He is an artist who tries to see a diverse angle in music. Not being only a singer but also a lyricist in several languages, he mingles these two talents in an innovative WAY to give a whole new experience to his fans. A few years ago he came to the industry in his single āCampus lullabyā which he did the lyrics and also the vocals and this won him a massive cluster of fans.
Currently living abroad he tries to take the name Sri Lanka to an international level and it can be said that his attempts have been a success. We got the lucky opportunity to have a pleasant little chat to know about the person and also the future activities with him who in doing unique music videos was able to make an unforgettable memory in the music field.
1. Let's break the ice first. Could you give us a short and sweet introduction about yourself?
A sweet introductionā¦. Well Iām a young, single, good-looking (hey ladiesā¦) R&B crooner who enjoys writing and singing songs about the three āLās i.e. Love, Lust and Life as I experience it. I most often sing in my shower and evidently thatās where most of the best songs Iāve written have had its beginning.
2. People call you as? (Any Nick name?)
Up on stage I go by the name Dawn Jay and people often call me Dawn or DJ. My close friends call me Dhana, a short version of my real name Dhananjaya. But often itās Dawn Jay and I love being Dawn Jay whether in real life or up on stage.
3. How did you enter the Music industry?
Music has been in me since I was a kid. The small skit of my voice added in the album of me when I was barely 3 years old is evidence to that. But in terms of industry I started as a freelance copy-writer for a Sri Lankan advertising agency in 2003. A jingle that I wrote for a commercial never got selected and my friends told me āwhy donāt you do it yourself?ā Then I approached Mr. Nisal Gangodage through a friend of mine. And before I know it we completed a whole album of songs and released it under the duo name āInnerSenseā in 2005.
But after coming to Singapore I evolved a lot in terms of music. I started listening to more genres while I was DJ-ing; picked up few skills in music production and widened my circle of music contacts and influences. This really helped me to get where I am now in the industry. But still thereās a long way to go. This is just the dawningā¦.
4. We would love it if you could tell us about your school life....
I am one proud Royalist. =)
I went to Royal College after getting through the year 5 scholarship exam. Even I was just in grade 3 my dad used to bring me to Royal College to show where I should be going.
I loved every bit of the school life. I had great friends, great teachers and a great school ba ckground to grow up in. I did well in my academics and most of all I was actively involved in many clubs and societies, specially Interact Club, and United Nations Club.
Some may not know that I was so enthusiastic about Wushu and trained for almost 6 years. I was in the National School Wushu Federation and went to China for training. So watch out! haha
5. Do you love to follow new fashion trends in your ordinary life or do you prefer to be Simple ? If yes to follow new fashion what do you prefer most?
I am pretty attentive to the current trends in the fashion but I wouldnāt just hop on to it just because itās new. Iām selective about the fashion or the trends I follow and mostly they are influenced by the type of artists who influence me in terms of music idols. BUT, I am quite known as a trend setter among my peers cuz I take up challenges to do things that are sometimes not so āSri Lankanā and still carry it off so that my peers may follow. I enjoy when that happens. =)
6. Your idea about Sri Lanka..? What do you think?
I will run out of time and spaces, if Iām going to explain, how glad I am to be a Sri Lankan. Growing up as a kid I have so many nice memories and experiences that I think only a Sri Lankan could have. That moulds us to be who we are. But as a grown up, I have a few honest complaints about the Sri Lankan society. Gladly as a Royalist I was surrounded by many friends from different races and religions and I never had the big ego or the superior attitude as a Sinhalese or a Buddhist. Every one of them was an equal friend to me and thatās something I think Sri Lanka has to work really hard on. We just ended a civil war that lasted more than two decades and everyone suffered from that. I believe now itās the time that we start thinking more like one Sri Lanka than a Sinhalese Buddhist kingdom with the minorities. This may be my Singaporean side of thinking but Iāve seen the progress people can make through such harmonious living. Soā¦ Sri Lanka, letās work on that!
7. How do you spend your leisure time?
Itās no gimmick or lie if I say I will be working on music during my leisure time because thatās exactly what I do most of the time. Iāll work on a random new melody or write a new song in my free time. Else I like to keep myself inspired so I read about the gossips, news, documentaries all about music industry and the artists. If not Iāll be playing a multiplayer game with my friends, go out for a drink or a movie or just hit the gym. Iām active at least 20 hours a day.
