,” Arnold said. “I started recording on a MacBook Pro and eventually progressed to a professional studio.”
Arnold’s combination of smooth flows and head bopping beats isn’t unheard of, but the anomaly in his music is the element of realness that is rarely seen in this age of internet rappers. “Nowadays you don’t have to be a talented artist to become rich and famous, you’ve just got to be a trendsetter and promote a false lifestyle that includes gangbanging, disrespecting women and money,” Arnold said. “I like to bring the originality back to music by bringing a style to the table that nobody has seen yet.”
No matter the outlet, inspiration is drawn from all types of sources. This can often include fear, background or personal triumphs. In Arnold’s case, all three of these apply. “My background gives me a different perspective from most people. When I make music, they’re getting the opportunity to place themselves in my shoes and see what I’m thinking,” Arnold said.
In our current superficial society, many of today’s downfalls are a result of the dark elements of greed, self-gratification and fame. But for DNA, rap music and popularity should be about a lot more than that.
“I have a voice, which I tend to use to spread awareness, good vibes and positivity. I want to use my voice to tell people the truth, educate people on global issues and open the third eye we all have,” Arnold said. “By the end of it all, I would like my music to have helped someone in my life.”
Back in the dimly lit room, a deep breath is exhaled. The mic is repositioned, the mind is full of thoughts and the beat begins. Will this be the song that skyrockets his popularity, or is it just another stepping-stone in his career? No one truly knows, but an opportunity to be heard is present and that’s all he really asks for.