D-WHY first caught my attention with his song, 'Macchiatto Music'. There was something intriguing about a rapper looking so "dapper" and sipping on a cup of espresso. It's not the norm when it comes to this genre of music.
After keeping his 'Don't Flatter Yourself EP' on repeat, to the point where I could attempt to spit a few verses, I had to conduct some research. I found something. I found something very interesting. This guy graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in Public Relations. It all made sense now.
From his appearance, to the coffee references, to his lifestyle website, The Cleanest Corner, he's a genius when it comes to PR'ing his own career. At #Halftime Fest in Athens, OH, I was able to learn a little more about D-WHY's PR background, music, and of course coffee.
Why did you choose to major in PR?
When I had to declare a major I chose PR because I knew they were the movers and shakers of everything. You could be PR in music, PR in the automobile industry, PR in entertainment, PR in coffee, or whatever you want to do. PR gives you the skills to communicate and to represent yourself to the highest standard.
Freshman year, I discovered that I wanted to do music, but I stuck with PR. There’s a communication side of PR and a marketing and advertising side of PR, as well. So, it’s not about just talking to people but understanding people. When I graduated, I moved to New York. I knew that’s where I needed to be for music. I continued my education and got my masters in marketing at WVU while in New York.
It’s weird. PR and marketing aren’t necessarily things you can be taught. They’re things that are refined. They can’t teach you how to be really outgoing or how to look at things differently, necessarily. But more so, to help you refine those skills. It helped me refine my musical aspirations and helped to brand and market it the right way.
How was has your PR background helped you advance in your music career?
It’s helped to brand myself. I think the biggest asset I have, as an artist is that I genuinely care about my fans. I’m outgoing and very personable. That’s just something that PR people do. The publicist is the one that does everything for everyone. They have their hands in everything and try to do too many things at once because they want to know that sh*t is going to get done. You feel responsible for everyone and you want to show love.
Are you hands on when it comes to the PR for your career?
My brother is in PR too. So, he writes a lot of my press releases and things like that. I’m involved with everything. We’ve created a voice that is seen through everything we release. My brother and I work as a team.
PRs are known to be coffee addicts..Is this where your love for coffee stems from?
No. Actually, when I was doing the song ‘Shooter Mcgavin', I was in the studio alone and I was just like Macchiatoooo. I was singing that and my friends were like, “Hey, that’s funny. You should keep that in there.” People loved it, so I came up with 'Macchiato music'. I continue to make these little references and created a branding identity. It wasn’t anything conscious. It’s cool because a lot of people DO drink coffee. I’m able to make something so normal like really cool. What I’ve noticed is that if you watch movies from the 60s or 70s, the social thing to do was to smoke cigarettes. When people were having conversations, they were smoking. Now, every scene someone walks in with a cup of coffee. It’s really become a part of our society and culture.
How do you take your coffee? Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?
At Starbucks, I’m on iced coffee. Cold coffee is my sh*t. So, I get hazelnut iced coffee. I’ll put a little half and half to where it’s a nice dark khaki color and maybe a little Splenda. Then Dunkin, I’ll do the same thing.
If I go to a really nice coffee shop, I’ll just get a cappuccino or latte and put some sugar in it. Good to go!
If you weren’t making music and touring, where would you want to be working?
I would probably do something in the entertainment or music industry. I’d be an agent, or manager, or brand manager.
Describe your onstage relationship with DJ Etrayn. Does it differ off stage?
It’s actually the same. We’re like brothers. I love him to death. We goof off and have fun at all times. That’s what we try to reflect on stage; this energy, presence, and appreciation to the crowd. When you can reciprocate the energy to the crowd, its great.
Are you looking forward to touring with Hoodie Allen?
Yes, he’s my bro. We’ve built a relationship over the past year working together on his music videos and other cool stuff. We’re super stoked. Him and his crew are the coolest people. Mod Sun and Moosh & Twist are also on tour. They’re all homies. There are no egos going into it. It’s the Party with Your Friends Tour for a reason.
Craziest thing you’ve done on tour?
Well, the craziest thing Eddie's (E-Trayn) done on tour is camp out in the woods at a heavy metal festival. So, the craziest thing I did on tour was LET Eddie camp out in the woods at a heavy metal festival in the woods with no sleeping bag.
What can we look forward to on Young, Loved, Hated, & Broke ?
Well, it’s dropping Monday, November 4th and will be available for download for free and also on iTunes. It’s my first iTunes offering and I want fans to use the hashtag, #BuyDWHY. I want to make sure that people know I put a lot of work into it. It’s a continuation of ‘Don’t Flatter Yourself’ of about 7 or 8 songs. Very eclectic and very diverse for the fans.
The Party with Your Friends Tour kicks off this weekend and all tour dates can be found on D-WHY and Hoodie Allen's websites. Catch them in a city near you and purchase 'Young, Loved, Hated, & Broke' on November 4th. Support your fellow Coffee enthusiast and PR guru | Check out D-WHY.com .