Meet... Daniel Donskoy
From The Crown to the release of his debut single '24', Berlin-based singer-songwriter Dan Donskoy, is graced with confidence as he embarks on a musical journey that will see him take on 2021 in style.
With his latest single 'Robbed Me' now in the arms of listeners, Daniel Donskoy delves into a soulful infused pop single that captures his honest feelings of heartbreak. Taking inspiration from his own experience of someone changing his life, but then leaving him; 'Robbed Me' gives closure to the artist but also for listeners who can resonate with it.
With such a hectic life, Vibez was lucky to catch up with the artist and actor to talk about growing up across the world, his debut single '24' and what 2021 could bring.
Firstly, how have you been since the release of '24' and are you up to anything special at the moment?
It has been a crazy few week for me. Right after the release, I have started filming a German Christmas movie for 2021, prepping my next release, which is coming on December 4th, whilst simultaneous finishing mixes for my upcoming tracks in 2021. I was also very fortunate that DEEZER asked me to contribute a cover for a special DEEZER originals Xmas album - so I basically stopped sleeping for a while!
Born in Russia and then growing up in Tel Aviv to then moving back to Berlin - do you believe that living in different countries and your personal experiences have influenced your career.
100 % - as a kid, it wasn't always easy, moving around - especially being socially uprooted. On the other side, it gave me the priceless opportunity to delve into such contrasting cultures and their communication methods and art forms. From German directness to Russian/Jewish melancholia, Middle Eastern temperament and British sarcasm, initially I was always on the outside and got to observe a lot. Observing is GOLD for an artist. You learn about empathy and get to form individual opinions not based on societal and cultural norms. So, it most definitely opened me up on every level. But it also made me stronger because when you're on the outside, you often have to put up a fight to get in.
In addition, whilst growing up, you taught yourself a range of instruments and, as you got older, you did a range of modelling & started ballet lessons - Did you always know that you wanted to go into the arts industry?
No, I knew that one of my strongest suits is telling stories but, initially I started an undergrad in Biology after graduating Israeli High School with pretty solid results. I was pretty bored in school - I could learn everything off by heart but had a deep routed disinterest in the majority of subjects. History and Biology were always tempting as I could learn about the meaning of human life. In hindsight, I am happy I tried academic studies before going to drama school in London - I gathered life experience and student life in Berlin around 2009 was amazing. Dirt cheap rent and never-ending raves - I had a lot of fun. But it also made me 100 % certain, that I wanted an artistic career and that I wanted to move to London.
Further down your career, you moved across to theatre and tv which saw you appear in series such as Victoria and The Crown. What has been your standout moment and out of everything, what is the number one thing you learnt from your experiences?
My first TV gig in the UK was BBC4’s Detectorists with Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones. On my first day of shooting, I was so nervous, but when I met the two of them on set, they just looked at me, smiled and told me to chill the fuck down. It helped! I suddenly realised I had to stop worrying about it as I was already there. I had to let go of my preconceptions - there was no place for them in the present time.
But it also made me understand that there won’t always be such nice colleagues to pick you up and calm you down. It’s something you have to do yourself. It was good learning so early on.
Let's jump into your debut single '24', what is the story behind the track and what do you hope to achieve from it?
24 was all about the quest for inner freedom - sexual, cognitive and societal. It’s about a washed memory of a night where you feel high only to be thrown into the deepest low you can imagine. And about the acceptance of it. The night out is an analogy for everything that excites us in life - everyone feels high from different things but if it’s only ever a high you’re chasing you’re sure to land flat on your face.
With '24' being one of the six singles to be released, over the coming months - what can we expect for the next five and could you give us any details on the future tracks?
On December 4th ‘Robbed me’ is gonna hit. It’s a very soulful track filled with my real-life agony after someone very important and close to my heart seized to exist in my universe. I felt bereft, of pretty much everything that makes life bearable - especially the feeling of strength and independence. Figuring out that a lot of our emotional pain comes from our own minds was a pretty nerve-racking journey: My favourite lyric of the song is: “You robbed me of my mind but, it’s my heart you couldn't steal.”
What would be your dream tour and, who would you have as your support act?
Even the thought of touring seems so distant at the moment but hey, if you ask me straight out: I want to go on a world tour - isn't that every artist’s dream? At this point in my career, I’m actually thinking about who I could support and, I would give my right hand to support artists like FKA Twigs, Frank Ocean, Justin Timberlake, Giveon, Chris brown and Summer Walker.
As you continue to travel, where are you based now, and is there any artists from there that you think we should listen to?
I am currently in Berlin until Christmas, hoping to be able to get to Israel where part of my family lives for New Year which is very tricky at the moment and I am moving back to London mid-January for some time. You should definitely give Israeli soul queen KAROLINA a try. From Germany, I’d go for Zoe Wees - good vibes.
With such a year, what has been your biggest accomplishment and, what did you find most challenging?
I am actually quite proud to have never lost my creative flow this year as it’s been challenging to give up on so many things that give me inspiration - friends, parties, concerts. I had to find new ways to inspire myself and, found them in solitude and, away calmer way of life - at least for a couple of months. The majority of my tracks to be released have been, fully produced in my living room. That is definitely something I can give my producer and myself a pat on the back for. It’s hard to determine the biggest challenge, but of course, especially as an independent artist, not having the opportunity to plan anything and, constantly being restricted. movement-wise and mentally and fearing that jobs and gigs are gonna get cancelled, dealing with an unstable financial situation but it made me stronger.
Finally, can we expect new music before the end of 2020 and is there any exciting plans in the pipeline of 2021?
December 4th my next single 'ROBBED ME' hits the internet and, I’m very excited for the release of this very personal track that's full of soul. 2021 is going to see four further releases and a very, exciting acting job I'm not allowed to speak about yet. Let’s just hope it’s gonna be a year with more stability for us all.