Earlier this week, Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric sat down at The Knickerbocker hotel rooftop for an in-depth interview with Tony Nominated Daveed Diggs. Couric and Diggs discussed his rap career, his Oakland roots, how he met Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and more.
Daveed Diggs of ‘Hamilton’ on his Tony nomination, Broadway debut and rap career
Below are excerpts from the interview:
· What he thinks about everything that’s happened to him – “Before any of the accolades or anything happened, I was doing the best thing. Like, I have the most fun doing that show every night with all these great people. So everything on top of that has just been like, my cake has a lot of icing right now, you know?”
· How he and Lin-Manuel Miranda became friends – “Through Freestyle Love Supreme. The first time I workshopped Hamilton out at Vassar. And I was sort of sitting with him at lunch one time, thanking him for having me come out and be a part of this. And he said, when you grow up, and you love rapping, and you’re also a theater nerd that cross section doesn’t exist in a whole lot of places sometimes. So you sort of feel like a unicorn. And when you see another unicorn, you’re like, ‘Hey, we’re both unicorns. Let’s be unicorns together for a long time.’”
· What he said after hearing the concept of Hamilton – “It’s a terrible idea. Send me the script. Once they sent the music, I was hooked you know, he was writing real intricate, complicated raps for me to do, which was so exciting. ‘Cause he knows that’s the kind of stuff I like to do. So it’s really great to work with your friends on a project.”
· Sleeping on the subway and couch surfing in NYC after college – “I must’ve been 22 or 23 or something. And I had a lot of friends out here. I was sort of doing some epic couch surfing slash sleeping on the subway, when couch surfing didn’t work out. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I liked the two train for– for naps.”
· What he remembers about Hamilton’s opening night – “It was a totally unforgettable night. I was crying. I was, like, in my dressing room weeping and backstage sort of weeping before I went on, trying to get myself together. Like, “this is not gangster.” But it was because my mom was there. My oldest friends were there. There’s no way I would’ve been able to do it without them.”
· What happened when his brother and friend woke him up on the morning of the Tonys – “They broke into my house and jumped on my bed. And we drank champagne at 9:00 a.m… like, some classy dudes.”
· Does he think about life after Hamilton – “Not really. I mean, we’re so in it right now. I have the luxury of having people who are thinking about what happens after Hamilton, while I just get to go do Hamilton. And now all of these doors are open. I think this idea of a big break is a lie, I think there are a series of events that are very important in your career. And hopefully, the trajectory is a positive one. But you also can’t really worry about that. If a project feels good to you, say yes. And do it with everything that you have and hope that the outcome is good.”
· His love of rap music – “Something about the structure the confines of writing meter and within a bar structure, it was actually really freeing for me. And that was it for me…I was writing in the car on the way here.”
· His rap group CLPPNG and what they’re working on – “We called our band CLPPNG, ’cause we’d use a lot of harsh, abrasive noise, even though we actually mix it all very careful. There’s very little actual audio clipping in the things that we put out… There is a CLPPNG album coming out this year… I’m working on solo stuff. Me and Rafael Casal are working on a new mixtape.”
· Why continuing to rap is important to him, even with his busy Hamilton schedule – “It’s the one voice that I have that nobody else has input on, really. Lin wrote the dopest show I’ve ever been a part of. Lin, I’m not hatin’ on you. I would never. But it’s Lin’s. You know, the words are Lin’s. But rap music is mine. I make those decisions. And the words that I choose to put out into the world are mine.”
Catch Hamilton now on Broadway.