$20. doors 7 pm.
press release: D.R.A.M. is just like the guy next door— if the guy next door could rap, sing, and make smash records. “I always had a boisterous personality,” says the 28-year-old singer/songwriter. “Even when I was dead ass broke, I still found ways to have fun.”
Born Shelley Massenburg-Smith in Germany to a military mom, D.R.A.M. (an acronym for Does Real Ass Music) and his family planted roots in Hampton, Virginia, where he was raised. Growing up, he hung around his older cousins and found inspiration in artists beyond his years, such as luminaries like Al Green and Parliament. “As a kid, I remember everyone in my family played older music, it just rubbed off. It was a blessing,” he says.
When he hit his teens, D.R.A.M. was enamored by hip-hop and hit the mall every day after school to look for local rappers to challenge. “I was rapping just like Cassidy. He was my favorite rapper at that time,” he recalls of the Philadelphia rapper. “It took a lot of growth, but I always knew that I was gonna make it as an artist. Over time my sound just developed.”
The biggest development came when D.R.A.M. dropped his #1EPICSummer mixtape in 2014 and captivated fans with his break out hit “Cha Cha.” The infectious Latin rhythm fully showcased his soulful singing voice, and penchant for crating catchy melodies. The world took notice, including Beyoncé who posted a video on Instagram of her dancing to the song.
“We put #1EPICSummer out on a whim, we didn’t know how we were gonna make it work, but we knew we were gonna make it work,” he says. “It was energy, the universe, the lord, all of that and timing.”