David Strickland was born and raised in Scarborough, Ontario and grew up in the infamous Gilder Housing Project. His family, from Newfoundland, Labrador and Northern Quebec have strong French roots that trace back to Jacques Cartier, along with deep seeded ties to the Mi'kmaq and Northern Cree Ancestors. But being a First Nations youth growing up in the housing projects of Toronto wouldn’t stop David from dreaming big.
The rise of Hip Hop music in the early 1980’s gave Strickland an opportunity to learn this new culture of B-boying, DJing and the art of rap bringing a renewed passion into his life. He began to learn about music production after borrowing a EMU SP120 drum machine and sampler for a weekend, transforming the would be DJ-MC into an aspiring young record producer. By the year 1992 Strickland was enrolled in a Radio Broadcasting Program at Humber College and he continued his education graduating with honours from the Trebas Institute for Audio Engineering.
A couple years later he met his mentor, Master Recording and Mixing Engineer- Noel "Gadget" Campbell. He worked alongside Gadget and Sam Weller at Audio Flex Studios, SLAM and Studio 306 in Toronto. He quickly enlisted in a training camp for professional sound engineers moving on to commanding the school’s Technical Maintenance Departments as well as teaching positions in of Engineering and Production.
By the late 1990’s Strickland was working with such artists as KOS, Ghetto Concept, Jelleestone, Kardinal Offishall, Saukrates, Jully Black, Tara Chase, Marvel, Da Grassroots, Point Blank and Choclair. In 1999 Choclair’s debut album "Ice Cold" went Certified Gold in Canada winning a Juno Award for Best Rap Album. Strickland was a lead engineer on the Glenn Lewis album entitled "World Outside My Window" which won the Juno Award for RnB Album of the year, went Platinum in both America and Canada and nominated for a Grammy for RnB Album of the Year.
In 2004 David continued to make his mark in Canadian Music gaining attention and nominations for awards and plenty of radio airplay while working with Big Black Lincoln, KOS and Divine Brown. From 2005-2009 he began travelling to the United States collaborating with artist such as Redman, Method Man, Keith Murray, Wu Tang Clan , Def Squad and the Legendary producer Erick Sermon of EPMD.
Grammy Award winning producer Noah "40" Shebib and long-time friend of Strickland’s began working with Drake on his first instalment "So Far Gone". Making waves in America the album became the first Mixtape Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. Shebib quickly enlisted Strickland to work on Drake’s debut album "Thank Me Later" which was released in 2010 and nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. As the momentum grew so did the opportunities to work with artist like Jamie Foxx , Sade and Rick Ross.
In 2012 David won his first Grammy for his work on Drake’s album "Take Care" which won the award for Best Rap Album. He continues to be one of the most sought after producers in Canada with his latest collaborations on Que Rock’s Pass The Torch and Strickland is set to launch his first ever producer’s album that will combine First Nations with mainstream Hip Hop and RnB Artists. David’s life has seen many challenges but he has persevered and succeeded at the top of the Canadian music industry for nearly two decades.
For many years David has lived a traditional life, being involved with the Anishnawbe Health Center in Toronto participating in daily First Nations ceremonies such as smudging, talking circles and a weekly sweat lodge. He has combined these traditional and cultural teachings into his work and over the years developed a unique artistic expression through drawing and painting. To date he has produced hundreds of pieces and has paintings featured in several galleries throughout the greater Toronto area. Donating many works of art to communities across Canada he is dedicated to raising funds and awareness for murdered and missing Aboriginal Women and important social issues. He has close ties to elders and communities in the Maritimes and Ontario and is accepted as a Mi'kmaq brother.
David Strickland is one of the few Indigenous Audio Engineers in North America. He owns and operates David Strickland Studios in Toronto and was just recently featured in a VICE documentary by Noisey, "First Out Here, Indigenous Hip Hop. He continues to build Recording Studios for business and community projects and is a positive force in music, the arts and an inspiration to First Nation’s Youth across North America.
David has dedicated his life to this healing power because for him… it all starts and ends with Music.