By: Julia K. - February 16, 2020
24-year-old DKupe moved to Los Angeles in 2019 to pursue music both as a solo artist/songwriter and as a guitarist in bands such as “The Breakfluid Band” and “Alice King Band”. He has been able to collaborate with other LA musicians in similar genres, and expand his potential. He aspires to document his journey through life as a young man in search of purpose and love, all without taking himself too seriously.
“High Low” by DKupe embodies his ideal sound. as well as his goal to reach the hearts and minds of listeners. The song’s groovy beat and soulful lyrics blend into a combination of R&B, funk, neo-soul, and Indie rock. Much of this track is spoken, allowing emphasis on the lyrics and less on background guitar/drums. DKupe’s smooth and composed voice is most evident in the chorus, where it is fluid, repetitive, and catchy. Electronic voice effects have been added to the chorus. This highlights the dynamic and agreeable vibe. An interesting contradiction occurs here when DKupe sings in ascending intervals, despite the lyrics. Also highlighted in the song are DKupe’s impressive guitar skills, with a guitar solo in place of the bridge of the song.
Listen to "High Low" here.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, DKupe! Thank you for sharing “High Low” with us. How would you say that this song encompasses your message to the world?
Thank you for your time! “High Low” encompasses my message to the world as it’s basically about believing in yourself and having a deep conviction in pursuing what you want, while also keeping yourself in check as you realize that you have to pay your respects to your own process as it unfolds. It’s walking the line between being confident in your abilities and potential, and also being humble and understanding of where you’re at in the grand scheme of things at all times. It’s like throwing your ego a bone for encouragement but keeping it on a tight leash!
The idea is that if you have a goal or a mission that you’re really committed to, you’ll go through some real highs and lows, but that if you keep a dedicated but balanced mindset, you’ll be able to ride through those highs and lows.
What have you learned as a musician since moving to LA? How has your sound evolved since then?
I’ve learned that consistency pays off and that the journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Like many artists who move out here, I didn’t have many connections here to start with and really had to do my own groundwork with finding both gigs for myself and the right artists to work with. In a year of living here and putting myself out there though I’m really pleased with the shows I’ve been able to play so far, as well as some of the awesome musicians out here I have gotten to perform and collaborate with.
My sound has matured a lot and has really gotten more focused as I’ve discovered more of what my sound exactly is the more I write. My sound has various influences, and I’ve gotten good at picking the different elements I love and packaging them together neatly in my songwriting.
You mentioned that you are a part of multiple bands, as well as working on your own music. Do you prefer performing with bandmates, or as a solo performer, and will you continue to do both in the future?
Yes! I currently play Lead Guitar in two bands; one of the features of my original music and the other one is a collaboration with another talented artist. I prefer performing live with a band, because I just love the full sound and energy that goes with playing with other musicians, especially with some of the awesome players I’ve had the privilege of playing with recently. Playing my original music in a band really allows it to take its full form, although I enjoy performing completely solo as well, but in a more intimate setting. I also enjoy playing guitar for other artists, because it keeps me on my toes as a musician, and I love how working with others influences my own songwriting and playing.
How have artists such as Stevie Wonder, Tom Misch, and Anderson influenced your songwriting? What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Soul, Funk, and Rnb music are really my greatest influences on my sound. Something that really influences me about artists like Anderson Paak. and Tom Misch is that they take that classic groovy soul sound that is influenced by the era of legends like Stevie Wonder, and they reshape it in a modern, innovative, and accessible way. That’s basically what I seek to do with my sound; combine the best of the old and the new to create something that is high-quality music but that anyone can vibe to!
What can we expect to see from DKupe throughout 2020?
2020 for me is about putting out new music, playing more shows, making some more awesome video content, and connecting with more people! I have new music in the works that I’m really excited about putting out this year, so stay tuned for that. Follow me on Instagram @dkupes and you can keep up with my new music, upcoming shows with my bands, and some fun new content!