Donnie Klang grew up with an ear for the artists in Sean Combs’ circle. In 2008, his dream came true upon joining the illustrious roster of Bad Boys Records talent. In an unexpected twist of both fate and a reality show’s tradition, Klang would become not a member of Diddy’s handpicked group on Making the Band’s fourth season, but rather find himself singled out for impressive solo talents. Now fully immersed in the Bad Boy camp, Klang is working hard on finding a new, improved and as he puts it, a “relevant” sound to stay fresh in a very competitive music industry.
Your debut album and single dropped in 2008 with good charting. What has been in the works since then?
I toured with the Backstreet Boys, and we did a Making the band tour. Since then I’ve been working on new music constantly, just trying to keep myself relevant. I’ve had a couple different albums recorded and ready to put out, but Bad Boy was focusing on some other artists, so we ended up remaining creative and inventive in the studio, and continuing making new music. Finally, we’ve come up with a new sound and now we’re ready to run with this new sound. We are going to pushing the new single “Without You” this summer. Push it hard from the ground up.
Do you have a set date for an album release?
I think we’re going to focus on the album differently, more single by single. We’re not really worried about a release date for a full album, because of the way things are today – everything is just so digital, and the piracy and illegal downloading. So, we’re going to do this by releasing single by single, and then if it feels right we will put out an entire album, but not have to worry about getting everything ready for a set release date. If it takes six or eight months to get a single number one on the radio, then we’ll work it that way and not put the pressure on ourselves to get a release date for a full album.
You mentioned finding a relevant sound, was it difficult or organic?
It’s been organic. It’s tough finding a relevant sound without sounding like someone else. Being relevant but still coming with something new. That’s why I respect Black Eyed Peas and Lady Ga Ga, being inventive. Still do me, but find a lane that’s new and relevant. That’s tough to do. I feel like a hit record can be noticed in the first few seconds. That’s before I come on or anyone else comes on, you can hear it. So to me, that’s what I was looking for – hot tracks. I’m more involved with the writing this time, so the songs are more natural and that’s what I was looking for. When you hear a hit single, you can tell in the first three seconds that song is hot.
Going back to where this all began on Diddy’s reality series , the concept changed suddenly during the finale. You came out as a solo artist, not part of the band. Lead us up to that moment.
I auditioned for season four of Making the Band, originally trying to be part of a four or five man R&B group. We did the challenges, cutting people, new people and then the live finale. Diddy calls out five names and mine wasn’t one of them. For about a minute and a half where I thought I was going home. The longest minute and a half of my life. Then Diddy announced he felt I was more of a solo artist and signed me to Bad Boy Records. I was half happy for the guys who made it into the group. We lived together and went through this boot camp, developing a brotherhood with these guys. So, half of me was happy for them. But then, the other half is thinking about my parents being divorced and living with my mom in apartment to apartment and how this could have changed all that. It went by so quick when he called my name. I still get goosebumps.
From reality television to the reality of a demanding music business, what lessons have you learned?
To me, it’s learning from the mistakes made. Make most of opportunity, because you don’t know if you get a second opportunity. The preparation, mentally and physically for anything the music industry can throw at you. It can throw some crazy curveballs. You just got to go all out and all in. that’s basically what I learned. If feel I’m prepared this second time around.