Santan Dave: From Streatham To Stardom In 2 Short Years

The British teenager whose movements have reverberate throughout world, began his music career in South London’s Streatham; 2 years later, he now has a song with arguably the biggest artist in the world.

Drake’s remix to ‘Wanna Know’ has given hope to young rappers, and uplifted the underground scene. We see Dave’s success as yet another ‘impossibility’ proven possible.

Beginnings:

Surrounded by violence, crime and drugs, Dave, a self-professed dilettante, produces social commentaries of his personal experiences in his lyrics.
Exclusion from school, the death of his grandma and his brother’s incarceration, entailed to his hit songs; Picture Me, Thiago Silva, JKYL + HYD, his Blackbox and Fire in the Booth(Accumulating over 10 million views).

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Being able to produce successful music after facing such a predicament in his career, showcased how motivation and will-power are the keys to success, where Dave was able to translate his misfortunes into music.

He is not afraid to step out of his comfort zone, this is evident in his incorporation of the styles of other successful musicians like him, where melodies in his music have been inspired by; film scores from Schindler’s List and Lana Del Ray are just a few of his influences.

Being able to implicate such styles of music into his own work, in hindsight, lead to his success. Where his unique way of being able to create music did not only attract many ranges of audience all over the world, but also Drake!

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Dave was no stranger to failure and bereavement.

He knew that being able to sideline such problems, was crucial to reach his full potential. In his song ‘Panic Attack’, he highlights how difficult his childhood life was in the verse:

 ‘I lived in a yard where my mummy tried hard for all the things that I wanted but my money was inadequate’.

In addition to this, the absence of his father was another obstacle presented to him at a very young age.

His absence fuelled him to strive to success; ‘No first steps, nah, my daddy couldn’t see me cry I’m still searching for the reason why’.

Despite all these negative life lessons, Dave can be seen as a strong willed young role model who was able to stand up against all odds to reach success.

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His latest album, ‘Six Paths’, consisted of the song ‘Wanna Know’, and more. He used his hobbies and talents to produce many of his songs, where in some of his songs, he played the piano himself.

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His use of the piano in his music did not only break the conventions of the Grime standard, but also proved to many people that he doesn’t care about what his critics will say about him, as long as he and his audience are enjoying the music he produces.

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Despite his recent elevation to fame, he is not blinded by the flaws of society.

Especially in South London, where he uses his platform to inspire the younger generation. A recent interview he done in ‘I-D’s world’, included his preaching on how his ‘studies helped a lot with music’.

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His chosen subject of Philosophy, in A levels, allows him to ‘think deeper about what he’s saying’ when rapping. He therefore exclaims to his young audiences that education will help in the imminent future.
Dave’s humble character gave him the respect of his fans and the acknowledgement of many other artists.

Here is a quote I collected from one of his lyrics that exemplifies his attitude towards helping people reach success:

‘I try so hard in my tracks to give a message’.

  • Samuel Okusaga

    Powerful story