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Current host on Sean “Diddy” Combs network Revolt TV and Temple graduate, Dj Damage, proves just how hard work and dedication pays off. At only 25, Damage has made a name for himself in the music industry by working with some of the biggest names in the business such as Meek Mill, Wiz Khalifa, and currently Diddy.
Born and raised here in Philadelphia, DJ Damage aka Abdul-Quddas Muhammad began mixing as early as 11 after realizing that pursuing rapping like his brother was not the path for him, according to an interview by Matt Hassoun. By the time Damage reached High School, he was reported to have already begun generating buzz and gaining attention from those in his city. Majoring in Broadcasting Telecommunications and Mass Media, Damage headed to college where he joined Temple’s WHIP radio station and from there, the possibilities were endless.
Djing for some of Philly’s top radio stations, making appearances on 106 and Park, and to his current hosting job on Revolt TV, Damage has definitely accomplished a lot in such a short amount of time. Getting the opportunity to reach out to Damage, I was able to gain a new perspective on how he handles his new fame. He agrees that most people lose themselves in the industry but he manages to stay grounded stating, “It is very easy to get lost. There are tons of factors that contribute to it. First factor is not truly knowing ones self. To be an entertainer, you must know what you stand for or you will fall for anything. It’s the fast lane and it is full of material poisons. I stay grounded because I stick to what makes me “me”. I refuse to compromise my integrity for fame. I am also aware that everything can be gone tomorrow and it humbles me”. Damage is not only humbled, but he also does not pretend as if the transition from radio to hosting came naturally to him. “It was a pretty good transition. I have live experience, which helps with live television. However, I did have difficulty reading on camera. It was a great learning process switching lanes.”
Damage admits that as a student of broadcast media, he always wanted to transition into being in front of the camera. Being in front of the camera however changes everything for a person. With the new fame, comes a new image that a person must uphold depending on their craft. Damage gives some insight on his opinion of fame and friendship stating, “In entertainment you grow out of old friends. I am from the inner city and some of my old friends are not necessarily good for my image. People change around you when they start viewing you in a bigger light. They sometimes become opportunist, and that can be troublesome. However, with being an entertainer, you gain new friends that understand the lifestyle and can relate.”
In a tweet on January 25, 2015, DJ Damage (@TheRealDJDamage) offers encouragement to those wanting more out of life, writing, “sometimes all you need is consistency. Find something you love to do and stick to it. I mean that’s what I did. Followed my dream”.
The music world is a tough business to make it in. To on lookers, it seems that people in that field have it all together but they too go through challenges to be and remain successful.
Jamaica native Jamelia Ho-Sang aka Yung Whoa, an upcoming pop artist and previous songwriter for certain artists, is no stranger to the music world. Starting off as a model for companies such as Target, Boscov’s and Adidas, Yung Whoa knew early on what it was like to be in front of the camera. It was at the age of 16 that he was discovered by the road manager for The Temptations, Leonard Stanford, who agreed to represent him until he unfortunately passed away only a few months later. Entertainment lawyer, Simon Rosen, who was also good friends of Leonard felt it was his obligation to then take Yung Whoa under his wing and finish what his friend had started. Rosen decided to manage Yung Whoa and brought in Mikey Jarrett, Junior Reid’s road manager to co-manage him until he too passed.
Yung Whoa eventually broke into songwriting. As most
do, he realized songwriting offered a lot of money when someone offered to buy one of his songs from him. Due to contracts and signing most of his song rights over, he cannot disclose which songs he acted as a ghost writer to and in an article by Gary Roth I was able to read just what happens during this process, “When a writer submits a song to a publisher, the publisher will listen to the demo and decide if the song is one that the publisher wants to represent. If so, the writer will be asked to sign an agreement, usually called a songwriter-publisher agreement. What is unusual in this kind of agreement is that the writer will be asked to transfer his ownership of the copyright to the publisher. That has the effect of leaving the writer with no future ownership interest in his creation.” He did however provide me with some artists he had the privilege of working with over the course of his time in the business thus far. Just to name a few, he has worked with Cassidy, Black Rob (Bad Boys), Jr. Reid, Beanie Man, Coke Boys, and Barrington Levy just to name a few.
Wanting to venture out on his own and make a name for himself, Yung Whoa started his own independent record label called Team X and is also busying himself in the studio to come out himself as a pop/reggae artist.
While conducting this interview during one of his studio sessions, I had the opportunity to meet his engineer Franz Richards. He is also no stranger to the music business having worked with Ruffhouse/Columbia and Ziggy Marley. He has known Yung Whoa for about five years and says he is surprised by his incredible progress stating, “ the first time we met I knew he had that fire in him and then the second time I could not believe how he transformed from an artist to a mogul. He is responsible for a lot of people’s careers.” This then led to me ask both of them about their opinion on the music business and both had varying things to say. Yung Whoa, having already experienced firsthand how untrustworthy certain people in the business are, did not have too many nice things to say. “This business is very shady, there are backstabbers, and if you do not know the business they will try to take advantage and steal your money. Basically if you are not benefitting the CEO’s they will drop you in a second.” Franz Richards also agrees in his own way of how unfair the business is by stating, “The music business is easier to break into now because of social media. Around twenty years ago you had to wait to get signed but now you can promote your own music. Upcoming artists back then were not getting as good as treatment as the white people were which is why I began engineering.” To confirm what Richards said about social media, in an article written by Omar Akhtar on The Hub, it states that, “In 2013, social media advertising increased by 35 % over 2012, fueled largely by the growth of mobile.” People are now realizing that with promotion and the right fan base, there is a better chance at getting discovered.
I asked Yung Whoa what a typical day is like for him and he said if he is not flying out of town to handle business, he is in the studio which usually lasts four to five hours at a time, or he is meeting with his entertainment lawyer. If he is not doing any of those things, he will spend hours writing new songs. It is pretty clear that he already has a foot in the door for this music business which is more than most people can say. With the same consistency and dedication I am sure that we will soon see him rise as an artist.