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Young Trailblazer Nominee

Daniel Johnson

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Nominations

Nominated By Clarissa Lewis

“Daniel is a senior in high school earning his high school diploma and associate’s degree in Music Entrepreneurship. He has been a musician (percussionist) since the age of 3 he has played for various churches around the country along with playing with the Denver Young Artist Orchestra and earning a performance spot with the University of Oregon’s band camp drumline. Daniel has stepped into music production creating his own brand “Dawson WorldWide” and taken the HipHop scene by storm producing for artists across the U.S.

My Black Colorado Interview

What school do you attend?  

I’m in the program at a high school called Colorado Early Colleges of Aurora dual enrollment with CCA. So I’m in my senior year of high school, but taking on my second semester of a college class is at CCA. 

Tell me about the difference in the program you’re in compared to traditional schooling and how you got into that?

She was hearing about the school a couple of months before my freshman year, and she just realized the benefits of going, thereby finishing high school early and starting college classes early. I didn’t know that much about it, but that was when I began to focus more on my music production in the business classes, and it went from there. 

What do you think others would say that they like about you or they value about you? 

Probably my maturity; being able to handle my business and not stand out or do too much. 

When you’re not in school or class, what else are you involved in?

I usually work on my music production stuff like making beats on my computer or playing drums at different churches on Sundays. 

How did you get started with music?

My mom bought me a drum set when I was one or two, and then around that same age, she started to teach me how to play. As I got older, I began to play in church, and I got better that way throughout my teen years. Eventually, I would go around playing for different churches or other types of gigs around the city and getting paid for it. I was also in a band that was a part of my school called the Denver Young Artists Orchestra or DYAO. It’s an audition process, and I ended up getting the first chair in my first year. Ever since then, I’ve kept it going. 

When did you start earning your talent, and what are some lessons in terms of business that you’ve learned since you started getting paid for playing at events or establishments?

I probably started getting paid I want to say around age 11 or 12. Some business stuff I learned was speaking up, making sure your money was right, making connections with a bunch of different people, and how to close deals.

So, where do you see yourself heading in terms of a career path? 

Right now, I have a YouTube channel called DawsonWorldwide, which has almost 900 subscribers. I post my beats on there and a couple of songs with videos right now, so it’s mostly all music production. As for a few years from now, I see myself still making beats but more successfully.

What is the best advice that has been given to you recently?

Probably from my Aunt when she told me to keep God first in everything. 

What is one thing that you want to get better at? 

I’d say time management, especially with my work and sleep schedule. I tend to work more during the night, so sleep becomes a problem during the day. So that’s what I want to try to get better at. 

What do you think is one piece of advice that adults need to hear to better connect with the younger generation? 

Don’t try too hard. If you’re straining yourself to make a connection, it’s not always going to work out.  Be your age and speak about what you’ve learned over your lifetime and connect with the younger generation in that way.

What accomplishments or awards are you most proud of and why? 

I said that when I got the first chair. It was the Aurora All-City Band. That happened when I was in either sixth or seventh grade. I knew I was decent, but I didn’t think I would get that position, so I was surprised, which became my most significant accomplishment.

What impact have you made in the community that you’re most proud of? 

I say my impact is the influence on other people to get into music. I didn’t notice it before when people were trying to make their beats, and now I have people calling me to want me to teach them production and stuff.

Do you play any other instruments?

I mostly play percussion, like xylophones, timpani, or just regular old drums.

What would you say your style of music is when it comes to production?

If you’ve ever heard any rapper from Detroit, that’s what my music sounds like. I listen to a lot of different music, but that Detroit sound is what sells and what many people like. 

What role does your family play when it comes to getting where you need to be?

My mom has taught me a lot of the skills that I know, growing up music-wise. She also has her own media company, so she’ll give me pointers and advice, and she’ll also record my gigs at churches and stuff.

Is there any advice you would give to your youth?

I’d say work while you’re young, so you can enjoy life when you’re older. That’s what my mom always told me.

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