HelloBeautiful.com’s “Base Level” column features the hottest new artists we’re buzzing about. Before they make it to the summit of superstardom, we spot them at base level–the beginning of their hopeful journey to the top.
So get this: his name is Sahr Dumbar, and Sahr means first born and Dumbar means warrior. But when the Philly native was in high school he merited the nickname Sahr Dummy. But this “dummy” went onto earn his law degree from the University of Miami and now can practice law in Washington, D.C and Florida. Did we forget to mention that he also own his own law firm?
Sahr spoke to #TeamBeautiful about how a rapper turned lawyer balances life between the courtroom and the stage. In between practicing real estate litigation, a little bit of entertainment law and being a certified mediator, this guy finds time to write and record his newest EP “It’s About To Go Down.” I guess Sahr is further proof, never judge a book by its cover.
Name: Sahr Dummy
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Who are some of your musical influences? My music is pretty diverse and I grew up in the 90s and listened to Naughty By Nature and Wu-Tang Clan. Mos Def. Biggie and Nas are all influences that come to mind. But as far as when I was really little, like a lot of people, Michael Jackson was a big influence. I liked his personality when he was dancing and singing. All his songs are great, so that was the main artist that got me into music.
When did you realize that music was your passion? When I was in high school and middle school I did all kinds of talent shows, and getting the crowd reaction was always great. I went to law school, which is how I ended up in Miami. I was a lawyer, still am a lawyer, started in 2003. Unfortunately, my wife passed away a couple of years ago and when you lose someone that young of an age, you have to ask yourself what are you going to do. I didn’t want to have any regrets and I’m in my 30s and people are still rapping so I decided to just pursue it.
What has been your biggest break thus far? Doing my video, working with different people and seeing that whole process was a big deal for me. I got a couple of magazine interviews as well. To me everyone defines success differently. Having my own company and owning my own masters to me that’s an accomplishment. For me to put my music out there for the public to see is an accomplishment in itself, at least from my perspective.
If you could be the musical love child of any two artists-dead or alive-who would they be and why? For the man, I would have to say Bob Marley and what I mean I just think his music is undeniable. You can play it almost anywhere in front of anybody-black, white or whatever-people just feel it. They just vibe to it. It’s universal. As far as the female I would have to say Left Eye. I just think that her personality was out there. She was the person in the group who stood out. She had multiple talents and that’s how I feel about me, I feel like I can rap over any beat and be original.
This California native teased us last year with her sensual hit "Ecstasy" but she' back to take 2014 by storm. With her DJ Mustard produced single "2 On" featuring TDE's ScHoolboy Q, this R&B songstress proves she's taking no prisoners.
2. Elijah Blake
Blake went from working at BlockBuster to writing Usher's No. 1 hit "Climax." Now the singer-songwriter is gearing up to expand his musical resume, which included penning Rihanna's "No Love Allowed" Under the mentorship of hit producer No.Id, it's only a matter of time before Blake's soothing voice floods your radio.
3. Mara Hruby
If you're in dire need of relaxation, just listen to Mara Hruby's EP "From Her Eyes" While the project is covers of everything from D'Angelo's "How Does It Feel" to Norah Jones "Take Off Your Cool" the West Cost native puts her enchanting voice on it, to craft a sound all her own.
Kelela brings a breath of fresh air to the musical landscape. With her urban-alternative sound, this Ethiopian beauty debuted her project Cut 4 Me to rave reviews. With singles such as "Guns & Synths" and "Enemy", Kelela's sound violently shakes up the musical landscape to offer a well-needed rejuvenating sound.
You know him as that voice. The voice behind Drake's "Too Much" and Beyonce's "Mine" but when this London native released his mixtape Dual, he proved that he can stand on his own two. With singles such as "Too Much" and "Happen" Sampha has only given us a taste of what's to come in 2014.
6. Maryann Vasquez
You need Maryann Vasquez in your life and you don't even know it. The singer/songwriter released her project "Due" and the five song EP is a fusion of pop and R&B but its her honest songwriting abilities with her undeniable voice that helps to raise the musical bar.
This Malaysian lawyer turned singer is a unique fusion of pop soul. Think Fiona Apple meets Lauryn Hill. With her sophomore debut "Nocturnal" which features production from Chad Hugo of The Neptunes, Yuna is sure to open the window on music and let in some well needed fresh air.
This Queens, New York native has such a robust voice, you wonder how she's able to carry it around in her petite 5'2 frame. But the Princeton graduate evokes a soulful sound, which echoes of her musical inspirations Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey. But with her album "Ayahuasca" fans will wonder how they've made it this far in their life without having her on their iPod.
This L.A Based Trio has secured a fan base so loyal, one would think they've been on the scene forever, but King's soothing brand of soul and R&B has catapulted the group to super star status in what seems like a matter of months. With their newest single "In The Meantime" fans can't help but fall in love with their melodic sound.
10. Gary Clarke Jr.
Hailed as this generations Jimmi Hendrix, Gary Clarke Jr and his electric guitar burst onto the scene to take his place among the rock Gods. With his album "Blak And Blue" The Austin, TX native combines rock and blues to craft a sound so rebelious it became infectious. After earning himself a Grammy nod just by being himself, one can only hope he continues his musical reign for the new year.
11. Eric Bellinger
Can he sing? Yes. Can he perform? Absolutely! Is he a cutie? Umm, duh! Singer-songwriter Eric Bellinger is part of a new crop of R&B artists showcasing a vocal prowess unlike any other, Bellinger incorporates a new school sound with classic R&B fundamentals.
The things Daley is able to do with his voice should be illegal, but this 24 year old British soul singer is one import we're here for. With his singles "Broken" and "Alone Together" Daley is sure to solidify his place in R&B, and his naturally curly pompadour is a plus!