Daren Vongirdner, better known by his stage name DVG, has been on the scene for around two years now, and his second EP only shows how much he's grown as a musician. My Life Became Beautiful
explores the artist's journey in his musical career as he leaves his nine-to-five job to focus on his art, and even though it's a very personal experience, he manages to make it relatable for everyone.
"I am trying to go back to my roots with some of the records on this EP, which is more of a happy/pop feel," DVG wrote on Facebook about what he's exploring on this record. "I don't think what I created falls under 'pop' but it has more of an uplifting feel. My past music was very dark and I realized that's not who I truly am."
He released the previous EP, Hold Me To It,
last year, and the difference between that and his latest is massive. It's not that I didn't like Hold Me To It,
in fact, I obsessively listened to it when it came out, but it definitely lacked something that his new EP has. Maybe inexperience, or not having a feel for his own sound yet -- but this new release delivers a new confidence, and it's refreshing. For a smaller musician like DVG, the fact that it charted almost immediately after it was released on the US iTunes Hip Hop/Rap list must say something, too. It peaked at #11 there, and broke the top 150 of all genres as well.
The record opens with "I'm Hooked," a single he released along with a video
on the day of the EP's release. This song's bright sound and beautiful lyrics give it amazing replay value. "I might just reel in, I'm hooked / This that feeling, I'm hooked,"
he sings. It's an anthem for anyone who's chased a dream, and the entire song really puts into perspective what it's like to have such a passion for something that it becomes like an addiction. It just encapsulates what it's like to make a bold move, like quitting a job to fulfill your passion, so well.
"Night Ends" features the only guest vocals on the album from MC Maesu, and it has a softer sound -- it's a love song about fighting and making up. "When we are old and grey, let's go crazy in therapy,"
he sings in the first verse. It's followed by "834 on a Sunday," another song that digs deep about the artist's relationship with his mom. The lyrics are what shine in this song -- it ends on a note that feels unfinished, but it also feels right with the somber tone.
"Quarter Century" was the first single, released in February -- one of my personal favorites. DVG sounds so comfortable in his voice in this song, which results in a really great flow. The song's title references turning 25 a few months before the song's release, and concludes with a few birthday voicemails from family and friends over the haunting piano and sleek beat.
"I Don't Wanna Do It" is probably the most relatable song, down to the title. Hearing the authentic emotion in his voice and having one of the best hooks on the entire EP, this track exemplifies an extraordinary amount of growth.
It's followed by another love song, "Sidelines." It's the song with the eponymous lyric "My life became beautiful / Grabbed the wheel took control,"
over smooth piano and a catchy hook. The final song on the EP is "U Frontin" -- and after hearing it a few times, and really listening to the lyrics, it's a great song to close out the album. Aside from the fact that the melody on the hook is probably the most memorable off the record, it's kind of a "screw you" to anyone who's doubted him.
I hear DVG reference Drake and Kendrick in his music, and it's clear he's influenced by these artists. And while he's not quite Chance or Gambino level yet, he's doing an impressive job of finding his own voice and getting up there -- the musical growth is clearly evident.