D. Ciano was born & raised in Savannah, Georgia and is a lyricist who keeps his listeners impressed with witty & clever wordplay all while delivering inspiration. Using his trials and tribulations as the brush to paint a picture with his words, his sound & concepts separate him from the norm on today’s Hip-Hop scene. D. Ciano is currently based in Atlanta and just released his third project entitled "Falling Forward". We connected with him to ask about his biggest musical influences, what we can expect from Falling Forward, and more.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
D: Some of my biggest musical influences are Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Common, & more recently I’d say J. Cole & Kendrick. Just seeing how Kanye went about music when he first came in molded me as an artist. I feel like before Kanye, there weren’t many prominent artists who rapped about being themselves the way he did. I believe his subject matter & path opened a door to a whole new generation of Hip-Hop. Lil Wayne was my favorite artist from a little before the Carter 2 up until a little after the Carter 3. That was like a 4 year span where I felt he put out his best music. Aside from his wittiness, songs like “Something You Forgot” that he wrote about Nivea are some of his best work to me, and songs like that are the reason I’m comfortable making such person songs about my own relationships. Common makes timeless music, and is so subtle with his hardest bars. So I try to do the same.
What do you remember most about your experience meeting rap icons like Talib Kweli, Pete Rock, DJ Mick Boogie, & Ski Beats during your time in New York?
D: It was a great experience. That was my first time in New York, and we were at the Le Poisson Rouge. I remember Kweli talking to me about my music, cause when I sent in the 3 tracks, I also sent a link to my first project. I didn’t expect for his camp to listen to the project, but it turns out he did. I didn’t even know Ski Beats was going to be there, he was just vibing out enjoying himself, a very cool dude. I remember Pete Rock & DJ Mick Boogie both killing it with the mixes. Coming from the South, I was used to hearing club songs in nightclub type of venues, but up there they were spinning classic Hip-Hop records all night and that was the first time I experienced that.
When/how did you come to the realization that music is what you wanted to do with your life?
D: That first trip to New York did it for me. I don’t know if or when I would’ve left my city before that happened, because in a way I had no reason to other than for a random vacation or trip. That moment opened my eyes to how music could be a career for me, and how it could be my way to see the world as well as change the world. My first project was just made for fun & I didn’t really think much of it. I was handing out hard copies all over campus and around my city. I started to gain some notoriety but what really helped was during school breaks when students would take my music back home with them and spread the word. That led to random listeners all over hitting me up and letting me know how much they enjoyed my music. I was just winging it before all of that, but after I felt like I found my purpose in life.
Comparing yourself as an artist now to who you were when you recorded "Freshman Year" in your dorm room at Savannah State Univ., how are you different than before?
D: I’ve conformed a lot more. I’ll never conform my message, but I do conform by dumbing down my lyrics to an extent just to add in a melody. The old me just wanted impressive lines back to back to back lol. I didn’t care for riding the beat a certain way, or trying to say something in a way where people would remember it. Making music is still fun to me, but at this point, making music involves a lot of strategy that it didn’t before. For instance, the song A Part of Me that I shot the music video for. The first 2 verses I consider as me conforming, but the 3rd verse is the old me.
Tell us about the Falling Forward LP. What can we expect from this 24-track release and do you have a favorite song or one that has a deeper meaning?
D: You can expect good music, some inspiration, creative concepts, an overall positive message, thought provoking stories, funny skits, & witty, clever wordplay in every verse. Sleepless Nights is a special track to me. I personified “Sleep” into a person and that’s who I’m talking to throughout the verses. The song has 3 different chorus and I love how I arranged & blended them as the song goes on. Broken Home is another favorite of mine. I tell this story from 3 perspectives and after hearing the last perspective, which is the father, you can see that the mother is the villain but tells their son that the father is. and Odysseus is another favorite of mine. It started with just a line comparing my story to the Odyssey, but that line was so special to me I then made the whole song centered around that theme.