David Dallas on breakthrough moment and featuring in Adam Sandler Netflix movie

The hip-hop artist is one of several New Zealand creators behind a new augmented reality exhibit. Photo / Supplied

David Dallas still can’t believe that one of his songs is in a movie starring Adam Sandler and produced by LeBron James.

His 2013 single Runnin’ is featured in the new Netflix movie Hustle, and the New Zealand rapper is “thrilled.”

“It was crazy, bro,” he tells the Herald. “It was in play for about 12 months before it came out, all I heard was ‘hey, do you want your song to be in a Netflix movie with Adam Sandler?’ “

Admittedly not the biggest fan of Sandler, or the “shitty Netflix movies I don’t watch,” Dallas wasn’t so sure. “But as an artist, I was like, sweet.”

Then, a month before the movie came out, her manager confirmed the news.

“I started reading the synopsis and thought, oh, this is about a struggling NBA agent, it’s executive produced by LeBron James and it’s got real NBA players. It was great.”

In fact, the filmmakers made an entire sequence around the song, which plays over a training montage in the film.

“For me, as a kid, the training montage is always your favorite part of the movie. You think of Rocky, or all the Van Damme movies or like any sports movie, it was huge,” he enthuses, adding that although I was nervous to watch it, the movie is “right up my alley”.

Within a week, Runnin’ was the third most-streamed Shazam song in the world, something Dallas said felt “validating.”

“Having tons of people around the world who see the song and want to know what it’s about, it’s a very comforting feeling, even eight or nine years late.”

Dallas thinks it’s “cool” that music released years ago can have a resurgence, whether in movies or on social media.

“Think of the Kate Bush song. It’s great because it means there’s no time frame for great music.”

Dallas designed her exhibit to reflect the moment she decided to step up as a solo artist.  Photo / Supplied
Dallas designed her exhibit to reflect the moment she decided to step up as a solo artist. Photo / Supplied

Dallas is one of five artists collaborating with Spark to bring a 5G augmented reality experience to the streets of Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch.

Along with Benee, Teeks, Parris Goebel and Askew One, each artist had the chance to tell a story through AR, with each exhibit available to the public starting today. Dallas chose to tell the story of the moment she went solo.

“Music is my first passion, but before I had an idea about music, I went to university, I studied computer science,” he says.

“I’m old enough to be like the first generation of people who recorded themselves in their bedrooms. Technology goes hand in hand with what we do.”

Dallas, whose career began under the name Con Psy with the duo Frontline, first went solo in 2009.

“People always told me, ‘You should be a solo artist and you should use your name, your birth name should be your name,'” he shares.

“And obviously you’re insecure and you don’t know what you’re going to do and it was just that. Going out under your own name is a hard thing to do, especially as a rapper.”

Dallas reveals that he is working on his own new music after a rough few years.

“I have some things in the stash.

“The last two years were a bit difficult and my brother passed away last year, so it was a bit difficult.

“But at the end of last year, after I came out of lockdown, I said, let me see if the pen still works. And it’s starting to work fine.”

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