When the name Donald Glover comes to mind, you might think comedian, actor, writer, singer or even rapper. Regardless of which art you align him with, you’d be right. His flourishing career seamlessly journeys through many professions, thus showing his great talent and ability to thrive in every climate. How does he do it?
Earlier this month, the 34-year-old hosted NBC’s long-running sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, and his opening monologue parodied the often stated “triple-threat” persona he’s been given. Although the night was full of laughs courtesy of the Atlanta actor, it also showcased just how multifaceted he truly is, as he transformed into Childish Gambino to debut two new singles, “Saturday” and “This Is America” — the latter of the two currently sits comfortably at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Just when you start to think Donald Glover’s celebrity came out of nowhere, when taking a look at his life, fans of the performer will find that his artistry began as early as his teenage years. As a student at DeKalb School of the Arts, a performing arts magnet school, and later a graduate of New York University Tisch School of the Arts, Donald explored his talents in a setting that was conducive to his artistic success. Exploring his musical abilities, he started working as a DJ and producing music while in college, in addition to script writing. After obtaining a degree in Dramatic Writing, and sending writing samples to producer David Miner (Master of None), he was brought in to work on 30 Rock as a writer for the show. From then on, his acting career began to take off, with cameos on the show and ultimately landing a role on NBC’s TV series Community.
In addition to working as a writer and newly established actor, the Georgia-bred creative also continued with his musical efforts, producing an independent mixtape in 2008, titled Sic Boi, under the moniker Childish Gambino, which he later explained came from Wu-Tang Clan’s name generator. While working as a member of the sketch-comedy group, Derrick Comedy, he not only continued producing independent music on the sidelines like his second mixtape, Poindexter, he also wrote and starred in Mystery Team alongside his comedy troupe. His multi-tasking skills are definitely worth praise and quite possibly a talent in itself.
As Donald Glover continued pursuing everything under the sun, he found that music would be an integral part of his life, due in large part to recognizing the freedom that came with being an independent artist. He produced a number of projects including mixtapes I Am Just A Rapper 1 & 2 and Culdesac, his debut studio album Camp, and his second studio album Because the Internet, in addition to several others while simultaneously working on stand-up comedy specials and before signing on as creator for the FX series Atlanta. It’s safe to say that no talent is left behind when it comes to Donald and Childish, but no matter what came along, the music always remained.
More recently, the multi-threat act made major waves with his third studio album, Awaken, My Love, categorized as psychedelic funk, soul and R&B, which steps away from Childish Gambino the rapper and features mostly singing from the artist. His single “Redbone” peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was featured in Jordan Peele’s thriller, Get Out. Most recently, Donald will be hi the big screen once again as Lando in Solo: A Star Wars Story, all while we await the release of his fourth and final studio album.
If Donald Glover’s path has taught us anything, it’s that there are definitely more than one. The secret to his successful venture into a number of fields in the entertainment industry is attributed to pure hard work and diligence, and obviously talent. He never explored only one avenue, instead he traveled them all. His persistence never allowed him to give up on one talent, even when it didn’t produce the desired results at the time. Whether it was taking to Youtube with his comedy group when SNL went in another direction, or choosing to eighty-six his very first musical effort, which he likened to a “decrepit Drake,” he always believed that he was capable of producing better results than before, and he did.
— Jon Favreau (@Jon_Favreau) February 18, 2017
If Donald Glover decides to end his journey in music and, indeed, never chooses to create another genius album again, we’ll remain appreciative for the contributions he has left us with. Thankfully, it’s more likely that his productive nature won’t let him get too far away before a dope concept for a fire track enters into his consciousness and Childish Gambino makes his grand return. Until then, we patiently await his forthcoming album and his role as Simba in the upcoming 2019 remake of the musical Disney animation film The Lion King. The sky is truly the limit for Donald Glover.