Nomad

Image by Happy Pix Studio 

Damon Paraha is the CEO and Co-Founder of The Movement RC. But before this, he was better known for his Hip-Hop lyrics and Spoken Word poetry under the alias of Nomad. Born on October 30th, 1997 in Box Hill - but later calling the Wyndham region of Melbourne home - Damon is the 2nd eldest of 6 children to Brenda & Kent Paraha. Both parents - his father of Maori decent and mother of Samoan decent - migrated from New Zealand to Australia as children.

From birth, Damon claims to have been surrounded by music, citing his parents as major influences on his sound. He has often mentioned in interviews that his mother would sing and play R&B from artists like Lauryn Hill, Aaliyah and Alicia Keys. He has also discussed his father’s history as a dancer - crediting this as where he inherited his sense of rhythm - this and his tendency to play music by Snoop Dogg and the Dogg Pound, 50 Cent, Kanye West and various other Hip-Hop artists. This early exposure to Rap would subsequently spark a pilot light in Damon for years to come. However, although his love for music was clear, it wouldn’t be until his adolescent years, when his uncle Rob, purchased a MacBook and encouraged the family to use it’s webcam/mic features and GarageBand app to make “Family Cyphers” that he really got a taste of what being a lyricist was. Towards the final years of school, Paraha’s “hobby” of writing became therapeutic after hearing of J. Cole. Citing Cole’s, “Crooked Smile”, as the track that caused a mental shift, Paraha would begin turning his raps into poems where he could take the world as he experienced it and unpack it for a greater understanding. His teachers would pick up on this encouraging him to take up VCE English and VCE Literature to develop his story-telling abilities. Even still, music as a profession was not a realistic venture for Damon until 2015 when he would befriend Suleiman Ntakarutimana - formerly Young Bwizzi and now-known as Breezy 96Baby - who encouraged him to rap over YouTube beats and upload videos to Facebook. As he delved deeper into this practice, Paraha would simultaneously develop an admiration for the Indigenous Australians, finding parallels to his Pasifika ancestors and their semi-nomadic lifestyles, thus inspiring the moniker of Nomad (which is also Damon when spelt backwards). After graduating from Tarneit Senior College in 2015, Nomad would spend a short-while in the work force before being accepted into Collarts for Audio Production. A course he would eventually dropout of but not before meeting Peter Maglogiannis (IconicBeats). The two would form a friendship and mutual respect that would lead to the formation of The Movement RC in 2019.

 

But prior to this, the duo would only start collaborating on music in 2017, releasing “The Fixtape Vol. 1” on SoundCloud and YouTube. The lukewarm reception of what they now admit was a rushed and unpolished effort, would become a catalyst for the pair to develop and learn. For Nomad, this time would be spent studying the business-side of the industry, working full-time and participating in local music programs (e.g. Benchmark & Stir-It-Up) all while simultaneously raising a then new-born daughter. After becoming a father, his music would begin to find its own sound. In December of that same year, he would release his very first single, “An Unexpected Variable” produced by wawang, accompanied by a Music Video Directed & Produced by Mark Hellinger & Ez Eldin Deng, respectively, through CoHealth ArtsGen’s, “Stir-It-Up” program, setting the family oriented tone he is known for in his music today. His first live performance as Nomad would be at the “Push Start” Competition in Brimbank, beating out 4 other performers to move onto the Semi-Finals in Wyndham, and eventual Grand Final at St Kilda Fest 2019, where he would be awarded with an APRA AMCOS Songwriters award. This would be the same year that Paraha would welcome his son, Zion as well as participate in the GRID Series - Deep West program, leading to the release of “Destined”, an upbeat anthem in collaboration with IconicBeats and Joelistics, as well as a collaboration with fellow GRID Series participant, Ag Johnson, on her single “Beauty Within”. This release would be followed by the release of the “Intermission” EP, a 6-track project that was executively produced by IconicBeats and published by The Movement RC. 2020 would see TMRC release multiple singles, including the upbeat anthem “Testing” as well as the vulnerable, AS1 featuring single “Be Like That”. At the start of this year, the duo would also get to work alongside hundreds of other Melbourne-based musicians, when New Wave Infinity would invite majority of the scene to be apart of the “All Corners Sessions”. 2-weeks of producing/recording that would culminate in the release of a documentary and 20-track album unlike anything that Melbourne had ever seen, and one that The Movement RC had left a significant mark on. But unfortunately, this would also be the same year that the COVID-19 pandemic would lockdown Nomad’s home state of Melbourne, causing any momentum built to come to a screeching halt. Shows were postponed/cancelled, studio sessions refunded and the entire music industry was left devastated. With 2 children, a halved income and so much uncertainty in everything, Paraha was forced to adapt. He would start by applying for any job that he could find, whether it was in Manual Labour or working from home as an Administrative Assistant. Then, he would scour his social media platforms, looking for any and all online music-related challenges/competitions to enter, in order to “keep [his] pen sharp” and continue to make a name for himself as a top-tier lyricist on the rise. On a fortnightly basis, the Get Down Events would host a series of challenges, collaborating with various producers throughout Victoria to make a pair of beats, and then challenging anyone and everyone to rap/sing over them for prizes. These challenges would serve as Nomad’s introduction to the new medium and see him take gold for 3 of them. Around the halfway point of Melbourne’s lockdown, Alt. Music Group - label of artists such as Kaiit, Francoistunes and more - would issue their “Bars For Bars” challenge, an even bigger competition with greater rewards at stake. Nomad would cruise through the first round, taking out the fan-vote with his first freestyle. However, he would only go on to place second in the Grand Final behind Gold Coast’s own, Jxdah. But nevertheless, his primary goal of building momentum had been achieved, and he would carry this buzz over to the Victorian Music Awards with a nomination for “Best Hip-Hop Act” alongside Jordan Dennis, BRDZ, DRMNGNOW & Sampa The Great. BRDZ would later take home the title for this category, but the nomination would help to erase any doubt that the pandemic had caused at the start of 2020, inspiring Nomad to keep pushing and get ready for what lies ahead. So far in 2021, Nomad has returned to the Live Music scene, performing at Section 8 on 2 seperate occasions, The Leadbeater Hotel and The Workers Club to name a few.

 

Nomad is inspired by an expansive gallery of legendary artists, including the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, Drake and Kendrick Lamar to name a few. But on multiple occasions he has cited J. Cole as his “#1” while refusing to divulge the rest of his “Top 5”. Taking much pride in his ability to diversify his sound and not stick to one specific style too long, Nomad makes it a point to listen to all types of artists, naming the likes of Bob Marley, The Temptations and even Charlie Puth or Bruno Mars and more as people who he admires creatively. Since 2019, he has been working with IconicBeats and Hiriako Huirama on a debut album titled “The Nomadic” which he hopes to release in 2021. Damon is currently engaged to Te Wawata White, with whom he shares two children in Anaya ATaniko (3) and Zion William-Tane (1).

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