01 Dec, 2013

Looking Good!

Looking Good!

Your sixth album, Good Look, was released a few weeks ago, and the first single, Brown Eyes, has already given you another hit. How are you feeling about your music now, compared to the first album, and where do you see your music career going from here?

I try to change with every album and do something new and to explore new sounds and themes. With every album comes a change and growth. My latest album is my most mature album thus far and I am at a point where I can write and produce good material.


What, for you, has been the highlight of your music career thus far?

I think the highlight for me would be releasing my sixth album. To stay in the music business for as long as I have is very difficult. It's a major indicator that I have had some staying power.


What was it like appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and how did that come about?

It was a big moment in my career. Oprah heard me sing at a Christmas party for Madiba, she liked what she heard and so she flew me over. Way back when I was in school, I would get home and Oprah would be on TV, so it was super surreal to be invited onto the show as well as have the chance to perform. It ranks amongst my top three experiences as a musician.


You did a BA at Wits University, studying law and business management. Has your education contributed to your success in the music industry?

Without a doubt! If I had not gone to university and understood the business side of music, I don't think I would have been around for as long as I have been. I run my own label and management company, and it’s given me the freedom to steer my own boat.


What is still on Danny K’s music bucket list?

I would like to tour and do more shows overseas. I want to show the rest of the world what I can do. Also, a big international music award would be amazing! That is a big dream of mine.


Turning to fitness, you obviously want to look good in your line of work, and usually exercise goes hand in hand with that. Do you have a strict training schedule and what does it entail?

Yes, I have a training schedule and try my best to fit five to six sessions in a week. My training includes road running, gym and spinning. Running is my main passion, but I do like to cross-train.


How do you manage to fit training into your schedule?

When I travel it gets hard, but I think that's why I love running so much, because all you need is a pair of running shoes. So I always take my Nikes with me, and I wake up in the morning wherever I am and go for a run. I will do at least a 5km or 10km to start my day off. Mornings are my training time.


Does your eating plan match your training plan?

When I am training properly, I believe in eating properly. You can’t out-train a bad diet! I eat clean, lean and low on the carb intake. It works for me. I do have a bit of a cheat in the weekends, though, because by Sunday I crave a good burger or pizza.


In the past year you ran your first 10km at the Nike Run Jozi, then your first 21km at the Old Mutual Two Oceans Half Marathon. Did you enjoy these races, and will you be seen at more races in the near future? I can tell you, I am used to being nervous before a show, but it doesn't compare to how I felt before the Two Oceans! The first 5km I did a bit of walking and almost turned back because I was scared that I wouldn't make it. Then I started running and thought, I can do this! I finished in two hours, and my aim is to break this time by 10 or 20 minutes. After that, my next goal is to run a marathon and then take on an ultra-marathon. My ultimate goal would be to do the New York Marathon.


Besides fitness, have you taken anything from running? I have learnt my greatest life lesson from running! I used to run on the road and see people who didn't look athletic that were flying past me. I realised experience and muscle memory definitely count for a lot. Runners come in all in shapes and sizes, so never judge a book by its cover.


Do you train alone or with others?

I am solitary runner, I get my ‘zen’ and ‘alone time’ from running. I don't enjoy running with a partner, as I am very competitive, so it always ends up being a race. I have tried to get my wife Lisa to run with me, but she says I run too fast for her. I would love her to try it out, but I haven’t succeeded… yet!


Along with your good friend and fellow musician Kabelo, you started SHOUT in 2005, a non-profit, anti-crime initiative partnered with Crime Line to encourage South Africans to take a stand against crime, and have raised millions for organisations that help people affected by crime. What are your plans going forward for SHOUT? We are about to build a whole series of libraries in impoverished schools in the country to get focus on education and not all the bad choices out there. We are going to implement state-of-the-art learning facilities. In 2014 we will release a third SHOUT song with a whole host of musicians.


Any plans to incorporate your passion for running in the SHOUT campaign? Yes, we are actually getting behind a race in Thembisa, to motivate the people and get them fit. We believe in sport, and Kabelo and I are both passionate about running. We even sponsored the Soweto Marathon in 2010.


What advice would you give to someone who says they can’t fit training time in? My advice would be that if you are leading a busy lifestyle, you need to train more than you think. Training allows you to release your stress and be more productive. It will make your busy lifestyle easier, because if you don't have that hour to release your stress, things can really start building up. Everyone has 30 minutes to do something – it helps… and helped me.


What can you tell me about yourself that most people don’t know about you? I worked as a banker before I became a musician. I made the brave decision to give music a shot, as I didn't want to live with a ‘what if,’ and I am glad I did it.


Do you run with music, and if so, what will we find on Danny K’s running playlist? I find it hard not to run with music. I listen to high energy dance music like David Guetta, Calvin Harris and Swedish House Mafia.


Lastly, do you have a motto or mantra that motivates your running? I love the Nike slogan… There is no finish line... because no matter how far you run, there is another run the next day, the next week and next year!