Ran Dosis is a German/American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and musician. Born and raised in a multi-cultural and artistic family in Heidelberg/Germany, Ran Dosis discovered his passion for music at an early age. Taking piano, singing and percussion lessons in his childhood, he also over the years taught himself the guitar, bass, various synthesizers, talk box and music production. After years of creating demos, rehearsing and performing in Germany, Ran Dosis decided to move to New York City. He is currently working on his new album called Age Of Flamboyance.
S2S: Born and raised in Heidelberg a rather small and conservative city in Germany you decided to move to New York, a pulsating metropolis in the United States. Why New York City? Were there other cities you were attracted to?
Ran Dosis: Coming from a “multi-racial” and multi-cultural family and being a dual citizen, I early on felt an urge to go places where I could meet more people of similar heritage. In my teens there was a strong passion for everything American and shopping in the PX/Commissary was always a highlight. I really love Heidelberg but for my young adulthood, I wanted to explore and grow as an artist. I realized that I was really looking for inspiration to write better songs, too. London and Berlin were also on my list and I lived in both before deciding to move to NYC. New York is so multifaceted and vibrant and I had many transforming encounters in my time here.
Ran Dosis is your artist name. Ran in Japanese means “rebellion, uprising, revolt.” Dosis is German for ʻdoseʼ as in a specified quantity of a therapeutic agent, such as a drug or medicine. Any relation? What is the origin of your name– does it have a meaning?
Ran Dosis: It is a derivative of my American family name which is my third given name: ʻRandolphʼ + ʻsisʼ…so yes there is a medication/drug reference. But at that time, it just sounded cool to me. Originally it was one word: Randosis, but I changed it to two. Iʼm influenced by various mythologies and after coming up with the name, it also reminded me of a combination of various Egyptian figures put together as well. That Ran means rebellion in Japanese I remember looking up at one time but there was no conscious correlation.
S2S: You are a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, when did you first realize that music is your true passion?
Ran Dosis: As music and art were always around me growing up and it was never alienating or considered an out of the box career choice within my family, it came to me quite naturally. I came in contact with a variety of genres and instruments through family members, among them, my uncle Roy Randolph (percussionist for the German acid jazz group De-Phazz). The first glimpse I had probably when I was around 7 but the actual decision I made in my late teens. I noticed that I could learn any instrument and got better at writing and producing music. That art is also my true passion I realized later although the foundations were laid early in my childhood.
S2S: Has there been a special encounter in your life that has had a special impact on you and your career?
Ran Dosis: In the context of becoming a musician there are so many… In the context of becoming an artist there are more specific encounters: I received my first extremely harsh criticism from Terence Trent D’arby’s former Manager KP Schleinitz after a performance in London, who made me question my lyrical contents, stage performance and image. Through him I met my stylist Jamie Rose who in addition to many musical stimuli also helped me a lot in developing a more unique look. I wasnʼt yet that familiar with, for example, Grace Jones, David Bowie or Thomas Dolby.
S2S: Who do you look up to? Do you have some kind of role model?
Ran Dosis: In my early childhood definitely my family. My father has composed many piano pieces in his life and my uncle played percussion, drums and guitar. Once I got to listen to more music, many musicians became role models. Of course the greats such as Prince, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Kraftwerk and lot of 90’s Hip-Hop like 2Pac and Outkast. And more recently Robyn, Lady Gaga, Gotye and Kimbra. Currently, I’m more inspired by female pop artists as I feel they push more boundaries than males.
I also look up to people who have a bold artistic expression such as Marilyn Manson. Apart from musical role models I look up to people like Martin Luther King, Helena Blavatsky, Aleister Crowley, Manly P Hall, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Eckhart Tolle, Friedrich Nietzsche, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, Peter Joseph and Jaque Fresco.
S2S: You have stated that Ran Dosis “is a conglomerate of artistic and idealistic conditioning. A human being on a path to self-realization and discovery. A brave reflection of different cultural environments.” Beyond a stage name or persona, Ran Dosis seems to be a concept that you strive for on and off the stage. Can you talk a little bit about the ʻtransforming encountersʼ you have had in NYC?
