Daniel is a Haitian American actor, director, writer, and musician born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His entertainment journey started with his discovery and passion for music at his parents church. He was a natural, frequenting the control room, where he learned to manage the soundboard and record audio. By age ten, he became a hip-hop recording artist when he took part in forming the gospel rap group, Mav-7. At age 21, he co-produced and recorded his first solo, Neo-Soul, and hip-hop album titled: I’m Sorry 4 the Delay.
Eager to learn about the other facets of entertainment, Daniel started his television career working as a production assistant on As Seen On TV. This experience catapulted his passion, interest and excitement for the entertainment industry and he became hungry to take on greater roles. Daniel and his wife/creative partner created a production company, Augustin Productions, where they have produced over five short films and created two digital series, Cake (@cake_theseries), which released on IGTV and Kinfolk (@kinfolktheseries) released in 2021. With these projects, he combined his love and expertise on developing the music, production, editing and directing. His series Kinfolk was widely recognized and selected into Tribeca’s 2022 Creator’s Market.
With so much success behind the camera, it’s no surprise Daniel is as impressive (not to mention charming) in front of the camera as well! He has been featured on the hit series Grey’s Anatomy and has notable recurring roles on the highly popular spinoff Hulu series How I Met Your Father, alongside Hilary Duff, and Hulu’s Wu–Tang: An American Saga. Daniel is most known from his fan-favorite role as Maurice on the HBO Max hit comedy series Rap Sh!t. Maurice is the lead Shawna’s (Aida Osman) friend and co-worker at the Miami hotel. Together they start a fraud ring, along the way blurring the lines of friendship and romance. Rap Sh!t, which has an astounding 100% rotten tomatoes score, is an inclusive and inspirational comedy series about two estranged high school friends who through both the dream of trying to become rappers and the need to survive, decide to try to break into the music industry. The series is inspired by the real story of the founding and later success of the rap duo City Girls.
Daniels undeniable talent and impression he made on Season 1 landed him as a series regular on Rap Sh!t Season 2, produced by the incomparable Issa Rae (creator of standout comedy series HBO’s Insecure). He is excited to show the world what is in store for Maurice in Season 2!
In his free time Daniel enjoys boxing, playing basketball, creating music, and reading. He is passionate about helping and mentoring aspiring filmmakers in film school and serving his Haitian community in any way he can. Additionally, he wants to spread awareness on the importance of men’s health (getting regular check-ups and colonoscopies). Daniel also loves spending time with his wife and furry child Teddy, his spunky golden retriever.
Hi Daniel, and welcome to OLC! So, your passion began with music, I believe? Tell us where your love for music began?
My love for music stems from the church and TV. I remember The Fugees’ “Ready or Not” music video, and my church growing up had the kind of band that would make you feel the spirit, the beat, or something, but I would ultimately find myself fully immersed. Music is moving. I used to listen to it, and soon enough, I found myself performing it; then, I was performing other people’s music first, and then soon after that, I started writing my own music.
How did you go from music to now acting? Why did you decide to make that change?
I didn’t necessarily make a change; I put music on hold while beginning to lean into the craft of storytelling in another way, another incredibly immersive way. I still need and use music. Every character I play has a playlist/soundtrack of his own. And even when I began filmmaking and edited my first project, it was similar to recording music because I was recording on Pro Tools, which is in the Avid family.
You star in the hugely popular HBO Max series’ Rap Sh!t’. Can you tell us a bit about the show and who you play?
I play Maurice, a Haitian American male who starts off the season working at the Plymouth hotel alongside the lead, Shawna, played by Aida Osman. Mo is a ninja. He is what I’d like to call a Sophisticated Savage. He’s street savvy. He is so clever. He can make money appear so long as there’s a Wi-Fi connection around, but his Achilles heel is women, especially Shawna, but women generally tend to have him at “hello.”
How did the role come about, and what drew you to it?
I saw a breakdown for this role, and at the time, it said it was looking for a Haitian or Hispanic. At the time, I didn’t see any pilots with Haitian characters in a potentially recurring role, let alone series regular.
How much of you went into the character of Maurice?
I’m in every character I play. Even if someone else I know was my connection, it still needs to filter through me, and because of that, it’s all a form of me. Good and bad alike.
You’ll be reprising your role for Season 2; what can fans expect to see for Maurice? Can you give us the gossip? lol
There is a scene where my nipples MIGHT be visible. Just a little thirst trap in case any of the fans are thirsty.
What’s it been like working with Issa Rae?
It’s been the most rewarding experience of my life to date.
You can also be seen in the Hulu series ‘How I Met Your Father’; how did that role come about, and what’s it like working with such an incredibly talented cast?
It came back. I auditioned for it in June, didn’t get it, and two months later, I got another request to audition for it again. I submitted my tape on a Wednesday, and on a Thursday, I got word that I’d be doing a chemistry read with Hilary Duff on Friday. We did. They informed me that day that I booked, they tested me for covid on Saturday, and on Sunday, they had me come to set for rehearsals.
You’re a very versatile actor; you’ve starred in both serious and comedic shows, but what do you find more challenging, sitcoms or drama series?
Right now, it’s a multi-cam. It’s not just comedy; it’s a situational comedy, and so is a single-cam, but multi-cam is connected to joke telling, so there are three to five jokes a page. So every page and every character is thirty minutes of endless laughs. Single-cam comedy can slow-burn you a bit into one or two healthy giggles in an entire act. That’s economical.
You also have a production company called Augustin Productions; what made you decide to start your own company?
IP is King. I believe that. And I was writing songs before I knew anything about publishing, so when I learned more about the TV/film industry and the difference between being on a couple of episodes of a show vs. creating the show, naturally for me, I took the leap.
You are passionate about mentoring aspiring filmmakers; what advice can you give to up-and-coming talent wanting to break out into the film and television industry?
Write something. Shoot something, or hire/partner with someone who can. Edit that thing and then release it, market it, evaluate what you did well and what you could’ve done better, and before going out and doing all of that again, consider what results you’d like to be different this time, and then go!
What’s next on the agenda for you in 2023?
I’m writing a couple of TV pilots, producing a couple of short films, a feature, and developing another feature film with a Haitian American filmmaker friend. I might be releasing some new music soon too. That excites and scares me, so I got to add that in there too.