DEFcember Interview Series: Daley - Def Pen Radio - Def Pen Radio
Daley is a 23 year-old up and coming soul/pop singer and songwriter from Manchester, UK whose flair can be seen and expressed through his music and style. Following the recent release of his Alone Together EP, he took some time out from recording his upcoming debut album to talk with Def Pen Radio’s Tony Stark.
You have a very unique, suave hairstyle. How do you manage keeping it looking so fresh?
Why thank you. It all starts with some strong-hold hairspray… and then a little more. And a little more… you get the idea.
Tell me a little about your upbringing and how you decided that you wanted to make music for a living.
I had a pretty ‘normal’ suburban upbringing in South Manchester in the UK. I was a good kid—did okay at school—but when I finished school I really just wanted to leave the academic[s] behind and focus on what I had a passion for, and that was music.
I’d always been a singer in some form, but it wasn’t until I started writing my own songs in my late teens that it became something I felt I could really do. I wrote a song called ‘Rainy Day’ when I was about 19, and that was the song that really made me believe in what I was doing. It was the first original song I ever performed live and that ever got played on the radio, and I guess the reaction I got from people when they heard it made me want to continue writing and doing it for a living.
Two years ago Damon Albarn grabbed you for the single Doncamatic for the Gorillaz album ‘Plastic Beach’. How did that come about and what was it like going into the studio with Damon and the band?
Working with Damon on the Gorillaz project was amazing for me [at] that early stage in my career. I was completely unknown at that point. I was spending a lot of time in London and doing shows and open mics every chance I could get just to get my face seen and voice heard. Someone that Damon knew happened to be at one of the shows and went back and played my YouTube demos to him. He called up and asked me to come to his studio and jam. Naturally I said yes! I had no idea what to expect, but we hit it off, worked on a couple of songs, and one day he called me in and played me this new beat he had for the Gorillaz and asked if I wanted to write something with him. ‘Doncamatic’ was the result.
Then I had the opportunity to shoot my first music video and tour the world with them which was amazing. I was on the tour with their other featured artists like De La Soul, Little Dragon, Lou Reed, Snoop and Mos Def, so it was an amazing mixture of artists to be around.
Who are some of your musical influences that have helped shape your sound?
So many artists and writers have shaped my style and sound over the years. I’d say it’s a mix of US and UK artists, the most influential being Joni Mitchell, Donny Hathaway, Prince, John Mayer, Jill Scott and from the UK: Radiohead, Imogen Heap, George Michael and Soul II Soul.
It’s been inspiring. I’ve been very fortunate to work with so many talented and successful people at such an early point in my career, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from each encounter.
Working with Marsha and writing ‘Alone Together’ is probably the most significant collaboration I’ve done to date, as it was what really grabbed the attention of audiences overseas and in the US and allowed me to bridge my music over to more people. And it’s just one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. But as I said, it’s a learning experience [that] every time you work with someone, you get a feel for how the they’ve handled things in their own career and start to see that all of those opportunities are there for you too.
With the recently released ‘Alone Together’ EP being put out, can we expect your debut album in the near future? Have you decided on a title for it?
I have a working title which I’m reluctant to share at the moment, as I’m pretty sure I’ll end up changing it! I often do that. But yes there will definitely be an album in the near future—it’s looking like Spring 2013. All of the songs are pretty much written, right now. I’m just making sure that everything sounds how I want it to and getting the balance right sonically. I am quite a perfectionist, so it’s a process. But I’m hoping to get a new mixtape out before the album… so look out for that.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else you like to say to your fans and fellow musicians out there? How can people contact you on social media?
Thank you for having me. I’d really like to thank everyone who has been following my movements and supported what I’m doing to this point and assure them that more music is on the way! I’m always on Twitter—you can find me on Twitter @DaleyMusic, and the Facebook is facebook.com/daleyofficial.