Nine months after Desmond John broke into the music industry with his debut single, he is back with the promise of new original music. The teenage singer-songwriter, who is originally from Germany, has lived in South Africa throughout his life. He now divides his time between America and the UK and has been steadily building his fan base, with over 36,000 Instagram followers and 108,000 views on his YouTube channel.
As well as this, Desmond has been releasing a series of covers with his first (a mashup of Usher’s “Confessions Pt II” and Chris Brown’s “Don’t Judge Me”) gaining almost 5,000 Spotify streams in two weeks.
Desmond recently took time out of his busy schedule to chat with us about his career so far and his plans for the future.
Firstly, what made you want to follow a career as a singer-songwriter?
Music has been a passion of mine since I was young. I started writing songs at around the age of 13/14 and since then it’s just never stopped. It was after I had done my first performance that I realized that this is what I wanted to do.
Growing up, who were your musical inspirations?
As a kid I was influenced by my parents taste in music and the first two bands I listened to were The Beatles and Queen. As I got older I developed my own taste and really got into R&B and Hip Hop. Take Care by Drake was the first album I bought and I definitely cite him as one of my main influences.
You have previously worked with songwriter and producer Kuk Harrell who has produced songs for Rihanna, Beyonce and Justin Bieber. What was he like to work with?
Kuk was really amazing to work with. He lays a lot of value on nurturing young talent and I learnt so much from him in a short period of time. He pushes you until you get the perfect take and he’s very precise. He’s definitely an inspiration to me and I can’t wait to work with him again
Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Either Drake or Bruno Mars. I love their music and it would be crazy to be able to work and learn from them.
Your YouTube channel has some amazing covers on it, including Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran and The Weeknd. What is your favourite cover you have done so far?
Thank you so much! ‘Versace On The Floor’ by Bruno Mars was a fun one to record, but filming the Ed Sheeran ‘Shape of You’ cover was the most fun for sure.
Your latest cover is a mash-up of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape Of You” and Shawn Mendes’ “Mercy”. Do you have a favourite lyric from these songs?
“Please have mercy on my heart”, I think it’s a powerful line and most people are able to relate that.
We have heard you will be releasing more original music later this year. What can we expect from your new music?
Yes, I’m releasing an EP at the end of the year! The music is R&B infused Pop and it’s me telling my story, from my perspective. I’m really excited for this project and the creative process so far has been a lot of fun.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
I think working with Kuk Harrell has been the most memorable for me. It was crazy knowing that someone with a credit list like his was working with me on my project. It was very humbling.
What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking of following a career as a singer?
To make sure that they are 100% committed to music. It’s a difficult industry to break in to, so you have fully to be fully focused. But most importantly have fun with it. It’s about the journey, not the destination.
Finally, in addition to the new music, what other plans do you have for the rest of 2017?
I’m graduating from High School this year, working on my social media and I might be taking a short trip to America to record some more new music.