Living the Dream
He holds a double major degree in International Shipping, Logistics, and Chain Management from Caribbean Maritime Institute and strongly believes in the merging of education with creative talent. Andre McCormack is the true definition of talent and brains, but you may know him as D’Yani, the young, breakthrough dancehall/reggae artiste whose versatility, lyrics, and looks are taking the industry by storm!
Caribbean Elite Magazine’s very own, Shawana Ebanks caught up with D’Yani while he was chilling at Downsound Headquarters, where he’s signed to.
SE: Many upcoming artists may want to focus solely on music. How important is it to also finish your studies or have something as a backup? D’Yani: It’s very integral. Not only for me as an individual but as a creative person. It has helped me to organize myself administratively, as well as musically. It has shown me how to approach the business on a more professional level. As a creative, learning is essential in your process of being a better artiste and becoming a better professional. So, two thumbs up to pursuing education before music.
SE: So, you completed your studies but when did you realize that “this is it,” music is your calling? D’Yani: My “aha moment” was definitely in high school. At the time, Jamiel was breaking through in the music industry. I was going around the Shocking Vibes studio and seeing the process of making music and having that experience at a young age was very eye-opening for me. It was mesmerizing for me, to see that words and sounds have such a big influence on the masses. After that, I knew I wanted to do music, but with school, and my mom being adamant about me finishing school, I got it done, then pursued music after. I didn’t try to force anything. It happened when it should.
SE: You often say that everything you sing about is your reality. Which of your songs is probably the most realistic for you? D’Yani: I have a song entitled “Realise” which was done when I literally just started making music. I was thinking about what to get my mom for Mother’s Day. I got her everything I could have gotten for her, but I’ve never written a song for her before. So I created the song from scratch- instrumentals, lyrics, and production. That was her gift for a lifetime. She’s the Producer of that song and it was written for her. It was one of my best gifts that she could hold onto.
SE: Where were you when you heard your song on the radio/tv for the first time? Describe that moment. D’Yani: I can’t tell you the exact moment where I was when I heard my song on the radio, but I know I got a call from my mom saying, “Andre you know I’m hearing you on the radio now” My mom was the one who called me the first time she heard my song on the radio and it was an overwhelming feeling. Very surreal, knowing that I pursued music and my parents were able to experience hearing my music on the radio for the first time.
SE: What keeps you going? D’Yani: Passion. Creativity is everywhere. It’s like a burst of energy for me anytime I’m able to create music. The music I write is genuinely my feelings, my thoughts, and my emotions and I express them to the best of my abilities. To see 10 million people listening to “Feelings” and knowing that’s 10 million people listening to my misunderstanding of what love is, it’s just very mind-blowing for me and I just give thanks. I’m very grateful and humbled.
SE: You’ve expressed that your songs are based on your experiences, feelings and thoughts. Tell us a little about your creative process. D’Yani: There are times when I write based on what the rhythm tells me and there are instances when I do write pen to paper and write poems and turn those poems into songs. There are also instances where I freestyle the track- “Senorita” was one of those instances. “Feelings,” for example, was a very heartfelt song. I was actually feeling that way about a lady and that was the emotion that was being expressed. Ultimately, the best music that I’ve been given the chance to express were soulful songs that came from a deeper and more meaningful place.
SE: Does that special person know that “Feelings” was written about her? D’Yani: [Laughs] That’s going to be left unanswered.
SE: Who are your top five Dancehall artistes of all time? D’Yani: Sizzla, Capleton, Bounty Killa, Mavado, Vybz Kartel, Supa Cat, and Buju. That’s more than five but those are my major influences in Dancehall/Reggae music. Sizzla would be my main influence because of his versatility and his sense of presence- I can feel what he sings and he knows how to strike a balance between conscious and provocative music.
SE: This is your moment; you’re seeing the vision come to life. A Lot of people see that but what are some of the things you’ve had to overcome to get here? D;Yani: Self-confidence. Believing that what I’m expressing has value. Finding myself and staying true to that. My name, D’Yani, means “Sincerity” so I wanted to be my truest self and not stray away from that because of what’s considered “popular”. In terms of things that I can’t control. Getting airplay, traction, and awareness- were also very difficult for me. Being a youth from Spanish with no connections in music- my mother worked at a bank, my father a dentist- so there was no one I could get advice from. I had to learn from the ground up.
SE: What advice would you give to someone who’s toiling but still can’t get the break? D’Yani: Network as much as possible. Take every “L” as a lesson and grow from it. Become more knowledgeable about the business and the space you are in, express your truth, and be yourself!
SE: Switching gears now, to the lighter, fun side! Which artiste would you risk it all for? D’Yani: I love Lila, Lila Ike and I love Sevana as well. Not just physical but also beneath the surface. Big up Lila and Sevana, my heart throbs!
SE: Single, taken, single-ish? D’Yani: I’m married. Married to music.
SE: Did you think your song with Jada Kingdom, “Feelings,” would have had the impact it does now? D’Yani: The moment Jada went on it, I knew it was going to be a hit. I did the original song in 2020, and Jada hopped on it in 2021 which gave it a different awareness. I pride myself on making quality music so when Jada hopped on it, I knew it was massive and it’s still going to this day. So big up Muma Heavy!
SE: How would you describe your style? D’Yani: Reggae rockstar. I do get influences from my Rastafarian friends and I love the Lenny Kravitz rockstar style as well. I’m a brand as well, so I try to look good as much as I can.
SE: And your favorite designer item? D’Yani: Prada shoes!
SE: What are your top 5 items for men? D’Yani: Cologne, a good watch, a good designer belt, a pair of Clark’s and just be comfortable in your style!
SE: What’s your favourite cologne? D’Yani: Versace Eros, Paco Rabanne 1 Million, and Creed.
SE: Do you slide in the DMs and what do you say? D’Yani: I slide in the DMs to give a compliment but not to pursue a relationship.
SE: Which body part is your favourite on a woman? D’Yani: Her smile! Teeth are very important for me!
SE: What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told a woman? D’Yani: That I was single.
SE: Why did you break up with your ex? D’Yani: What do married people say? Irreconcilable differences! We got older and grew apart. Some things were no longer acceptable.
SE: What was the best date you curated? D’Yani: She was graduating from law school and prepared a candle-lit dinner on the beach for her. I put a lot of thought into it. I wrote poems and it was very meaningful.
SE: We’re going to play a game of “Smash, Marry, Pass” featuring Shenseea, Jada Kingdom, and Stalk Ashley! D’Yani: That’s rough! Marry Jada, sleep with Shenseea, and kill Stalk! Stalk I love you! [laughs]
SE: Finally, what should we expect from your Sumfest performance? That’s going to be huge! D’Yani: I’m looking forward to sharing the stage with some of the best in the business! Beres Hammond, Dexta Daps, and Chris Martin. Lots of ladies in the building and I’m looking forward to being my best self. So massive energy especially since it’s my first time performing at Sumfest and fingers crossed you’ll see myself and Jada performing “Feelings” together!