Defining the sound of a 'lost champion' with DeAndre Golden

FLINT, Michigan — The creative culture of Flint, identified as “community,” is a romance that could only be articulated by a resident of the 810. With a desire to give back to his community, music producer and instructor DeAndre Golden, also known as D. Golden, is defining what it means to be a Flintstonian through his work and business endeavors.

Attending the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff and the University of Michigan-Flint, respectively, Golden studied the fields of music production, audio engineering, and communication, and has been sharing his skills ever since, working as a director of more than 50 school programs in Genesee County.

Golden also spearheaded several music-related programs such as Rhythm Nation, BANGtown Studio Productions, and his own program, The Lost Champions. Through this program, he helps aspiring music artists and producers learn the business of music, proper industry etiquette, and provides them with resources to help them on their journey.

In this capacity, Golden has been able to work with numerous local artists, including Jerne, Rashaad Reed, Brelia Renee, Sway Montoya, and Velly Beretta, to name a few. Flintside caught up with the music aficionado at a studio in Swartz Creek to talk about the sound of Flint, his relationship with the community, and how it’s the “best time to be an artist here.”

Flintside: In your own words, describe the 'sound of Flint.'

D. Golden: “If we talk about the 'sound,' I would describe what you see if you Google or Youtube the sound of Flint. Artists such as Rio, Mike, Jay, Gramz, Kidd, and Louie all have an expansive fan base. They’ve found a way to tap into an overly ready market for what artists here produce. It's a diverse sound and the world is going to evaluate that as the sound of Flint.

I respect the people who’ve opened doors for artists here and contributed to our artists’ trackable numbers. We’ve always had talent. We just lacked the infrastructure to put people in the game. Once we began seeing that infrastructure grow, we saw instant success. Our sound is strongly stamped and supported, and the door is open for diversification.”

Flintside: What has Flint given you, and what would you say Flint has taken away?

D. Golden: “Flint gave me resilience and took away my innocence. I can no longer be like, 'everything is gonna be perfect,' because I’m talking to kids wearing RIP shirts to school. It’s me evaluating the next generation’s perspective. When I talk to my students, and I can hear a tone of discouragement, that’s when I know that I can be real and give a real perspective. The city will take away your innocence but give you what you need to overcome.”
A focused DeAndre Golden in the studio.
Flintside: Describe an impactful relationship you’ve had within the community of Flint.

D. Golden: “The most impactful relationship I’ve had was with Bernard Terry. At the time, I felt that I’d reached my peak in engineering, and I ended up meeting a mentor who also became a father figure. We’d discuss music and get into deep conversations about life, and it reprogrammed my brain. Watching him work with other people made me revere him more for what he had done for me. BT changed who I was and helped make me into a better brother, a better son, and a better teacher just from having someone with a particular level of experience and compassion. BT helped me develop a sense of emotional intelligence.”

Flintside: What is a 'Lost Champion?'

D. Golden: “Simplistically, a Lost Champion is a talented underdog. It is someone who knows they’ve got it; not because they’re arrogant, just aware that a higher power [gave them] this talent. It’s figuring out how to operate with your talent in a world where things are validated through popularity or superficiality and don’t necessarily cater to the anointing of talented people. People overlooking me don’t take away from the fact that I know I am special. With Lost Champions, we’ve created this environment where we provide the tools to manifest what you desire for your talent. We have the tools to help you grow past any limitations [within] yourself.”

Flintside: What can The Lost Champions offer to the creative culture here in Flint?

D. Golden: “Apart from video services, mixing and mastering, audio engineering, photography, and just being able to provide what you’d need to create and the level you want to create is what we aim to provide. Knowing how to operate in this industry without excuses. Foundation and education; registering your music and executing the knowledge of what you need so that you’re not being taken advantage of. Most importantly, professionalism and [ensuring] your skill set matches your business marketing.”

For more on DeAndre Golden, find him on Facebook and Instagram. Also, find The Lost Champions on Facebook.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Jarielle Tasha Nettles.