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Check Out Daman Singh’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Daman Singh.

Hi Daman, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
My father introduced me to music when I was three years old. He, a musician who grew up in India, taught me how to play the tabla (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabla). Throughout the week, I would practice for hours with my father, and then I would play with my parents during Sunday services at the local Sikh temple. In high school, I was always interested in the guitar, and that was when I picked up the bass guitar for the first time without knowing how to play it. I slowly taught myself the bass by listening to my favorite songs at the time and following along, trying to figure out the notes.

During my early college years, I picked up the acoustic and electric guitar for the first time and used my knowledge of the bass to figure out how both of these instruments work in terms of the fretboard and chords. While this was very challenging at the time, I used a lot of online resources to learn the chords and also started studying music theory. Music theory helped me understand how music is structured, and the science behind music creation. I played my very first “show” at a local college event alongside a few other local musicians, and I had the time of my life. This helped me become comfortable with playing guitar in public.

Eventually, I was exposed to the dhol drum by a friend and decided to explore it further (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhol). Because the dhol is a percussion instrument, I already had a good sense of how to keep a beat, which came from my experience playing the tabla. The dhol wasn’t too difficult to learn how to play other than learning how to use sticks versus using my hands. About a year later, a local DJ who moved to St. Louis contacted me via Facebook and was looking for a dhol player, called a Dholi, for a party he was holding at a local venue. As it was my very first time playing dhol in public, I was nervous to play this instrument in front of others but got over that fact when I found myself in the middle of a dance floor surrounded by a dancing crowd. Since then, I was playing the dhol every few weeks for local parties.

Today, I work with my team DMD ENT (https://www.instagram.com/dmd.ent/?hl=en) providing Dhol and Tabla performance services alongside an MC and DJ. We work with wedding coordinators and venues to provide entertainment for weddings, anniversaries, and any other type of events. I don’t limit myself to just the team; I am very blessed when DJs outside of St. Louis contact me for my services, which gives me the opportunity to work alongside them at weddings and events. Outside of DMD ENT, I continue to play the bass and electric guitar alongside other local musicians. My experiences in music have positively impacted my life and have allowed me to meet people from all over.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Being a musician is hard enough, as you have to market yourself constantly if you want to partake in local venues and shows. While I don’t consider myself a full-time musician, my main struggles have been learning to brand new instruments and then finding dedicated musicians to play alongside. While it can be difficult to do this, it’s definitely worth the effort when you connect with like-minded people to create beautiful music or just have a really good jam session. The struggles have gotten me out of my comfort zone and have improved my overall ability to play music.

The music itself is an art that takes hours and hours of practice and patience to be able to play an instrument well. If someone approaches me about learning an instrument, the first thing I tell them is that they need to dedicate themselves to the instrument if they are serious about moving forward with it. However, the effort is definitely worth it.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
These days, I’m known for my dhol and tabla skills. Because St. Louis doesn’t have many tabla and dhol players, it definitely sets me apart from others as I am contacted a lot for South Asian and Middle Eastern events. I can honestly say it’s nice to have a skill that can target a specific market and be able to provide the entertainment for it.

While I love playing the guitar, the dhol and tabla keep my weekends busy.

What matters most to you? Why?
Other than music, I have two passions that I invest my time in – fitness and continuing education. Growing up, I never participated in any type of sports because my parents wanted me to focus on my education. While I am thankful for receiving a good education, I always wanted to partake in extracurricular activities. During my early college years, I started going to the gym. Having no knowledge of a “fitness routine” or any techniques, I put myself through a lot of trial and error on how I wanted to change myself physically. To this day, I try to get some sort of workout almost every day.

Outside of fitness, I constantly keep my mind engaged in learning new skill sets for my profession, because I feel that a diverse skill set is critical these days. With so much access to online resources, it’s always exciting to learn something new. I am a big advocate of life-long learning, whether it may be through a traditional education or adopting the mindset of an autodidact.

Lastly, my family matters to me. I wouldn’t be where I am without them, and helping them in life will always be my number one priority. Growing up with immigrant parents has allowed me to live in a multicultural household and they’ve always done their best to help my sibling and me succeed in all ways possible.

My passions matter to me and I invest my time in them in hopes of helping others advance in their journey. I am thankful each day for what I have and feel blessed that I can progress as an individual.

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