After kick-starting his career as a contestant on Idols South Africa back in 2012, Dominic Neill has been working hard to ensure a successful career within the local music space. Now, after years of hard work, he has finally released his debut album. Featuring his new smash hit ‘Out Of My League’, the album shows off Dominic’s passion, talent and determination to be a game-changer. This week, the star opens up about his just-released new album, his hit collaborations and why this is his time to shine.
Your debut album is finally here! The album has an edgy pop sound to it. What attracted you to that sonic direction?
I don’t think there was ever a distinct drive to set a sonic direction as such. For me it was about being relevant and writing about stories and people and things that allowed me to be really honest throughout the process. I guess I just chose what I felt was right and what I thought would work in the current landscape.
Your new single ‘Out Of My League’ is fantastic! What was the inspiration behind that track?
I, as most people, have this lingering quality of self-doubt despite being an inherently confident person – particularly when it comes to matters of the heart and “courting” someone for lack of a better term. That’s what “Out Of My League” is about, it’s about hindering yourself before the world can even have its say and it plays with the idea that while you’re doubting yourself and you think someone is out of your league, there’s someone else out there that’s thinking exactly the same about you.
You worked with The Voice Nigeria winner A’Rese on the track. What was it like working with her?
I wrote the song with Shekhinah and she couldn’t be on the track herself for various reasons but A’Rese really knocked it out the park. She’s just someone with incredible energy and warmth.
The song is very different to your previous singles ‘Better Day’ and ‘Love You Still’. How important is experimentation to you?
I don’t think I experiment per se. I always try and be very calculated in building a story and a song so, for me, it really is intuitive in that sense. Whatever I’m feeling and whatever speaks to me and what I’m trying to say in the song is what I go with. So I’d say I avoid experimentation from that point of view. Having said that, being open minded is so important in allowing for a project to take its course.
You’re an incredibly talented songwriter as well. In your opinion, how important is a well-written song in pop music today?
It’s so important! I think people see “songwriting” as the lyrics and what the person is saying but there’s so much more to it. Production, delivery all contribute and really having an idea and painstakingly executing it and being strategic while also intuitive is what really makes a song “well written”.
You’ve recorded a few stripped down tracks for the new album as well. What sparked this decision?
I come from a very acoustic background and I also have always loved acoustic versions of songs. We thought it would be fun and it would also allow me to experience that process of recording with a full live band again and try and prove that these songs can be performed and the stories can be told in so many different ways.
It’s taken five years for you to release an album since your appearance on Idols South Africa. What makes this the perfect time?
I just felt I was ready and that I had put the right amount of work in since the show to really be afforded this opportunity and privilege. We take it for granted when we record sometimes and I think when someone like Universal Music grants you an opportunity like this, you’ve really got to respect the process and give it the time and hard work it deserves. I guess I just felt I was finally worthy in a sense.
Now that the album is out, what else do you have up your sleeve?
I’m really keen to keep working on music whether it be features or other people’s albums or whatever, remaining active is so important. But I also hope to expose more people to my live show.
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