Most potential rock stars get into the music industry for the fleeting fame, the piles of money, and the endless stream of screaming groupies. Dana Kamide is not your average potential rock star.
Dana isn’t in the music business for the groupies or even the money—he does it for the universal need of self-expression. "I feel blessed to be able to express myself through music. I'm constantly trying to evolve and become a better person. You give more when you give of yourself than of your possessions." Through music, Kamide gives of himself completely.
Dana was born the youngest of six in Carthage, NY. He was introduced to music and performing at the age of seven, when his eldest brother, Sie taught him the boogie woogie on the piano. He mastered the tune with two fingers and made his debut on a classroom piano at Augustinian Academy in upstate New York. When he finished playing, his classmates erupted into applause. It was at that moment, Dana found his calling.
He began his professional career playing in clubs at age 13. With five years of performing experience and a desire to learn more about the business side of the industry, the 18 year-old moved to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music. He then went on to pursue the life of a rock star by going out on tour with several successful bands. Now, after years of traveling and opportunities to sell out, the 26 year-old Kamide is content to be among friends and family in Orlando who cheer him on and to “make it” on his own terms. "It's easier to be a big fish in a small pond. I think there is an amazing amount of talent in every town, but everyone has their eyes on Orlando right now. It's a great place to start and I have so much support here."
Kamide, with his undeniable talent, has developed quite a fan base in Orlando. And like any attractive male performer, he has his fair share of groupies. Almost too many, in fact. "I don't like adoration. I'm a little uncomfortable with it... it's hard to pass them up... one of my goals is to be perfectly honest and faithful in all areas." He does enjoy the recognition, just on a smaller scale. "I want to be able to hang out with my friends in public without feeling awkward if a fan recognizes and approaches me."
Categorizing Kamide's music might prove a daunting task for record store employees and industry bigwigs. "I grew up digging a lot of different musical styles. I'm into everything which is dangerous in this line of work because you have to be focused, especially when you're just starting out." His music ranges from R&B to modern and progressive rock, acoustic-soul to alternative-pop; he adds own personal flair to each style that creates an inviting sound to ears of all preferences.
As Kamide works on an album concentrated in one music genre, he uses his diversity and songwriting talents to write for other performers. You probably won't find his work on a cookie-cutter teen pop album as Dana's lyrics tend to delve a little deeper than puppy love and bad hair days. He writes with the hope of connecting with the listener. "I try to write meaningful lyrics and touch on the spiritual stuff like life and death and change. We all share the same struggles and I try to capture that. As long as the audience gets something positive out of it, I feel like I've done my job."
Although he calls himself a songwriter, Kamide says he enjoys performing more than the creating aspect of music. "Creating today has become tedious with all the toys... technology gets in the way of inspiration and can break the mood of a song." He adds, "If I could sit down with just a guitar and a cheap tape recorder, I'd write a lot more than I do."
He is often approached for tips on how to break into the music business. His advice for performers, "Number one, you've got to have a song. Write as many songs as you can. Try to get a publishing deal as a songwriter." But most importantly, "Realize your limitations and explore all aspects of the industry. The road to rock is long and arduous. If you can‘t be a rock star, maybe you‘ll find success writing jingles or as a booking agent."
Dana counts himself among the fortunate few who can exist primarily for music, but when he isn't working, he enjoys riding his bike and playing tennis. He is starting yoga practices to get in shape for his upcoming shows.
originally published in the October-November 2002 issue of Industry magazine.
Content on this site was originally written by Katharine Miller between 2000-2015. Many feature articles and interviews were published in print and on websites that no longer exist. Katharine is reproducing her written material here for portfolio and archival purposes only. Links and credits to clients and original publication will be included where possible.