She Writes As If Music “Runs the World”
Chicago South Sider Dominique Collins is a gifted songstress, rapper, and songwriter. She’s young and ambitious, determined to make music that speaks positivity to the masses. Believing that “music runs the world,” Dominique believes her artistry is the gift that’s been given to her to produce responsible, quality music that’s different from the music today’s young artists typically produce.
Forced into Singing as a Child
Dominique’s musical career did not begin like that of your ordinary artist. Yes, she sang in the church. Yes, she knew she could sing as a child but, she never actually wanted to.
“My friends would beg me to sing. My mom and dad were in the church in ministry so they would always put me in the front singing the welcome song,” she laughed. “And I hated it!”
Dominique asserts that the only reason she sang as a child was because her parents made her and because she knew the words. She insisted, “It was never something I wanted to pursue.”
A Youth Looking Toward Anything But Music
Dominique never thought about a career in music during her entire childhood and teenage years. In fact, the young star decided in high school that she enjoyed doing hair. She was then quite sure that her future involved life as a hairstylist. She recalls, “I was doing hair, I wanted to own salons and go to school for business management.”
Dominique attended college, but she dropped out. As she explains it, “That didn’t work out; I’m really not a school person.” But she still pursued hairstyling and was quite successful. Dominique had a career and was making money working in a salon.
The Family Barbecue that Changed Her Life
However, her feelings changed at age 21 at a family barbecue. By chance, her cousin came to the picnic with her boyfriend. He was a musician. Armed with his freshly recorded single, her cousin’s boyfriend insisted on playing his music for the family. When Dominique listened to the track, something changed for her. Listening to the beats of the song, words began to form in her mind and she felt an intense urge to jot down her own lyrics.
“The second verse was all instrumentals,” she said. “I sat and I wrote a second verse and sung it to him.” He heard the verse and immediately recognized Dominique’s talent for singing and songwriting. So, he invited the songbird to come into the studio to record the verse.
Producers Recognize Her Songwriting Gift
“I went a laid the verse down and literally from that point forward,” she said. “They were ready to send me another beat to see if I could write to that.”
Beat after beat, track after track, Dominique continued to impress producers with her extraordinary knack for writing. They began to really urge her to pursue songwriting. She recalls, “It was like (Dominique) ‘you do know this is what you’re supposed to be doing?’”
Leaving the Hair Salon for “The Basicks”
At that point, the talented songwriter accepted an offer to join a newly formed group, “The Basicks.” The five-member group worked hard and produced an album, “Basic Information.” For Dominique, working with “The Basicks” was a dream come true, even though it was a dream she never knew she wanted.
Recording music began taking over her life and becoming a hairstylist was slowly but surely becoming an ambition of the past. Dominique recalls, “I saw myself rescheduling clients at the salon,” she said. “I was like ‘Ima go to the studio.’”
“The Basicks” were determined. They recorded over 30 tracks in one summer. Working with this group made Dominique realize that her passion truly lies within the art of music.
“I was feeling like I never felt before with anything else,” she said passionately.
“The Basicks” Break Up, the Storms of Life Arrive
Although “The Basicks” broke up due to different lifestyle changes among group members, the group and the experience still hold a place near and dear to Dominique’s heart. The singer has a vague smile on her face as she reminisces and describes her time with the group. “It was innocent, it was raw, it was my coming to,” she asserted. “It literally changed my life because I am here now.”
After the group broke up, Dominique faced many trials and tribulations. While continuing to pursue music, she tackled many hardships and all of her endeavors seemed to fail. From bad relationships, feeling unwanted, to no job, she endured it all.
Seeing Clearly after the Storm
However, since the end of the storm, this talented songstress has risen like a phoenix from the ashes. She now soars above it all and realizes that her life is not really her life.
“My life is about me realizing it’s not my life,” she said. “If my life didn’t happen I wouldn’t have anything to write about.”
She continued to say that she believes that God has a purpose for her and it’s imperative for her to allow Him to use her for whatever He believes her purpose is.
“I am a tool that’s supposed to be used. I can’t do what I want to do,” she said. “God is [saying] like ‘you can’t; I need you to be this person.’”
Realization: Responsibility Comes with Her Gifts
Dominique admits that in the beginning of her career, she was “raw” and “rough.” She recalls that then she just delivered her message. She didn’t care how it came across. However, now she understands that with all music comes great responsibility.
“When you put this out and you got kids listening to this,” she insisted. “What feeling or emotion are you putting out to the world?” The melodist feels that her artistry exceeds talent. She believes that it is a gift specifically designed for her.
A Talent Versus a Gift
“It’s a gift and not something I’m just talented to do.” According to Dominique, there’s a difference between the two.
“A talent is something you just naturally know how to do,” she insisted. “A gift is something that’s worked on within you every day, something that you take note of doing. You can sing, but do you have the gift of music? Can you produce something meaningful?”
Inspirations: Brandy, Keke Wyatt and Anita Baker…
According to Dominique, popular musicians like Brandy, Keke Wyatt, and Anita Baker inspire her.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any local artists that she would like to work with. She alleges that this is due to their lack of responsibility for the art.
“When you say you want to be a part of this powerful thing that produces feelings, that produces actions, you have a responsibility,” she said. “As far as the music that’s out and local [goes], I’m disappointed.”
Her Ultimate Inspiration
For Dominique she wants God to continue to lead her career. In fact, she hopes He leads her to become the top songwriter in the world. As a matter of fact, she confidently knows that she prefers songwriting over singing. As she put it, “Singing is something that I have to work at, whereas songwriting, I can do that with anything. You don’t have to give me a beat, no song, nothing.”
Currently, Dominique is working on a new project that’s still in its beginning stages. She has newly written songs but is still looking forward to having them produced.