Anyone going out on a weekend night in downtown San Jose is bound to find Davied Morales. He won’t be found wandering the street or nursing a drink in one of the SoFA bars. Instead, he’ll be on stage, either at one of the area theater companies or at a venue rapping as Dav @activepoet.
Born and raised in San Jose, 24-year-old Morales credits his older sister—also a poet—with helping inform his aesthetic sensibilities. In all his high school lit classes he wrote poems, but it wasn’t until a fateful hangout session one day that Morales saw a future in hip-hop. “I had a lot of friends around me who were writing raps all the time and some were actually recording. I thought, hey this could be a good thing.” After messing around a few times with the I Am T-Pain app (which lets people record and synthesize their voice like the rapper and musician T-Pain), Morales realized how attached he was to the music by proxy, but even more so, he saw a potential channel for his poetry.
In his first few years at college he learned more about hip-hop and rap, acclimating himself to the craft, but only in the last year did he feel he truly took it seriously. Simultaneously, Morales jumped into theater and acting, and he took a degree from Foothill College’s two-year acting program.
Morales has thoroughly crossed the threshold into the spotlight. Last year he starred in the thoughtful, intimate play You and I at City Lights Theater Company. He also works for TheatreWorks, another noteworthy Bay Area company. “Anything that’s creative and helps pay the bills,” he says of the different hats he wears.
Morales considers himself a performer above all else and takes great pride in his ability to work a crowd. When he’s not acting, Morales is Dav @activepoet, a rapper and emcee with a positive, affirming style and sensibility. Influenced by such lyrical legends as Andre 3000 and J.Cole, as a performer he’s released a profusion of music—most notably with his recent “P.E. Mixtape,” which features over 15 songs with varying themes and sounds. “I talk about my everyday life—I try not to get too far from that—as well as life lessons I’ve learned along the way,” he says of the content.
Morales is excited about having recently been inducted into the TradeKraft Collective, a San Jose–based music collective. This group of young artists, using their different talents and skill sets, works to bring exposure and support to up-and-coming South Bay musicians through song releases, events, and radio shows.
As for the future, Davied Morales has his sights set on a number of projects. As an actor, he was cast in an upcoming production in Berkeley, and he’s been promoting a project trailer he acted in to distributors like Netflix. Music-wise, he plans to drop a full album sometime this year on iTunes and Spotify, as well as increase his already consistent performance schedule. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter what route he ends up on. “Any way I can to entertain people,” he says, “that’s how I want to make my living. I’m a performer above everything.”
Written by Tad Malone
Photography by Jay Aguilar
This article originally appeared in Issue 9.3 “Future”