BY MARY WICOFF
Despite roadblocks on the way to becoming a recording artist, Donald Sanders said compliments from his fans keep him going.
“It’s thrilling when someone says ‘I love this track.’ It’s positive (feedback) and makes me want to keep going,” he said.
Sanders, who will be 24 next month, uses Don.Arris as his recording name. His first digital CD, “Love & Life,” is online and features seven numbers written by him.
He’s always liked music and was involved in show choir, Madrigals, marching band color guard, theater and other activities while a student at North Ridge Middle School and Danville High School. After graduating in 2007, he attended Millikin University and received a bachelor’s degree, with a major in music business and minor in communications.
In college, he met a lot of people who gave him ideas on how to do a musical project, and he decided to try one himself. He recorded 10 songs in the university’s recording studio and in a friend’s studio.
From those 10 songs, he took the best seven to put online. However, he had to take a year’s hiatus to deal with gallbladder problems and also the death of his mother, Pauline, in 2011. His father, Homer, lives in Danville.
Finally, he was able to get past those hurdles and get his CD online. He produced a few of the tracks himself, doing his own digital instrumentals and background voices.
To launch his career, he chose the name Don.Arris; the second part is a takeoff on the word meaning a place where two points come together, he said.
His first release is getting good reviews, he said. “Everyone said they love the project and said it’s a great start to see where I’m going.”
The artwork was done by LaDean Clark, who also graduated in 2007 from DHS.
Homer Sanders said his son has always loved music and that’s all he’s ever wanted to do. “We hope he makes a hit,” he said. “I hope everything works out for him.”
While he likes Donald’s first CD with its smooth songs, Homer said, “I really want him to sing gospel.”
The younger Sanders describes his music mostly as rhythm and blues, and pop. He was inspired by many artists, including John Legend, Deitrick Haddon (gospel) and Aaliyah.
However, he likes to experiment with music and doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed.
“I try to be diverse,” he said. “I don’t want to be put in a box. I like to fuse everything together.”
He’s been featured as a backup singer on tracks with the duo, SA, and Chicago rapper D. Willz.
In addition, Sanders describes himself as spiritual, and enjoys singing with the choir at the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ. Someday, he’d like to produce a gospel album.
In the meantime, he’s working on his next project, “Measure of a Man,” a full-length album which will come out in late spring or early summer. “This is a guy’s personality album,” he said, adding he’s already written six songs for it.
To other up-and-coming musicians, Sanders said, “Keep going and keep making music. It’s not easy. You have to get over the hurdles to get success.”
He added, “I’m hoping my hard work will pay off over time.”
When he’s not doing music, Sanders works at Penn Station in Danville and Master Guard in Veedersburg, Ind.
E-mail Donald Sanders at email@example.com.
To hear his music, go to http://www.youtube.com and type Don.Arris into the search box. He’s also on MySpace, reverbnation and Twitter.
You may purchase his songs on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody and other websites.