Rhyan Clapham (NCV 2015) spent his September touring Brisbane and Sydney under the stage name DOBBY, and is set to perform at the OzAsia Festival in Adelaide at the end of the month, with more shows to be announced. A member of the Murrawarri Republic in Brewarrina, NSW, Rhyan clings tightly to both his Filipino and Aboriginal roots. It has been Rhyan’s Indigenous identity which has shone through as the focus of his recent work as a hip hop artist. New n Old had the opportunity to ask this up-and-coming rapper (not to mention, talented drummer) some questions about his self-titled EP, his recent First Nations gig at the Sydney Opera House, and the people who have inspired him along the way:
So, why rap? Who helped you discover hip hop?
There’s a combination of things that contributed to my passion for music and hip hop. The many music and English teachers along the way have definitely shaped this, starting with my piano teacher at age 7 and the amazing drum teachers I had the honour of learning from in Wollongong and Sydney.
Which of your songs is most meaningful to you?
My recent single off my self-titled EP is called My Mind, a dedication to my Aboriginal family and community. This is a song that is really important to me. The video is on YouTube and features 12 inspiring Indigenous leaders in their own respective fields.
You had the opportunity to be part of First Nations at the Sydney Opera House. What was that experience like for you?
The experience was amazing! Considering the history of the Opera House sitting on Bennelong Point, or Tubugowlie as the Gadigal call this meeting place, there is culture and history on this particular land. To have First Nations hip hop artists performing in the venue is really powerful and something I feel very special to be a part of.
Any people you’ve met along the way who have helped you grow as an artist?
There are so many people that have shaped and continue to shape my artistry. Too many to mention! Again I turn to my teachers as some of the biggest influences in my life and career. Very thankful for them and for my family for their support.
Any gigs coming up?
I’m finishing up the end of the DOBBY EP tour in Adelaide at the end of this month! And simultaneously you can catch me playing drums and rapping in my band Jackie Brown JR at Newtown Festival, as well as in Melbourne, Newcastle, Canberra and Brisbane.
Find out more and watch & listen at: www.DOBBYau.com