Today we’d like to introduce you to Dara Akpan.

It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?

My name is Dara Akpan, and I am 22 years old from The Bronx, New York. I am a recent graduate of SUNY Cortland, majoring in communications with a minor in business management. My parents are immigrants from Nigeria, making me a first generation American along with my siblings.

I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?

As a young baby, I was very sick and had a very hard time breathing due to extra muscle tissue in my throat airway. As a result, I needed surgery to remove it. My Dad told me that it was difficult to find a surgeon that was willing to preform the operation on a baby. However, it eventually got done and here I am living today. Many of my parents friends and family always remind me of how severe the situation was and that it’s a miracle I’m alive today. In my grade school years, I faced a lot of bullying for my looks. People made fun of my head shape, face, and personality. But over time, I learned that I shouldn’t let the words of naysayers phase me when I know my worth. Despite the hateful words, health issues, lack of self confidence, and academic struggles in school, I am blessed to be here today with a college degree and full time job in the career of my dreams.

Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?

Aside from my day job in real estate finance, I have a passion for entertainment. I am highly skilled in the fields of music and comedy. I began playing the drums at the age of 7, learning from older brother and on my own. 14 years later, I am forever give thanks to my father for basically forcing the instrument onto me. For most of my life I have played the drums in church and at school. Doing so has greatly assisted in the skill becoming muscle memory. Around 12 years old, I picked up a passion for rapping and lyricism. My introduction into hip hop is owed to the music of legends such as Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Tyga, and Drake catching my ear. Initially, I would make drum covers to my favorite songs of theirs and post them on YouTube. But eventually I decided to give rapping a try myself, writing lyrics down on paper to instrumental beats. After years of practice, I have greatly improved and found the will to start releasing my own songs. I believe people in the entertainment industry should work with me because I seek to be a source of inspiration and good will. I know I am gifted in more ways than one, and I want to utilize them to serve the public. Whether it be through music or comedic videos, I seek to bring a smile to someone’s face every day. This is DAK.

What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?

For anyone who seeks to have success in their life, my first piece of advice would be to define success for yourself. One person’s definition of success could be another’s definition of failure. Second, I would advise that people list out short term and long term goals. Along with writing out the goals, one should develop a plan of action. Most people have big dreams and desires, but most people fail to even start. Of those that do begin, only a fraction will be consistent and persistent enough to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Lastly, I would advise that people live in the moment fully. Time is the most valuable asset any person has. Material things mean nothing without good health and great people to enjoy it with.

Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?

To me, the definition of success is one being satisfied with their life it’s current state. If the truthful answer is yes, then that person is indeed successful.

What’s next for you?

As for what’s next, I am taking life step by step and trying my best to be better than I was yesterday. There’s a lot for me to be thankful for and a lot that I want to achieve. So it’s all about finding balance and not getting too comfortable.

Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?

People can add me on Instagram or Snapchat and subscribe to my channel on YouTube. Instagram: dakmagazine Snapchat: dakpan99 YouTube: DAK