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Discovering Dan D’Lion’s music is a fascinating exercise, a journey through an exquisite blend of musical influences from pop, rock and jazz, to the most contemporary experimental electronica, combined to create beautiful and powerful songs, rich tunes that provoke a whirlwind of emotions thanks to his incredible voice and impeccable production. Furthermore, Dan D’Lion is bringing us to the future of Pop music with his own distinctive style.
His new track ‘Superwoman’, is out now on Insanity Records, and a brand new mixtape, ‘When One Thing Leads To Another’, will follow this summer. Having recently performed at this year’s virtual BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend in May, the multi-talented singer, producer and songwriter continues to produce regular episodes of his creative ‘Isolation Sessions’, in which he works remotely on new music with collaborators including Oscar Scheller on top of performing his own material.
Across just two EPs to date (2019’s acclaimed ‘PERSPECTIVE’ and ‘BETTERMAN’) Dan D’Lion has introduced himself as an unpredictable, undeniable talent. His music is equal parts light and shade, kaleidoscopic and at times claustrophobic. What it means to be man enough is right there in the name of Dan D’Lion itself, which twists the assumed strength of the lion and the supposed fragility of a flower into something new. Musically, Dan D’Lion’s eclectic, future-pop sound found its escapist origins in his hometown of Reading.
Born to a jazz drummer dad and music-obsessed family in general, Dan moved to London aged twenty – initially inspired by a range of music from Stevie Wonder to Rage Against The Machine, before forming his hybrid of influences which now include the likes of Steve Lacy and Sampha. Working multiple jobs to make ends meet, Dan D’Lion’s struggle to blend into the crowd found a cathartic outlet in early tracks like ‘Simmer Down’, which was written in response to being mugged (and a more generational sense of anger, fear, and paranoia). He has since learned to embrace the idea of standing out, something that forthcoming mixtape ‘When Thing Leads To Another’ takes into even more personal waters…
“This project is a dive into those emotions I feel in a relationship. From the first time you meet someone…the intrigue and interest…to feeling infatuated and fascinated by them. All honest relationships have their ups and downs and I’ve learnt things from every relationship and friendship which has allowed me to better myself. We all experience that whirlwind of emotions when we meet someone that truly means something to us.”
For Dan D’Lion, ‘Superwoman’ kickstarts a new year, a brand new project, and a thrilling new chapter of analytical, acutely honest British pop.
You come from a very musical family, how did that influence your first steps as a professional musician?
Massively. My family have always been crazy supportive of my music. As a kid they used to encourage me to get on the drums and make as much noise as possible. There would be countless amounts of times where my parents would have their friends over and by the end of the night, everyone would have some sort of instrument in their hands all playing together!
When and why did you decide to move to (East) London?
Moving to London had always been part of my plan. Coming from Reading which is pretty close to London as it is, when I moved out, all the things I wanted to get involved in seemed to be in London. I moved to east by total accident and didn’t really know how much it would influence my work by being here.
Doing beautiful singing and playing the piano at the same time is a rare skill, but joining that to being able to dance/perform and on top of that being a brilliant composer, well, that’s more of a one in a million situation. How did all those talents come along together?
Haha wow! I mean for me, it’s just my way of expressing how I’m feeling. Ive never felt uncomfortable being the centre of attention when I know what I’m doing!! Put me on a horse and I’ll fall straight off… But writing and singing is second nature to me.
What inspires you and how is your creative process when writing songs and lyrics?
My environment, the people around me, food I ate, a song blasting out of a taxi going past, conversations with strangers… You should see my voice notes! I try to collect as many feelings and ideas everyday so that when I feel the urge to sit down and write, I have all this info to use and chop up and create something new.
Which are your favourite artists and musical influences?
The artists who have given me the most are Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Jamiroquai, N.E.R.D, Rage Against The Machine… I could go on
What are your views on the London music scene and the opportunities for new artists?
It’s obviously a strange time right now, however there are so many unbelievably talented people to work with in London. Since moving here, I have been blown away with the amount of talent this city has. I also feel like London is such a fruity place with so much to give and once the live side of music starts up again in full, there will be a lot of opportunities to go out and give people what they want!
You have just launched a new Album during the lockdown. It is inevitable to ask, how has this period influenced your work?
I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a challenge! I stayed with my family over the lockdown so I was finishing tracks in the room I learnt to play piano and guitar in. I was doing 13 hour zoom calls with the directors of the videos to be able to make them without putting anyone at risk. We were finishing mixes on my first set of speakers etc. I am so lucky to have incredible people around me who have been fully behind me and this project. I didn’t want to just stop making and putting out music.
Your multi-dimensional personality seems to have no boundaries. We have seen you inside an acrobatic plane in your ‘co-pilot’ music clip. Apart from the music, what are your favourite hobbies / interests?
I do have a reputation of being pretty non stop ! Sometimes I do stupid things like jumping in that plane!! However, most of the time I like to cook tacos, play tennis, watch the F1 and Arsenal.
Do you feel part of a musical generation? How would you describe your style?
I take so many inspirations from music of the past and present and hope that others take inspiration from mine in the future. I’m going to keep on pushing the boundaries by mixing genres and new sounds. Who knows what I will be creating in 10 years time! That’s what I live for.
What are your next projects?
I am constantly working with so many amazing people, I think I may put something out next that reflects that! 😜