*If the name Dontius sounds familiar, it is probably because you heard him on the soundtrack for the RZA directed film “Love Beats Rhymes” (rent or buy here) starring Jill Scott and Common.
The singer/songwriter/dancer wrote and performed two songs for the 2017 film. The song “Turn It Up” was a straight up dance track, while Dontius told the EUR in a recent phone interview that “Fighter” went much deeper.
“‘Fighter’ has a lot to do with me surviving and all these struggles that I go through,” Dontius said. “I’m going to fight regardless until the day I die.”
One of the struggles Donitus spoke of was being shot about two years ago at a neighborhood party.
“I got shot because it was a drive-by at a party and I was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Dontius recalled. “The bullet bounced off the concrete and hit my leg. Thank goodness, I didn’t suffer any major injuries. It missed the arteries and the bone, so I got really lucky. The surgery took a day and I stayed in the hospital for a week. I’m just letting people know I’m a fighter.”
Shortly after the soundtrack, “Fighter,” “Turn It Up” as well as 2 other songs were released on the “Fourteenth” EP (streaming options here) in February 2018.
“They (RZA and other label executives) wanted more music,” Dontius said. “They were like, ‘You got two great songs and we want a little bit more to see what this guy is about.’ We got a great response.”
Dontius’ early success bodes well for RZA’s penchant for spotting talent. It also helps that the two work so well together.
“The thing I love about working with RZA is the three words he brought out and I think they will work for everybody – beauty, wisdom, and strength. I lived by those words day to day and in the studio I’d keep them in my head.”
Dontius continued, “Giving me the knowledge is the best thing about RZA. He’ll give as much wisdom and knowledge if you deserve it.”
Born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Long Island, Dontius, 25, has been performing since he was 14. Now instead of the artist just dreaming of having a recording career he decided to send some of his music to RZA. While it took some time for the Wu Tang Clan legend to check him out, Dontius got the call in 2014 that RZA wanted to sign him to his 36 Chambers ALC label. Persistence paid off.
“I sent him my music for a couple of years,” Dontius said. “After submitting some of my songs to 36 Chambers, I got a call from the label. I guess after a while RZA was like, ‘He’s still sending music after all of these years?’ And that got his attention. I got a chance to audition. I performed for RZA and he liked my style.”
With a hip hop master as his mentor, Donitus is not letting anything go to his head. His parents keep him grounded.
“My parents play a big part in supporting my career,” Dontius said. “My mom has always managed my career. I have great support from my family. This is very important.”
Dontius is currently in the studio working on additional projects with RZA including a full-length album and songs for soundtracks. For more information on Dontius, tweet him. Here’s RZA’s Twitter.