Da’Khari Love is working towards his dream of having his music hit the top of the world’s charts.
Inspired by the likes of John Legend and Maxwell, he writes his own songs and melodies which he will share virtually, as part of the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts tonight.
“It doesn’t matter how big the dream is, it matters how big your love for the dream is,” said the singer, whose concert will feature songs from Renaissance, the album he created last year.
“When I made my music I didn’t even think it would go as far as it did in Bermuda but I just know with the reach that I could get and the passion and the drive that I have, I can go worldwide with my music like how I guess my inspiration Sam Smith and John Legend did. Their music can be heard everywhere and you know who it is; from the moment the song starts you know – that’s John Legend or that’s Sam Smith.”
Da’Khari started singing in the choir at Richard Allen AME Church. In middle school he joined the Bermuda Institute choir and sang with the choir at the Berkeley Institute when he started there where, under John Woolridge’s direction, he “got more serious”.
“He really pushed me and encouraged me to take this seriously because he saw the passion and the talent that I had,” the singer said.
He benefited from a similar experience at Bermuda College where Craig Simons of MassFX Recording Studio spotted his talent and told him: “I’ve worked with countless people. Listen man, you’ve got it. Just go for it. Take it by storm.”
Inspired, Da’Khari started performing at weddings and other events under his given name, Nkosi Hollis.
“I released a few songs under that name and I ended up deciding to form a stage name early in 2020. That’s when Da’Khari Love was born.”
The reason was to differentiate himself from singers from South Africa, where Nkosi is a popular name.
“A lot of their music was starting to come on my page and I had to find a way to separate myself from that name,” he said. “But not completely because it’s still me – Da’khari is actually my middle name. And the Love is just how much love and passion I have for the music.”
He released Renaissance, his first album, in September having had no vocal training aside from his lessons in high school. He wrote the tunes and the melody for every song on it himself.
“Feedback has been tremendous,” he said. “People still stop me to this day: when’s the new music coming? They’re wanting more. I’m so, so pleased and happy to hear that because the music that I put out in that album was so vulnerable. I was in such a vulnerable place because I wrote it during the pandemic so just the whole album was a lot of me opening up to my audience, to show them what it’s like to be a young adult in this time.
“When people notice the passion that you have and the love that you have for your music, when they see that fire I feel like that’s what encourages them more to support you.”
Da’Khari describes his songs as a mix of R & B, neo-soul and a “little bit of pop”. Inspiration comes from his favourite artists: Prince, Sam Smith, John Legend, Maxwell “and of course the queen, Beyonce”.
As for his performance tonight, the singer is “really, really excited” to show what he can do.
“I was star struck to receive the e-mail and know that I was accepted,” he said. “The show is phenomenal. I’m very proud of it. I’m very proud of everyone’s efforts – my band members, the special guests that we had come along and sing with us and rap. We put in a lot of work and time and energy and effort.
“It’s not just me. I had a whole team behind me. I had friends and family there that whole day [of filming]. It was such a great day full of love and support [and] it looks amazing. I can’t wait for Bermuda – and the world – to see it.”
Da’Khari’s plan is that his studies at the London campus of the British and Irish Modern Music Institute in September will help him move a step closer to achieving his goals.
“I’ll be going there to study mostly music marketing, I want to learn the business side of everything, but I’ll be taking up a few vocal courses there as well,” he said. “My goal is to get out to the UK and embrace that culture. Dig my hands into it and see what I can do. Get around and collaborate with some people, network and hopefully my music can reach worldwide from there.
“That’s the goal. To just get out there and entertain and just make people feel good – share the love. That’s all Da’Khari Love is about, sharing the love. Music is such a whole different language to me. You can communicate so many different things through just one song.”
He lays out his advice to others who might be interested in following his path in his song, Young.
“As long as you have God on your side, as long as you have yourself and an understanding of yourself, no one can stop you. Your power is literally unstoppable. And that’s literally what I put that in my song Young. I’m so happy to hear that song has reached so many young people because that’s what I intended, to let them know: just keep doing it. It doesn’t matter how big the dream is it matters how big your love for the dream is.”