Dahlak is a multi-faceted hip-hop artist that maximizes his abilities as musician, actor, poet, and educator within the transformational space of the theatre. Since launching into the national spoken word scene by winning the Brave New Voices international poetry slam (as now seen on HBO), Dahlak has been featured on media outlets such as Upworthy, 2DopeBoyz, and Pitchfork. He has appeared on the Tavis Smiley Radio show, various NPR member stations, and the last two seasons of HBO’s Russell Simmons’ presents Def Poetry Jam.
Dahlak has worked closely with Broadway veteran and Rockefeller fellow, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, pioneering the emerging genre of “hip-hop theater”. Dahlak has written and performed in several of Joseph’s critically acclaimed plays, including Word Becomes Flesh – produced at The Public Theater and The Lincoln Center. As a member of the artist collective iLL-Literacy, Dahlak has showcased his seamless blend of hip-hop, theatre, and spoken word at over 200 colleges and universities throughout the United States and Europe.
From 2007 to 2012, Dahlak has released five musical projects, which includes the album Spiritrials that served as a soundtrack to his solo play. In 2014, Dahlak was selected as a musician for a U.S. State Department International Exchange Fellowship called 1Beat. Through this fellowship, Dahlak was invited to the White House for the SXSL event in 2016 – a meeting of innovators in the arts, sciences and technology – championed and hosted by President Barack Obama.
Spiritrials, the solo play written, performed and scored by Dahlak, is currently on tour. The play was commissioned by several theaters around the U.S. and given support through the Columbia and Zellerbach Foundations, as well as the National Performance Network. Since the premiere in 2015, Spiritrials has been performed at 11 cities around the country, including two notable presentations at the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington D.C.
Currently, Dahlak is collaborating with director Roberta Uno in order to adapt Spiritrials into an ensemble musical. Development of the work has been supported by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and is being supported by California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) through a series of residencies.
Dahlak earned his B.A. degree from the University of California, Davis, where he studied English and Dramatic Studies.
I’m a writer. I deal in words. I create art that is meant to be heard, felt through vibrations, and contemplated. Various mediums, for me, are different vessels for expressing a truth through language. I believe in the ability of words to engage, enlighten, provoke, and inspire. As an educator, I share my passion for language and help others find their voice through words. My experiences have taught me that our truths are already inside of us, that certain events can reveal these truths, and that through practice and awareness, we can learn how to express our truths in ways that communicate them as clearly as we know them to be inside of us. I’ve been writing for almost 20 years, and everyday I have gotten closer and closer to this truth.