AMPED UP | The Re-Making of Donnie Klang
Written By KRISSY WARD | Photo Credit UDO SPREITZENBARTH
Brooklyn native, Donnie Klang has been on his grind working on his follow up album after his 2008 debut release, Just a Rolling Stone. Unlike many of the other “Making the Band” alumni, Donnie has been keeping a low profile doing gigs here and there and dipping in and out of the studio in Atlanta to comeback with what’s already speculated to be a monster of a sophomore album. While many know his fresh face from the show, not too many know the struggles Donnie and his family had to go through before “Making the Band,” to break into the music industry. Donnie attended Hofstra University pursuing a degree in Business, but left it behind to follow his passion in music. From being in the group, I.N.T., auditioning for “American Idol,” to now working on his second solo album release, Donnie Klang dusts himself off and in true Brooklyn style – goes back at his goal even harder and re-making himself even better.
FULL BLAST Magazine: How old were you when you started singing?
DONNIE KLANG: I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. I didn’t get serious about singing until I was about 13 or 14; around high school.
FBM: Why did you get serious then?
DONNIE KLANG: Well I had friends who could sing and we started a group. We never took vocal lessons or anything, we just kind of learned off of each other.
FBM: About that group, you took time off of school to go on tour with them, correct? Tell us about that.
DONNIE KLANG: Yeah we actually went on tour and the name of our group was ‘I.N.T.’ It stood for “I’m Not Telling.” So when interviewers would ask what I.N.T. stood for, we would say “I’m not telling.” (Laughs) And they would be like come on just tell us. (Laughs) I know, I know it’s dumb but it was funny. But it was rough, I mean, we kept getting turned down and we were getting older and we weren’t getting anywhere. My mom and their parents kept telling us to go back to school so that’s actually why the group broke up. I had a scholarship before I left and I wrote a long letter saying that it would never happen again because me and my mom - growing up, we didn’t have money like that. We always lived in apartments and stuff. I wrote a letter saying that it would never happen again but (Laughs) it did cause I auditioned for “Making the Band.”
FBM: How did your mom feel about you taking time off from school?
DONNIE KLANG: I mean she was really supportive. My dad was too. They’re divorced but they both were supportive. It took my mom a while to be supportive the second time around because of the last time I took time off.
FBM: How often do you get a chance to see your family?
Donnie: It was really hard at first because we went right off of “Making the Band” to go on tour. It was like a year and I hadn’t seen them. I have three little sisters and it seemed like they grew up so much. I missed my cousin’s and my best friend’s wedding. But I got to watch the wedding videos with them so I kind of made up for it, but if they really love you and support you then they’ll understand.
FBM: Do you like being a solo artist or would you rather have been a member of the group, Day26?
DONNIE KLANG: You know what, that’s kind of to say. Had you asked me that earlier, I probably would’ve said I would’ve rather been in a group, but I like being a solo artist. There’s going to be less drama. I’m not going to argue with myself, you know. (Laughs) It’s easier to be out on the road by myself than it is with 5 other guys.
FBM: Are you still in contact with any of the Day26 members?
DONNIE KLANG: Yeah, actually Robert I know is working on some things himself, and Willie is too. I just talked to them not too long ago. They’re doing really well, working on a mixtape now.
FBM: What was your reaction when you heard the news of Que leaving Day26, and do you feel like they made the right decision?
DONNIE KLANG: It was a group decision. I mean we try not to discuss this because it’s such a sensitive topic. But a lot of emotions get involved in being in a group and sometimes it just becomes too much.
FBM: Are you still close or in contact with any of the former Danity Kane members?
DONNIE KLANG: Yeah, Shannon actually has a family that she wouldn’t trade for anything. Aubrey, she knows how to stay in the media – she has a character. Like… I was watching “Dancing With The Stars” and I seen Pamela Anderson, and her character just reminds me of Aubrey. They know how to stay in the public eye. I mean, I have to give her props for that.
FBM: Let’s be honest, how is it working with Diddy?
DONNIE KLANG: (Laughs) You know what, It’s a lot. It has its ups and downs but I think its all worth it in the end. I think he’s hard on a lot of his artists but he has to be. It helped shape us mentally for the industry.
FBM: Let’s go back to your first album, Just a Rolling Stone. How did you come up with that title? Your papa wasn’t ‘a rolling stone,’ was he?
Donnie: (Laughs) No… It was actually a name of a song that was going to be on the album. But we chose otherwise and just decided to make that the name of the album.
FBM: Do you have a release date for your sophomore project, Welcome to Heartbreak?
DONNIE KLANG: I don’t actually have a release date. But it should be coming out sometime in May. Because we kind of rushed the album and since I’m not on TV anymore. I’m really trying to take my time with his one. Sort of like how they did with Justin Bieber’s album. We’re going to take it real slow.
FBM: What road are you taking with genres for this album? What should we expect?
DONNIE KLANG: You’re going to get a little bit of everything. It’s more of me writing this time. Last time, they sort of just handed me songs and I was able to put a line here and there but this time, it’s all me. Its for everybody, whether you live in the city or the suburbs, old or young, you’re going to get something out of my music. You’re going to be able to relate.
FBM: What artist would you most like to work with and why?
DONNIE KLANG: Man… A lot of people! I like Usher and a couple of others but we’re trying to be smart and go with people who are hot on the radio right now – like Taylor Swift, Rihanna, or T.I. I know he’s coming back out with something.
FBM: You used to model, is that correct?
Donnie: (Laughs) Yeah, I used to model as a baby, but I’m thinking about going back into that. It’s something I would still like to do.
FBM: Yeah, we need to get you back into that, ‘Pretty Boy Donnie.’
DONNIE KLANG: (Laughs) I like that!
FBM: Do you see acting in your future?
DONNIE KLANG: That is something I would like to do. I can definitely see myself doing that.
FBM: Now you know all the ladies want to know if you’re single or not. You have to tell us about your current relationship status.
DONNIE KLANG: I am single. I was talking to somebody, but it just didn’t work out. I’m basically looking for someone who can handle this kind of lifestyle. I can’t give her as much attention as the normal relationship. We can’t go to the movies all the time or restaurants, but I think you can appreciate each other more when you finally do spend time together.
FBM: Would you ever date one of your fans?
DONNIE KLANG: I would really have to get to know the person. And like I said, they would just have to be able to handle my lifestyle. (Laughs)
FBM: I hear you may be doing a reality show. Is this just a rumor, or is this something you’re pursuing?
DONNIE KLANG: We thought about it. Sort of like a spin off from “Making the Band,” but were trying to stay away from reality TV because I’m already known for being on reality shows, so we’re trying to stay away from that.
FBM: You’re also known for having producing skills. Are you thinking about having a label of your own?
DONNIE KLANG: Produce? Yeah, I do actually produce. I don’t want to do too much right now. I have a lot of friends who can sing and my little sister actually sings. I’m thinking about starting a girl group.
FBM: Do you have any advice for other entertainers in the making?
DONNIE KLANG: Basically, not to give up, be yourself and keep pushing. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
FBM: Anything else you would like to tell your fans?
DONNIE KLANG: Thank you for everything - all of your support and encouragement. I appreciate all the positivity I get.