8. What is the most unforgettable incident in your life?
This is a tricky question because there are many such. One I would always remember is the day when I first played the song titled āPeethu Paadam namamiā from my first Innersense album, to my dad. I still remember the happy face he had with teary eyes. Heās my hero and making him proud with my music would always be the best accomplishment I would never forget.
9. What do you think about love & tell us about your soul mate ;)
Love is a beautiful thing and as I write in many of my songs I love being loved. I believe that love has to have a firm foundation called Understanding because where thereās no understanding about each other no matter how much we love the other half itās tough to sustain the relationship. We have to try hard to understand the world each of us has built around us. For an example if my better half canāt understand the music world that surrounds me itās going to be really hard to sustain a healthy relationship. I guess thatās why Iām still single and focused on my music and my lifeās goals until I meet my Miss Right!
10. What is the secret behind your success?
Am I a success? I donāt know yet because Iām still learning and growing to be a better artist each day. But the progress Iāve made so far is all because of the perseverance Iāve put to stay on course with my dream in music. Iāve made many sacrifices and went through a lot of hard times but kept going until I achieve what I want to achieve as an artist. The journey will keep going until I am contended with the progress Iāve made. Right now Iām still a learner.
11. Who is your role model ? & are you imitating someone?
These are way two different questions.
My role model number one would be my dad. He was a tough man who had such a good heart to bring up a 5 year old kid all by himself providing everything he could. His dream was to make me achieve my goals and I will try my best to be like him and definitely a father like him one day.
But in terms of music I idolize craig david, ne-yo, trey songz, omarion and many more. All these are great artistists and song-writers which one way or the other has influenced my sense of music. I will not imitate them and I canāt because definitely theyāll live up to be legends that no one can touch.
All these artists have one thing in common. They all came from the simple back ground where working hard through tough times got them where they are. Thatās something I will definitely imitate.
But other than that, I want to make it a signature dawn jay sound; just like when you hear a song written by ne-yo you know who did it; I want the people to recognize a song I write when they hear it and say āOh thatās a Dawn Jayās Songā.
12. The worst incident in life?
Worst incidents are better forgotten but to sum up the answer I would say Iāve been hurt badly in love. Thereās no pain than being cheated throughout a relationship when you tried your best to stay loyal and monogamous even you are stormed with opportunities to go astray. I went through it once and that could be the worst incident in my life.
13. Are you happy with whatever you've achieved so far in life?
I am definitely happy with what Iāve achieved so far in life but thereās more to come so I got to keep working harder on that. But thereās always plus and minuses in life; Accomplishments and disappointments alike. So there are things I do regret but I am trying my best to work my accomplishments to balance out the mistakes Iāve made in life so far. Letās see how things go =)
14. How many songs you've released? Are they all video songs? What about the latest release "Liar" ?
The Dawning album consists of 12 songs and apart from that Iāve released couple of singles prior to that on iTunes. Iāve never took a rest even after completing the album so Iāve still got a bag full of songs to release and sometimes out of frustration I release the demos or the dummy t racks because I simply donāt want to waste them.
Iāve done three music videos so far. āTimeā music video was my first followed by the video for the single āLast Chanceā. Third music video Iāve done and the second video from the album is āliarā which I released just recently.
Out of the three videos personally I love the āLiarā music video. Apart from that being one of my favourite songs Iāve written I love the video because of its raw feel to it that people can relate to the real life. The video was done by two media students from Nanyang Technological University of Singapore. They managed to deliver the true essence of my lyrics with their videography and I simply love it.
15. Advices to the new comers & to the people who are gonna join the industry??
Iām not a veteran or a highly experienced artist to give much advice but what I would tell if someone ask for advice is that, believe in what you do before anyone else. That is, when you do a song or a v ideo make sure you love your work first before anyone else judges it. If you believe in your own work and do things whole heartedly thatās a success. If you are not sure or unhappy about anything just donāt do it for the sake of doing it or for the trend which I always see in the recent past in the Sri Lankan music industry.
16. What do you have to say to your fans?
Few words and few lines canāt really express how thankful I am to all the support and the love that the fans have showered me with. An artist is nothing without the loyal fans that stand by them throughout the journey. I will give my best to keep delivering the best of what Iām capable of so keep supporting me and make sure to buy my CD when it comes out. =)
Here's Dawn Jays' latest music video release "What Would You Do" - Hope you'll enjoy it :)
Previous Release : LIAR
Join with Dawn Jay on facebook : Click here to join with his official fan page
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Written by Ignatious Jayathilake (Creative Writer at Xtream Youth)