“I’m not a DJ,” says Toto, a 28-year-old who lives in the US.
“I don’t do anything.
I don’t care.
I’m not even trying.”
“I just want to do something good,” he says.
Toto’s life is a mix of his music and his own.
He grew up in the city of Orlando, Florida, in the southern part of the state.
“My dad was a carpenter.
He started working at night and he made a lot of money,” he tells Newsweek.
“It’s not like he was rich or anything.
He worked as a mechanic and then he started a business, and he sold it.
I had to take care of the kids, and it was hard.”
Toto was born in Orlando and moved with his family to the US when he was five.
“At a very young age I had a problem with my mouth,” he recalls.
“You don’t say no when you want to say no.
It’s not the first thing you do when you don’t want to be around people.”
But it wasn’t until the age of 12 that Toto realised that his voice was not what he thought it was.
“When I started learning how to play drums and my dad started teaching me how to make beats, I knew I wanted to be a musician.”
So Toto enrolled at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and played drums for two years.
But it was the summer after his first year of school that Toton was hit by a car.
“A guy in a car pulled up beside me and I hit the brakes,” he remembers.
“And then he hit me and it ripped my left knee out.”
Toton’s father and mother were killed in the crash, and his mother also suffered a fractured hip and shoulder.
“The injury was so bad I was paralyzed,” Toto says.
“But I didn’t think I’d ever walk again.”
After being paralyzed for five years, Toto had to relearn how to walk.
“Then, two years later, I started to walk again,” he explains.
“For a while, it was okay.
Then, the pain went away.”
But Toto still had the same problem: “I couldnt get up,” he adds.
“So I decided to give it another shot.”
So in 2014 Toto signed with the local record label, Epic Records, and made his first EP, which featured guest spots from fellow US hip-hop artists, including Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign and A$AP Rocky.
His EP, A Toto Toto Presents: One Day at a Time, made its US debut at the 2016 Grammy Awards.
“This was a great first step for me,” Toton says.
But after three more years of recording his EP, Toton decided to pursue his dream of making a movie.
“After this, I was like, ‘Wow, this is a big deal,'” he recalls, adding that he was even inspired by his success in the music industry.
“There’s so many things that can happen when you do this, like you’re going to be making millions and millions of dollars.”
So how did Toto end up making a $150 million movie?
The answer is simple: “There were many meetings with the producers, with the film companies, and with the directors,” he said.
“They were really receptive.
I knew it would be a big hit.”
“It was a lot more about me and my voice than it was about the music,” Totsos father said.
Totsoto, who has three sisters and one brother, says he was surprised to discover that his music is not only a creative tool but also a source of inspiration.
“As soon as I started doing music, I had this feeling that I was doing something that I wanted, that I would be happy doing,” he told Newsweek.
And that was something that inspired him.
“What I’ve learned is that you don’ need to be the biggest star in the world, or the best, or you have to be successful in order to be creative,” he continued.
“If you’re successful, you will be the greatest artist of all time.”
And so Toto began his career as a producer.
He has worked with artists such as Beyoncé, Chance the Rapper, Macklemore, Kendrick Lamar and Nicki Minaj, to name just a few.
He says that his first experience working with rappers was on the production of his own song, TotsiNam, which was featured in the film, as well as collaborations with artists like Lil Yachty, Kanye West, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne.
“That was when I met Drake, and then Lil Wayne and Big Sean,” he revealed.
“We just did the project together, we did the album, we recorded it, and Drake was the producer.
That was just a huge learning experience.” Totso