TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine explores every field of the arts and music to give our readership a wide field of knowledge of the many cultures that surround us. One such field of music is known as ‘Rap’, and no one reps this field more than DaShawn Clem who goes by the name of Casanova.
DaShawn, please tell us about your beginnings and your first introduction to the world of music.
DC- I remember being about 5 years old. I would sit in church with my babysitter/family friend Sherry Hummer (a Gospel singer) and during the music part of the service I would get really excited and imitate the drummer. Sherry would notice this and smile every time. So one day Sherry told my mother about my interest in playing the drums. It just so happened that my godfather Tyrone Hamilton had played the drums in several bands years before. My mother had a strong desire for me to be productive and not grow up to be a “knucklehead”, so she consulted with the two of them and they all agreed that giving me a drum set and teaching me about drums and music would be an excellent way to help achieve my mother’s goal. On my 6th birthday, after hanging out with all my friends at my party, my mother took me home and surprised me with a 7-piece drum set. I was more than enchanted. I mean too thrilled! I began taking lessons from my godfather until I was about 12 years old.
DC- When I was in second grade, my teacher Rita Krieger introduced the class to poetry. She taught us just bits and pieces about poetry and what it was. Then, in the third grade, my teacher Ann Casey taught the class how to write different types of poetry and went more in depth about its history and things of that nature. After really learning how to write poetry, I realized that it was everywhere; even in my favorite songs. All my life, my mother listened to hip-hop and R&B on the radio and that’s what I grew to like. So with the inquisitive mind that I had and still have, I eventually taught myself how to connect poetry and music. I guess it would be safe to say that because I had always had a love for music and I found a love for poetry, it was only natural for me to want to put it all together.
TAEM- When did you first explore ‘Rap’, and who was your greatest influence in this style of music?
DC- Right about the same time I began to learn about poetry, I met my older brother Donte Ford aka Dusk Bones. I would hang with him from time to time and learned that he rapped. As little brother, I wanted to do everything my big brother was doing. So in my spare time, I would explore Rap music. When I was 12, he introduced me to Busta Rhymes. He told me that Busta Rhymes was the best and fastest rapper out there. (That was just Donte’s personal opinion) At that point, I was really inspired to want to be like my brother and Busta Rhymes.
TAEM- Tell us about your formal education and the studies that you are undertaking that deal with people and the expanding realm of music that you deal with.
DC- I graduated high school from John Handley High School in Winchester, VA. Shortly thereafter, I went to Kaplan University in Hagerstown, MD and graduated 13 months later with my A.A.S. in Criminal Justice. I then transferred to George Mason University to pursue my B.A. in Psychology. I am still attending and I have about 1 year left. To be completely honest, my formal education has nothing to do with my life and career in music. I was taught to always have a “Plan B” just in case “Plan A” doesn’t work out or I change my mind. During the process of me maturing and finding myself, I had first said I wanted to be a producer (age 16). Then, through a little bit of discouragement, I began to explore other options and came to the conclusion that I wanted to be a probation officer. So, I go to college and by the time I graduate, I end up changing my mind again and deciding I want to be a psychologist or counselor. Then shortly after being at Mason, I changed my mind yet again to say I wanted to be a lawyer. However, just by being at Mason, I realized that dreams really can come true and that I can do anything I really want to do if I put my mind to it. I also realized the power of the statement “I think therefore I am”. So, it was through all of that that I began to realize my passions and seriously pursue them. Education is important and because of that I won’t quit what I have started. I have come way to far just to give it away. (I actually wrote a song about that (Said I’d Never Make It)).
DC- As a child of an entrepreneur (my mother), I decided to start my own business. I was told “If you like what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”. So because of that, I decided that my business would be part of my passion and deal with entertainment and music as its focal point. On January 24, 2012 Casanova’s Entourage became an official LLC through the SCC of Virginia. I started this business with the idea in mind that I did not want to limit the company to just one aspect of entertainment. I wanted to build a foundation that had plenty of room to expand if ever I so desired. I wanted options. So I started with using my own talents and teaching myself about networking and marketing. From there, I began and continue to research the music industry and I incorporated some of my mother’s steps to success into my endeavors. I now have my own professional studio and I work with another producer by the name Rob Sanchez who owns MixMaster Pro Studios in Springfield, VA. My company currently focuses on recording and being an entertainment liaison. Whatever type of entertainment may be needed, I’m the go to guy. I put in the work of finding the appropriate resources for my clientele’s entertainment needs. This encompasses everything from DJs to private dancers. If you need it, I can get it! Like I said earlier, music is the main focal point of this business. However, I plan to branch out into literally almost every aspect of entertainment. I am currently looking for ambitious and driven people to help build this business and I also want to represent clientele who are ambitious and driven like me. I am a firm believer in paying it forward. Therefore, I want to help as many others out there achieve their dreams while achieving mine at the same time. Bottom line, if you have a great work ethic, a passion for music, ambition to do great things, and a drive to succeed, then I want to work with you and service you in any way I am capable.
DC- Currently, I deal with Hip-hop and R&B and I want to keep that the main genre that I deal with for the time being. However, once Casanova’s Entourage becomes more stable, I am open to all other genres. Casanova Records currently only has the capability of recording vocals but works with others that have greater capabilities.
TAEM- What other fields of entertainment is your company reaching out for?
DC- Some of the areas I want to expand to include, clothes, TV, food, film, credit cards, and many more. Most importantly, I want to start a scholarship fund for less fortunate and disadvantaged youth. I have started my own cologne/perfume line “Charisma de Casanova” and I have also started the record label “Casanova Records” as subsidies of Casanova’s Entourage.
TAEM- What is your company’s projection for the next five years, and what musical endeavors are you looking to personally produce?
DC- In the next five years, my goal for this company is to have 3 or 4 artists that are a part of my label. I also look to have 2 promoters, 1 networker, 1 in-house producer, 1 website manager, and 1 business operations manager. We also look to be recognized as a credible business within the music industry across the majority of the East Coast. We look to be a company of modest to extraordinary success. One thing for certain and two things for sure, we will never accomplish our goals because our goals are always going higher. As a business owner, one can never be satisfied with the state of his/her business. There is always room for improvement. As far as Casanova himself, I’m looking to release my album in the fall of 2013. It is titled “Live, Learn, and Love. I am also looking to produce 1 or 2 more music videos for that album. Anyone interested in helping to make that happen is more than welcome to contact me.
TAEM- How can the musicians that you seek contact you, and tell us something about the website that you created for this purpose.
DC-I can be contacted best through email at DaShawn @akathecasanova.com. However, all my contact info can be found on my website under the contact us tab. AkaTheCasanova.com is my company’s website that I created in order to be the go to site to learn anything and everything that one may want to know about Casanova and Casanova’s Entourage. It contains applications for employment, biographies of the team (which is currently only me), music, videos, and updates of current events and upcoming performances. There are also plans to grow this website as well.
TAEM- DaShawn or ‘Casanova’ as you are professionally known as, we want to thank you for the time that you spent with the interview with our publication, and we wish you much luck in all your future endeavors. I am sure that many of our readers, and your fans, have enjoyed learning all about you.
DC- Thank you for the time TAEM has invested in me and my business for this interview! My wishes are that this interview will produce the results that both parties are looking for. God Bless!