After getting back the bio for Director Diego Cruz, I surprisingly discover i had come across this talent early in his career. It was 2014 when him and a group of friends put together a short horror film. It was then he decided to get into making music videos and sharpening his skill sets. It was late 2015 when he started working with Icewear Vezzo who was quickly building a buzz nationally.
It was over the joint “MoonWalkin” that i first got acquainted with Diego. Unfortunately it was not the exchange i would have preferred to have with a talented person i knew was on his way to big things. But i completely understood his reason for disbelief and being frustrated. You see his video was nominated for Video of the year, yet he was not a finalist for Director of the year. Seems a little off right?
I dont really know if what i said pissed him off even more, but he left it alone and came back year after year with a undeniable presence in awards voting. Unlike music producers which often have a tag on the track so you know who did the beat, you dont exactly see artist out here giving video directors props. Knowing he deserved to be on that list of final nominations, he had fell victim to the popularity contest that fan voter awards are plagued by.
See at the time everyone had seen Diego Cruz work, but wasn’t familiar with the name. Well that soon changed as Diego was plastered on all of the hot artist coming out the city. It got to the point where if you didn’t have a video directed by Diego you wasn’t really serious with this music thing yet.
We will fast forward to the presence and get the conversation started.
Uncle P: Before anyone attempts to put you in the Local Box, where we all start somewhere but let’s familiarize the people with the National acts that are apart of your portfolio at this point.
Diego: National Acts that are currently on my portfolio are, Gucci Mane, Joyner Lucas, Joell Ortiz, Fredo Bang, Fabolous, Westside Boogie, Benny the Butcher ( Video is unreleased )
Uncle P: What has life been like since winning your Underground Hip Hop award as a director?
Diego: After the win, it was just like before, great. I just had an extra little spice to it, because it does really feel good being acknowledge by my city and peers. I love Detroit, and everything about. There’s no city like ours.
Uncle P: We notice the depth of the videos you direct, how difficult was it to turn down doing the typical video shoots and demand more creativity from the artist you are capturing on camera?
Diego: Turning down the typical Run and gun video has been and still is an ongoing battle, it’s usually more of a time thing, but I have run into artist that really don’t want to do that because they feel their brand and audience won’t appreciate it. I still catch myself doing run and gun videos, I just approach from a creative point of view, concepts and storylines are always about immersive experiences, so if I can costume the same feel with a run and gun video then it’s a mission accomplished, so over the years it’s been better. Most artist that hire me know what they’re getting into with me, cause now the first words are, I want a treatment.
Uncle P: How was the experience working along side Gerard Victor? Who i might add won the very first Best Director award from the same Underground Hip Hop awards you were celebrated at.
Diego: Gerard is definitely like a brother to me, he was the main source of my inspiration during my early career, we get confused for all the time as well, which is funny. We definitely have that little brother big brother mentality, even down to disagreements, but at the end of the day, that’s my family. I’m grateful our paths crossed, and we learn from and inspire each other all the time, we’ve collaborated on videos and share our videos sometimes to get some feedback from each other.
Uncle P: Have you done everything you wanted to do when it comes to directing music videos?
Diego: I don’t think I’ve done everything I wanted to do. I’ve been directing since 2014/15 and it feels like I’m just getting started. I want to start tackling music videos on a bigger scale. I watch music videos all day everyday, from different directors and genres. I see the scale of these projects and tell myself, it’s only a matter of time before I’m taking on a music video that has six figure budget or larger.
Uncle P: How often do you present your ideas for a video to a artist only for them to not understand your vision?
Diego: All the time, it’s funny because I pick out photos as references for treatments to display my ideas, only to show them a music video and be like “ just like this” then they see it in motion and understand. So sometimes it feels pointless to write out a treatment, but I still do it. At the end of the day it helps me as well.
Uncle P: How long will it be before we can expect a film from you?
Diego: Soon. I don’t like to speak on things before they’re done, but it’s long overdue that’s all I can say. It’s going to be something I just drop on social media. No announcement, nothing.
Uncle P: What can we expect in the next 5 years from Diego Cruz.
Diego: Bigger videos, Films, just a lot of creativity. We have so much talent here in Detroit that sometimes we don’t even see ourselves. Expect greatness and showing the world Detroit is a force that can’t be stopped.
Uncle P: If you could leave a little something for those who have followed your career and could use a word of knowledge or inspiration?
Diego: Don’t be afraid to evolve and adapt. As a creative that’s always been my biggest obstacle. We want things a certain way we forget life itself is art itself and it changes. Evolve your art, adapt to circumstances. Always have an open mind to learn because you meant something from everyone and everything.