Viper Present DAWDA

Gambian Senegalese musician, Dawda, was raised in Sweden and is now based in Dubai. A songwriter for the likes of Snoh Aalegra and Sean Kingston, get familiar with Dawda via this VIPER Presents…

What five words define your sound?

Cinematic, Spiritual, Vibes, alluring, seductive.

Tell me something unique about your creative process?

I have synesthesia which is a condition that makes me see music in colours. I usually see the song as a painting in my head and I distinguish between the sounds I select depending on the colour or shape of the sound as I perceive it in my mind.  As a synesthete, music isn’t just about sound — it’s a symphony of colours and shapes dancing in my mind. Each song unfolds like a canvas, with hues and patterns that I select based on how they mesh with my synesthetic experience.

Which song of yours would you like people to hear first?

I would say ‘Wine’ since it has a very chill vibe in the beat but it also showcases my voice – low register in the verses as well as my higher register in the chorus. I feel that it’s a perfect song to get you in good vibes if you are driving in your car or if you are just home chilling and want a soothing alluring sound with good vibes energy in the background. It also represents how I feel at this very moment. 

What inspired you to make that song?

‘Wine’ was made out of pure inspiration that came from improvisation.  I started off by playing the chords on piano. Then my co-producer Aladdin added some drums to it and later Tom Mårtensson added another flavor with beautiful guitar melodies on top. I later freestyled the melodies and added the lyrics that I saw fitting for those melodies. 

What’s the most vulnerable you’ve allowed yourself to be when writing/making music?

Being vulnerable is a part of being an artist. I paint my pain, joy, experience – whether good or bad – on a canvas of silence. I remember writing a song to my mom that I lost in a car accident when I was 17. Recording that song made me break down in tears over and over but it is also what makes the process so beautiful.  Daring to be yourself and authentic no matter how people receive it, is powerful. 

What’s the best/worst experience you’ve had on stage? 

I remember an acoustic performance I did in Los Angeles where I felt as if it wasn’t me playing guitar. I was watching as my fingers effortlessly strummed and plucked the guitar. It was a scary feeling but also a very mind opening experience since it taught me that I’m just a vessel and my job is to translate what I’ve been gifted from the higher power.

What is your favourite song to perform?

That changes from day to day depending on my mood. But as of now I would say ‘Nama Naala Torop’, which is a song about longing.

Which artist/song/album made you want to make music?

I can’t think of any particular artist that had that impact on me. In my house as a child, music was always playing so I naturally gravitated towards music and studied all sorts of artists and genres.

What’s the meaning behind your name?

The name “Dawda” is a common name in The Gambia, and it is often used as a variant of the name “David.” It carries a similar meaning, which is “beloved” or “dear.”

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing instead?

I would probably be an actor. I love that artform. I often study people in how they talk,move, behave and whether they do it. I could definitely see myself as an actor. 

What’s success to you?

Success to me is achieving or superseding the goals that a person sets up for themselves regardless of what other people think. It doesn’t have to be monetary gains. If it fulfils you and if you feel that it has gotten you to new levels of achievements then that’s success. 

What moment in your life/career forced you to change direction? 

I don’t have such a moment. For me, my music is constantly evolving. It’s never by force. It all comes very effortlessly.

Where can people keep in touch with you?

Instagram: @dawda

Tik Tok: @Dawdamusic

YouTube: @Dawdamusic

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