Donae’o aka Ian Greenidge was always destined to make a career out of music after growing up in a house where melodies were a major force. His mother was a singer and as a youngster growing up in north west London it was common place for her to be heard belting out tunes in the house. A young Donae’o was also a regular companion when she was out performing and loved soaking up the atmosphere. In fact you could say this is where he felt most at home.
His was never a story of numerous talents shows and performing in school plays, but by the time he was in his mid teens he had already attracted a management outfit, and released a single Falling’. During his teens Donae’o (which means ‘Gift from God’) would release and re-release a few singles, most notably Falling and Bounce under various management outfits. Both singles made an impact on the underground, with Bounce winning an award for Best Live P.A at the People’ Choice Awards in 2003. All of this set the foundations for Donae’o’s future success. ‘Both of these songs kick-started my career,’ says the now 25-year-old. In his late teens and early 20’s he released a few more underground singles, but was mainly out of the spotlight as he focused on working on a plan to orchestrate the next stage of his career.
The plan? To take control of his career himself, minus any management. He had penned a tune called Devil In A Blue Dress, and this was the one he felt could really turn things around, and he was right.
“I started promoted Devil In A Blue Dress last year November and I released it on a white label this February,’ he recalls, adding: ‘Doing things myself worked better for me in the sense that I was able to choose what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. Sometimes going with your gut instinct, rather than over-discussing things with a bunch of different people, can work a lot better for you, that’s the freedom I like.’
From that moment on he would personally promote the single to anyone and everyone, from fellow artists, radio djs, club djs and pirates, collecting email addresses and contact details and delivering music and information. It was about three months before things really started to take off. By February 2008 the single was in record shops and by March it was the hottest tune on the streets. Donae’o found himself in hot demand performing live P.As across the country and in Aiya Napa as well as a coveted spot at 2008’s Glastonbury festival.
Despite enjoying the advantages of pushing his career by himself, the talented singer is smart enough to acknowledge the benefits of having a strong team on board, as long as it is the right team. Step forward bourgeoning profile and brand building company ‘My-ish inc’, who have more than added to the project, tailoring it to ensure maximum success from the underground to mainstream.
When asked to describe what he brings to the table as an artist, Donae’o says: ‘I bring the energy, and that’s what’s make me appealing. It also means that whatever kind of music a person is into they are usually moved by my songs. I have seen it with my own eyes. I don’t say that to be big-headed, I say that so appreciative that I have been blessed with this gift.’
Donae’o is currently working on his debut album, which is set to be released next year. For the moment he is happy doing funky house saying: ‘I’ve been singing and MCing from time, but I don’t think I found myself musically until house was introduced to me.’ However his diverse talent and skills means he is not one to be limited, so expect the unexpected from the singer, and also expect whatever he comes with to blow you away.
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