Updated: Mar 29, 2020
"If my foot can get in the door, I will take it."
In a place where opportunity falls short and inspiration is slim, Winston-Salem bred A&R, DJ, and music connoisseur transformed the odds into possibility. With an early exposure of playing the cello music has always been something near and dear to Savant, however upon attending Hampton University is when things really began to pivot for the young extraordinaire. As time progresses, Savant is transforming his footprint on the music industry and those along his side in the process.
Who is Dom and where are you from?
Savant: Well my name is Dominique Hill and I am from Winston-Salam, North Carolina. I go by Dom Savant in the Hip-hop world. My Professor gave me that name after going through several other names. I am an A&R Rep for Valholla Ent, located in Miami, Florida, Radio Host for Greengate Radio located also in Miami, Florida, Hip-Hop Curator for Blu Cloud Radio in Norfolk, Virginia. But, it all started me playing the cello and being a photographer.
Give us a little background on your upbringing and has your hometown held any influence on your path?
Savant: I started playing the cello in the 3rd grade at Carter G. Woodson in Winston-Salem. I never was in the music scene in Winston like I am in Virginia or the Hampton Roads Area. I started out at Hampton University as a Political Science Major because I had a passion for changing policy in high school, however when I got to school I noticed I could use that degree to network with people. My concentration was in American Government, which consist studying all levels of government from the Federal to the Localities. I applied those skills and was about to network with playmakers and bosses, instead of the workers who don’t make choices.
As a connoisseur of music, what song would you say grasped your interest or developed your love for music?
Savant: I would say classical music gave me my start. Classic music was one of the first genres here before Pop, Hip Hop, R&B music, etc. Classical music is some of the first pieces of music that a musician plays when training and learn their craft. I also believe that when people pick up a instrument they learn how to make beats and sample correctly.
With various accolades under your belt, what do you think is the hardest position to play behind the scenes of the music realm?
Savant: Recently I decided to DJ, after hanging out with DJs for about 5 years. However I am not in it for the money or to play what is hot. I want to play only Independent Music. The guys who ask DJs to play their music in the club, the guys who grind to get the top, or the people who are tired of hearing the same music. Yes, I do it for them. With this is being a new title and a new lane I find this the hardest.
Recently I've seen that you're starting up a new radio show. Give us the inside scoop.
Savant: So I started being in the radio business November 2018. I am on Greengate Radio which is located in Miami. My show is called The Indie Weekly where I showcase indie artist from all over the country. My next move is to have two more radio shows with some of my friends, Malc Fisher, Czar Nicholas, Daygo Red, Swisha Sweet P, and Tuu Yung. One show will be first impressions of music with indie interviews. The other show will be hip hop history and advice.
As we both know North Carolina is musical incline, what are your thoughts on this new wave? Are there any weaknesses that you identify and any strengths?
Savant: I see North Carolina becoming the new wave for up and coming artist flock to, like Los Angeles or Atlanta. Yes, before J. Cole we had Petey Pablo and 9th Wonder. I don’t believe my generation knew who 9th Wonder of Jamla was, but I knew. Now we have Da Baby and Stunna 4 Vegas. DJs like DJ B Eazy are also helping indie artist out be exposing them to other states.
Throughout the years you've spent quite some time in Virginia, which I like to consider a hidden gem when it comes to the indie world, What are some of your favorite things about VA's Indie scene?
Savant: In Virginia, everyone know s each other. It’s nothing for me to go to a house party and we all have mutual friends. Then I go to different showcases and the same artist can be at all of them. The unity in Virginia is crazy and I love it. However I feel that Richmond is the step child to Virginia. I feel this way because the Hampton Roads to made up of seven cities Hampton, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Chesapeake, and Newport News. It is easy for the same music to circulate in the seven cities, however unless you are in the area all the time i feel you can’t make a huge impact.
Some of your favorite artist to work with or have worked with?
Savant: Let me use this section to shoutout all the people I have worked with: Tuu Yung, Swisha Sweet P, Young Reid, KhiIinfinite, Kuatro Kash, Marty Martian, Bully, Retro, L.H., Jig E. Jay, JAiMS, Czar Nicholas, DJ Scott Free, DJ Rick Geez, DJ Karee, DJ Tralmix, Daygo Red, Wallydadon, Steady Hyperactive, Breezo, 4amChef Jimmy, CampCee, Underdogs Midwest Music Plug, DMV Music Plug, A. Breeze, NOMG, MikeWAVs, Slim Kartel, DJ Dwill, DJ DStylez, DJ Jskills, Malc Fisher, DJ Ire, LME Judo, Pe$o, James Parker, R. Locko, Ghetto Ghost, Avrex, Kelly Kell, Zay Blaze, JunKi, BluCloudRadio, Valholla Ent, ListentoSIN, NASA, 8Ball, Ghod Osama, Cadillac Cat, Walker G.S., Skuzii, SouthSide Yoko, Trigga, Gator Fresh, EOS, Jack Union, Icyyy Jay, Stapleton, DJ Morriscode, MandoSZN, DJ Barry B, Smokey, DJ J-Roc, C Note, Rescue Jordan, Eazy 803, Prime, Chuuwee, Trizz, Below System Records, JBdaPilot, Spanish Millo, Balcony Boise, Ghod Osama, Nais, VA Free, Batman, Pops, Moms, Woodrow, DJ Sauve, DJ Ceehuud, AWall, Alexander Fay, Frequency, Jypsy, JD, Calev...I hope I didn’t forget anyone.
What are some essentials/skills that you recommend artist to possess or grasp in order to be successful in this game?
Savant: Learn how to play an instrument. And keep your circle full of people who will push you.
Are there any people who may play the same role as you in the industry that are doing their thing?
Savant: I do everything expect mix and mastering. The best person I can think that does what I do is DJ Khaled.
If the opportunity to do work from a mainstream perspective ever presented itself would you take it? Why or why not?
Savant: If my foot can get in the door, I will take it. At the same time I will do my indie thing at the same time. There was a time when I hate mainstream because it was predictable to know what there next project would sound like. Now as the person I have become I must keep my ear to streets to know what is hot and not.
What would you like your biggest contribution to the industry to be?
Savant: That indie wave I am doing. I want to be the sole DJ who only spins indie music at parties and events. However in my past life as a photographer and being the only photographer in the school, the work load can become overwhelming.
When it's all said and done where are looking to create your empire?
Savant: I'll stay in Hampton. It is close to DC and Winston-Salem.
What's next for Dom?
Savant: Aye if you read this article right, you peep the next move. Chess, not Checkers.
For more on the connoisseur, tune into Twitter and Instagram and be sure to catch Dom on Greengate Radio:
Twitter and Instagram: @dom_savant