Johannesburg - The age of the internet has allowed rising artists to truly make their mark in the industry.
One such artist is singer, rapper and songwriter Daniel Issel who goes by the stage name Seriously Daniel.
He is using music to encourage people and give them hope.
“The artists that I look up to, it’s for their skill and their talent but not exactly for their ideology. I grew up as a Christian and I see that in the industry right now a lot of the focus is on clothes and material things.
“As a married man, I’m not focused on that type of stuff. I want to bring a fresh new perspective to music and the industry. I don’t need to swear in my songs for the song to be a hit or to be dope,” said the 26-year-old.
Issel is in China, working on music and teaching children English.
His album, Colouring Outside The Lines, is about just that, breaking the rules and allowing yourself to be different.
“Everyone has set ideas about what someone is supposed to be like but I do what I want to do. I explore racial discrimination, differences in class and other topics. I’ve come to realise that it doesn’t matter what I have or went through or what I look like or what I do. What matters is that I am living and breathing. I am a human being, treat me with respect and I should do the same towards others.”
For this year, Issel already has six singles lined up to give music lovers a taste of his sound.
“I’m working with different producers and artists towards a collaborative EP. I also have a song called Chinglish where I rap in English and in Chinese, and I have a Chinese rapper featuring on the song.”
His focus this year is on doing a lot more features, working with artists who have a passion for music.
His current single, Coogi, is named after a fashion brand from Australia.
“My favourite rapper, Biggie Smalls, had these Coogi references in his songs and I thought he was referring to Gucci. Later I saw a picture of him counting money wearing a Coogi sweater and discovered the brand.
“When I wrote the song, I was set on changing my fashion. I like popular fashion but there aren’t a lot of people that wear a lot of colourful stuff. I decided to make a song about looking good but the message is that you don’t actually need all of these flashy things in order to look good or be cool.”
Issel said it was important for him to speak about things in his music that people don’t really speak about.
“Most of the time when I write songs I want it to be a unique experience. I’m doing things that no one else can do. When I started writing raps in the back of the classroom, it was for fun during battle raps. Doing the cyphers at school was something I was really good at.”
He realised he had this talent and had a better outlook on life. He was bullied at school for being one of the shorter children, but his talent for writing songs built his confidence.
“I realised I didn’t need to prove anything to anyone, it was just to prove to myself that I am valuable and unique.”