Interview with DANA McKEON

Photography: Pink Portico

Age: 24

Where do you live: London/Naxxar

Star Sign: Gemini

Main occupation: Beatboxer, Singer-Songwriter & Physiotherapist

Dana McKeon is a Maltese singer-songwriter, guitarist and Malta’s international beatbox pioneer, having single-handedly put the island on the Worldwide Beatbox Map. She was ranked #5 female beatboxer at the 2012 World Beatbox Championships and Vice-Champion at the 2012 & 2013 UK Beatbox Championships.

Dana’s music is a unique display of genre fusion and versatility, showcasing world-class vocal percussion techniques, a captivating voice and synchronised multi-instrumentalisation. Her musical ventures have taken her all around Europe, with performances ranging from intimate, high-profile acoustic gigs to large-scale concerts.

To date, she has supported / featured with artists such as Bruno Mars, Rudimental, John Newman, DJ Pioneer and Beardyman.

Dana has just released her debut EP, Street Art, together with a music video for the Street Art single featuring Malta’s very first Reverse Graffiti project by the world-renowned Moose Curtis. This initiative was supported by the Malta Arts Fund:-

How did you first discover you had a talent for beatboxing?

It was totally out of the blue! I had never heard of beatboxing, but I always liked playing around with beats and rhythms by tapping on my desk while studying.  When I was 19 and studying at University, I injured my thumbs playing basketball and couldn’t use my hands to create beats, for a while. One day, I was sitting at my desk mouthing a song and suddenly started to mimic a beat with my mouth. Eventually, I looked it up on the net and discovered the art of beatboxing. The rest is, as they say, history!

What is it that you cannot live without?

I don’t think I could live without music cause it’s such an integral part of my life that I catch myself subconsciously singing or beatboxing throughout the day. I can do without material things, but the feeling that music gives me is unrivalled.

Can you describe your state of mind while beatboxing?

When I beatbox I get to clear my mind, to just hear the music in my head and express it. It’s such a cool form of creating music because you are the instrument and you get to improvise and feed off your audience in a unique way. 

What are your weaknesses?

Being a perfectionist is definitely one of my weaknesses, as I tend to put unnecessary pressure on myself, sometimes. I’m also quite a sensitive person, which works well for song writing, but can be a drawback in other areas of my life.

Do you prefer dining out or clubbing? And why?

Nothing beats a good laugh over a couple of cocktails and ending the night with some dancing.

How would you describe the music scene in Malta, today?

Malta’s music scene is full of talented artists producing some top notch music. However, being such a small island, the opportunities here can be quite limited. Despite this, there are quite a lot of people working behind the scenes on new creative ventures, so hopefully the scene will continue to grow and flourish.

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