Interview with music producer Daryl Canaya, aka Dareal Thing to mark World Music Day |21 June 2022
‘I compete against myself on every project and stay up to date with new developments’
Today is World Music Day and we speak to Daryl Canaya, aka Dareal Thing.
In the interview, Dareal Thing talks about his youthful days, his start in the local music industry and how he has evolved in his art over the years.
Seychelles NATION: Tell us about yourself.
Daryl Canaya: My name is Daryl Canaya and I am 32 years old. I was born and raised in the district of Anse Royale. I would describe myself as creative, amicable and into basically every type of art – from drawing to cooking. I’m fascinated by technology and what it has allowed us to do. I am a music producer by profession. Furthermore, I’m a graphic artist, videographer and photographer. I’m also into event organising, social media branding and promotion of artists.
I am the founder and owner of DT Rechordz (music business) and DT Concept (graphics etc).
Seychelles NATION: How did you get started in music and when?
Daryl Canaya: My father was a DJ (deejay) and I have been influenced by him at a very young age. He started bringing me with him to certain gigs when I was 4 years old. At the age of 10, I started writing songs and then doing small demos for fun on my cousin’s keyboard and would record it on cassettes also. As for beats, I started producing them when I was 15 years old on a personal computer at home.
Then in 2006 at 17 years old, as soon as I finished school and received my certificate in Electronics at the Seychelles Institute of Technology (SIT), I started working full time in a music studio.
Seychelles NATION: Who is your inspiration in life and in your music career?
Daryl Canaya: In life, I would say my girlfriend. She inspires me on a daily basis to make wiser choices and step out of my comfort zone. I also draw inspiration from motivational videos available on the internet.
In the music business there are Timbaland and Don Corleon who are two internationally well-known and respected producers that I took inspiration from earlier on in my career.
Seychelles NATION: What does it take to be a good producer and how do you evolve in music producing?
Daryl Canaya: I will speak from my own experience. Your ability to do more than what is required definitely makes you a good producer. Personally I go above and beyond, and very hands-on in the creative process. I don’t only record the artist, it’s very interactive from guiding them to get the right flows, correcting their lyrics and advising them whether a particular style or genre is suited for them. In a lot of cases, I co-write and compose the songs. If I was living in a developed country I’d be earning so much in mechanical and performance royalties. (Laughs)
I compete against myself on every project, stay up to date with new developments, and just be wise about the craft are just a few ways I believe I have evolved in music producing.
Honestly, I also believe that the fact that I have worked with various local and international artists has helped me evolved since they all have their distinctive styles and I get to learn valuable things from them.
Seychelles NATION: How can you describe the quality of music in Seychelles and the work of the production houses?
Daryl Canaya: I feel we are doing an incredible job with the kinds of equipment that are at our disposal compared to other countries. As a producer here, we do the work of about 10 different people, we have mastered the art of producing from scratch. Needless to say we have room to improve as there’s always something new to learn.
Seychelles NATION: You were runner-up to best producer award winner Xtra Big in the SBC Awards show. How can you describe the relationship between all local music producers?
Daryl Canaya: We are on good terms and have a WhatsApp group. Some of us even discuss on our music and from time to time we share advice to help each other out.
Seychelles NATION: Have you followed any training to become a music producer?
Daryl Canaya: I have followed courses online then learned various tips from YouTube tutorials. I also have a good rapport with various international music producers that I have previously worked with abroad, namely in Nigeria, Mauritius, USA, Canada and Jamaica. They have unquestionably been great mentors!
I have also worked with some international artists like Pix’L, Malkijah and Benjam from Reunion), Prophecy, Linzy Bacbotte and Blakkayo (from Mauritius), Elephant Man, Tiana and Diligence (from Jamaica), Soroka (from Russia) and Blessed (from Canada).
Seychelles NATION: Please describe a typical day’s work.
Daryl Canaya: My day is filled with a variety of events, no day is ever the same. I work long hours from 9am up to around 10pm, at times I go up to 2am or even 3am. Occasionally, I go out as well, since I DJ and shoot videos and take photos.
Seychelles NATION: How tough is it to work with the singers?
Daryl Canaya: It depends on the type of singer and their attitude. There are singers who know their stuff and it is very easy to work with them. But then there are some who don’t really know what they are doing and I always encourage them to work more on their voice and lyrics before coming to the studio.
Seychelles NATION: What is your favourite type of music?
Daryl Canaya: My favourite is the unique sound which I created. It’s a mixture of zouk, dancehall and Afro beat with a tropical twist. It’s an island vibe!!!! Most of my biggest hits have been made from that unique sound.
Then there’s dancehall. From a very young age I have liked dancehall up to now because of the feeling it gives. It always puts me in a good mood.
Seychelles NATION: You are also into photography. Is there a link between photography and music?
Daryl Canaya: Yes there is a link between the two as I do posters and graphic works for artists. Back in the days certain photographers were not keen on having the photos they had taken on these posters and graphics, so I started taking photos of artists myself to avoid conflicts. From then on I have grown more interested in photography and been fortunate to do interesting work as a photographer.