Derrick “D.Y.” McDaniel

By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — Singer, songwriter, producer and business owner Derrick “D.Y.” McDaniel, a Brooklyn resident and Boston University graduate, has done many great things in his career, among them becoming a successful attorney and owning an eldercare training and services company in addition to his musical exploits. But his latest project, which was released December 1, has a fresh and profound importance in his life. He’s released a stirring, heartfelt tune “Choose Liife,” a vocal admonition to everyone who hears it to take on the challenges in their life rather than commit suicide.

The song already had special resonance for McDaniel even before the suicide of DJ and TV personality Stephen “tWitch” Boss, who committed suicide at 40 last week. The father of two daughters ages 14 and 10 who also had a close friend and mentor commit suicide wrote the song  after being particularly moved by the recent suicides of former Miss USA Chelsie Kryst, as well as Ian Alexander Jr. (son of actress, Regina King).

“One of the things that you never know is how people are truly feeling,” McDaniel told the Tribune last week. “You see someone like tWitch, you think they are on top of the world. Chelsie Kryst was a radio and TV personality, a former Miss USA. What could she be upset or unhappy about in her life?  But it’s not nearly that simple. I really felt moved to address this issue, especially because I have two young daughters and I see their struggles.”

Though it’s only been available since the start of December, McDaniel says he’s already been approached by several teachers who want him to address their students, and have been moved by the song’s message urging anyone who feels suicidal to seek help and choose life rather than death. Part of the proceeds from the digital download purchases will go to benefit the Samaritans of New York with their efforts at suicide prevention.

According to a recent CDC study, there were more than 46,000 residents across the nation who committed suicide in 2020, and it was the second leading cause of death among those ages 10 to 14. “Choose Life” s available on multiple streaming formats. There are also two video versions, one with a male and the other a female vocalist. It will soon be available in other formats as well.

“Choose Life” for me is about much more than just putting out a good song, though it’s done in a way that I think does work with its primary audience in terms of structure,” McDaniel concluded. “But this is about something that is really affecting every community, and especially the Black and Brown ones, and our youth. I hope it helps prevent anyone who might be considering suicide choose to live instead.”

“Choose Life” now available on all streaming services and formats.