Not long ago in a galaxy far, far away, Gwen Stefani crash landed on planet N.E.R.D. to form super group D*NIK Music. D*Nik is an Electro-POP/Indie Rock duo from Virginia. Drawing comparisons to N.E.R.D., J*Davey, Bjork, and Portishead, this songwriter/production team began “officially” collaborating on projects with local Virginia artists in 2006.
Duane studied jazz trumpet at LaGuardia High School and was a regular on New York's music scene and public transportation lines growing up. He shuttled back and forth between private lessons and illegal, underaged performances at various seedy nightclubs with legends like Wynton Marsalis where he learned jazz and the subtle cockiness associated with being a musician. Wanting to duplicate the opportunities he found in New York, Duane co-founded Peach Fuzz Entertainment and The Fuzz Band while attending Hampton University. Accustomed to writing and arranging pieces for traditional jazz and Big Band configurations, he began tracking musical ideas in GarageBand and Reason.
Nik was Classically trained in college, studied Jazz with her father, sang Gospel in the church choir, and head-banged with her friends at an all-white high school while trying to maintain some semblance of “blackness” with her weekend friends from the next town over. Nik met Duane while attending Hampton University and ultimately joined The Fuzz Band as a lead vocalist. Initially tormented and somewhat confused about her vocal identity, she began penning lyrics to Duane's tracks which strangely complimented her vocal personality disorder.
Unable to part with their musical collaborations, the duo began scheming on ways to fund their own project. Duane "D*" Smith and Nakia "Nik" Madry were married in late 2011 and used their guest’s generosity to complete and release their debut album, Rockz and Slingshotz on January 1, 2012. Laced with musical contradictions, the 18 song compilation brings a new twist to modern pop by fusing dark undertones, clever lyrics, and dabbling in angst driven rock, power ballads, and hip-hop.