Interview: Dean Risko (Los Angeles, USA)
I got a message from an old school buddy about a rapper he was representing in LA. I am always interested in new music so I did a quick search and FIRST headline was: Dean Risko Says He Wants To Be A “White Male Version” Of Lauryn Hill. O. M. G. WHO THE HECK THIS MAN THINK HE IS?! I watched the video and saw Dean talk about his desire to not just rap but sing & after listening and watching Dean he CAN sing, rap & dance. Triple threat alert! Dean has already covered his white comparison to Eminem and it’s 2016 – the world knows white people can rap – moving on from stereotypes! Over all Dean has an entertaining quality about him as well as a sincere story to tell. Take the time to listen to the lyrics and take the time to enjoy the bass the music provides. I’m a major dance music fan so blasting Temple St has been fun as I’m sure those of you following me on snapchat have seen. As well as being a solo artist, Dean, is part of a group from Salt Lake City called Saltwater, take a listen!
I rarely hear an MC who also can sing without auto tune, do you have a preference between rapping and being a vocalist?
I started rapping and singing around the same time 11 years ago but I took rap more seriously until a few years ago. I like doing both live but I do prefer writing melodies to writing raps.
Where did the title Temple St. come from, what meaning does it have to you?
This project was originally supposed to be a full-length record and I mentioned Temple St in one of the songs that never made the cut. It’s the street in Echo Park that I used to live on. “Temple St.” is literally a window into the 5 turbulent years I spent there trying to survive and adjust to LA.
I saw that you were performing in South Africa in 2012, what did it feel like going back to your birth place and what impressions did you get?
Going back home was one of the best experiences of my life so far. I got to see family I hadn’t seen in like 10 years and reconnected with my roots. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a vibrant and diverse music scene and a somewhat of a renaissance happening in the city of Johannesburg.
You are constantly working on shows, videos and have a great energy when dancing – where do you get this drive to perform?
I’ve been a performer my whole life in one-way or another. It started with school plays, then it evolved into a passion for dance that became a professional career for a number of years but I always had a deeper love for music and eventually it became my focus. I started writing songs and performing music at age 15 and by about age 20 that’s all I wanted to do.
After looking at your Instagram account, I see how important your family is. What legacy do you want to leave for them?
I’ve always admired my father for chasing his dreams even when he was faced with adversity and letdowns. In some way I feel responsible to carry on his legacy. He moved us here when I was 10 with the hope of living the American Dream and after 10 years of trail and error it didn’t work out. My parents are back home in Joburg now and I’m in LA carrying the torch. I want to show my daughter that it is possible to succeed even if the path you choose has the most resistance. I want to inspire her with the same spirit I saw in my Dad.
What up coming events, projects do you have coming up?
Well aside from Temple St. and the SALTWATER collaboration project we just dropped I’m working on my first official full length and putting together a west coast tour. I’ve also got a few videos on the way from SALTWATER and the Temple St EP.
Let me know in the comments what you have been blasting in your car speakers this week!
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