Photo Credit: LUCKYSTICKZ
Dejehan Hamilton (aka LUCKYSTICKZ ) has got the rhythm of a drummer, the voice to take you away to warmer climates (if only for a few moments) and the spirit of someone you want, no, need in your inner circle. Listening to his newest EP, Every Day Battle, gives you a deep glimpse into who he is not only as a stellar artist, but a human just living each day the best he knows how.
You started drumming at 8, joined the Hamilton Youth Steel Orchestra at 11 and have continued doing both well into adulthood. On top of that, you have these beautifully smooth and welcoming vocals as well (as highlighted on your new EP Every Day Battle)! When did singing come into play?
Singing was the last addition to my artistry. I had always enjoyed singing but never considered myself a singer or to make a project where my vocals are the main highlight. However, my second year at Berklee College of Music opened up a few opportunities to gain confidence using my voice as another instrument to my roster. A turning point that really catapulted my confidence to sing was when I was asked to sing for Harry Belafonte. At that point I figured, if I could be entrusted with this opportunity then I should continue to develop and take my voice seriously.
I saw some of your live performances which brings your music to life in a whole different way and, in turn, shows your pure joy in it all! Is the stage one of your favourite places to be?
The stage is definitely one of my favourite places 100%. Offstage, I’m pretty laid back, calm, cool and collected. On stage is where the artist Luckystickz really comes alive. It’s a place of joy but also a place of great responsibility. I’m aware and attuned to the fact that everything I do and say from that platform has an effect or impact on the audience. Therefore, I make sure I’m always ready to bring a positive shift when I hit the stage.
Music has taken you far and wide including Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, Singapore, Jamaica, Barbados, the Cayman Islands and, of course, across Canada & the US. Was there anywhere in particular that left you in awe? Anywhere else you still dream of performing?
I loved Singapore! There’s something about travelling across the world that opens your eyes to how much more there is to see on earth. There are so many cultures; foods, experiences, social norms and the Singapore trip really opened my eyes to that. At the same time, it’s interesting to see how we sometimes close ourselves off to the world and live in our own bubbles. Imagine being black in a predominantly Asian country, we definitely were the spectacle and interests of many people a lot of the time during our trip. We should all strive to experience each other as humans as much as possible. I would love to perform throughout Africa in the future! A lot of our urban music has roots from Africa and I love what I’m hearing with the blend of afrobeats with pop, dancehall and soca music today.
Having a Bachelor in Music Business/Management from Berklee College of Music, would you ever want to use that to manage & mentor up-and-comers?
That is definitely the plan long-term. I started up an independent label called Tune In Music Group. The vision for the label is to become an incubator for future up and coming artist/producers etc who make inspirational and positive music. For the time being, I’m using myself as the guinea pig! Taking everything that I’ve learned, applying to my career and making a blueprint of successes and errors.
You also work as a motivational speaker through The (self-created) Tune in Foundation. What was it that made you want to add this to your skill set?
I love to motivate, I love to inspire and I love to pay it forward. I strongly believe in everyone winning and I wanted to encourage people that you could win even if you didn’t come from a well-off family or the perfect environment. Therefore, I naturally started pitching myself to schools to talk to their youth and share my story of coming up through adversity and hopefully inspiring the next generation to share with them what’s possible. In addition, I proactively started Musica Palooza Camps that are March and summer break programs that empower youth through music and music technology.
What’s next for you?
2018 should be an amazing and productive year. I’ll be working on new music for my album, there’s also a USA/Canada music/speaking tour in the planning stages for 2018. As well as a Southern Ontario expansion of Musica Palooza Camps into 3 cities impacting 200 youth next year. So continue to follow the journey with me!