Ran Dosis: In New York I mingled with supporters of The Zeitgeist Movement, Occupy Wall Street and The New Age Community. I have met people that helped me reflect upon and understand my lifeʼs path. People that are culturally way different from me. Others that are extremely idealistic and helped restore my faith in humanity. Folks that helped me establish in NYC and equally spirited ones I could collaborate with.
S2S: How long have you lived in NYC? What neighborhood do you live in? Is there anything German you miss?
Ran Dosis: In Manhattan Harlem/Morningside for 3 years. I miss my family/friends, Heidelberg Spring water, fresh air and collecting mushrooms.
S2S: You have performed at the famous “Amateur Night” at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. What was it like to be on stage at such a historic venue?
Ran Dosis: It should have been exciting but from the very beginning my enthusiasm was rather moderate. A contact of mine had been to many Amateur nights and strongly advised me against doing an original song. I have original material and donʼt really like covering songs. I chose an original anyway and also a rather provocative entrance, which the audience didnʼt all that much appreciate. It was still a memorable experience.
S2S: Your upcoming album is called “Age Of Flamboyance” – we seem to be rather in an age of restrain or austerity, especially in financial terms. You mentioned The Zeitgeist Movement, Occupy Wall Street and The New Age Community – do you find flamboyancy in those groups?
Ran Dosis: Thatʼs exactly it. We have been living in a time where things have been artificially kept scarce. Not just resources but also thoughts and knowledge which ultimately goes hand in hand as they are resources too. The latter aspect is changing though, at least for the ones that are hungry enough. Iʼm talking about intellectual and spiritual flamboyance too which is somewhat of a counter reaction. “Secret” knowledge throughout the centuries had been passed down to only the chosen few…now everyone is able to initiate themselves using Google.
S2S: Your first music video came out in August, why did you choose your track “Birthright”? What meaning does this song have to you?
Ran Dosis: It tells the story of my own spiritual rebirth in a way. It is a song about slavery and freedom in the outer and inner sense. I want to encourage listeners to start asking deep fundamental questions about how their lifes relates to the big picture and how their decisions and actions affect society and the future of humanity. Those are questions that I have been asking myself for years and I think those questions are essential to understanding what freedom means in our current system and what it could mean in the future.
I chose the track because it has a liberating and self-empowering message and I wanted to share that. We see a lot of rather purely entertainment-based pop music out there and I wanted to do something that is emotionally charged and poetic…
S2S: What can we expect from your upcoming Album Age of Flamboyance?
Ran Dosis: ..And that is also the broader topic of the album. It’s philosophical and expresses a yearning for a different life. I don’t think anyone has to mention at this point what’s going on around the world. With the information available and instant communication it’s in everyone’s face. It’s just a matter of choosing to recognize or ignore it. Age Of Flamboyance is about the transition from the old “Age” to a new one.
It is inspired by people that actually care about the evolution of mankind, not just intellectually but are willing to actively participate. It is also an attempt to portray socially conscious and spiritual topics in a more eccentric and fashionable way. Musically, the album is a “One Man Band” project and all the songwriting and production are entirely my own. I like the notion of singer-songwriters performing their own material.
S2S: “In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the world as changeable. And help to change it.” Which meaning does the quote from Ernst Fischer on your website have for you?
Ran Dosis: I recently came across this quote and his book: The Necessity of Art which in addition to my own observations and reflections helped me understand not only the necessity but the purpose and role of art in the context of human evolution.
I believe that the higher function of art is to reflect culture in a way that is actually transforming and not merely to aid self-preservation. It should help to open minds and not to close them even further. Through art sophisticated intellectual concepts can be communicated allegorically and metaphorically, and in combination with sound inspire human beings on a deeper level.
Raת Dosis – Singer-Songwriter/Producer/
Official Website http://www.randosis.
A.O.F. Album Trailer http://www.youtube.