Interview with Daniel Blake
Born in Arizona, singer-songwriter Daniel Blake grew up listening to Van Morrison, Carole King, The Beatles and James Taylor – his parent’s favourite musicians and artists who have had a profound influence on his own sound.
Music was always on Daniel’s mind but after a number of failed attempts to form a band in his teenage years, he convinced himself he was done with music. He moved to SoCal and worked in construction full time in order to put himself through college.
On his long drives to the construction site each day, Blake’s head was flooded with melody ideas and after visiting the music venue, The Hotel Café in Los Angeles, he realised that he needed to pursue his dream of being a musician.
Blake started to play open mic nights at coffee shops and bars in L.A and in 2018 he released his debut EP ‘Circle Mountain’.
Three years on, Blake is back with his brand new five-track EP ‘Jakarta’, a collection of stories about heartbreak in all its forms.
The EP is a perfect blend of sincere lyrics, tender melodies and evocative vocals. Each track is full of an atmosphere of beauty and intimacy, heightened by the glistening guitars and gentle piano.
The minimalist production allows space for Blake’s rich and touching vocals to shine through, filling the entire production with a warmth that remains long after you’ve finished listening.
It was a real pleasure to have the chance to speak to Daniel Blake about the release of his new Ep and all things music…
Who or what first got you involved with music/song writing?
My dad played music at church my entire life. I guess in some way his love for creating music rubbed off on me. I always had a desire to write songs but struggled to create something I thought was any good. It wasn’t until I was in my mid 20’s that it started to click.
What three words best describe your style of music?
Stories, driving, ambience.
‘Jakarta’ is the title track and the lead single of your EP. What is the story behind this track and why did you pick it as your lead single?
I had some friends who were in one of those on again/off again relationships. It was one of those passionate yet toxic relationships. I remember feeling that the doomed outcome was all but guaranteed. I had remembered an article about the city of Jakarta and how it was the fastest sinking city in the world.
I saw a correlation between the struggle to move forward during what appears to be an inevitable outcome—which is how the song was born. After recording the tracks for the EP, I noticed that each song was connected by a theme of moving forward during sadness. Jakarta just felt right.
The theme of your EP is heartbreak. Why did you decide to write about this subject?
I have thought about this from time to time. I honestly don’t know why. Sad songs just seem to pour out of me.
How do you want people to feel after they listen to your EP?
That relaxed feeling when you’re watching a good movie.
How old were you when you wrote your first song and what was it about?
I believe I was about 22. I had written a cheesy song for my girlfriend for Valentines’ day.
Has the way that you write songs changed over the years?
Here and there. I usually start with a voice note melody and build off that. I often bounce back and forth between guitar and piano to see which one inspires me more.
Has there been one particular moment in your musical career that you’re most proud of?
I did a cover of the Dido song ‘Here with Me‘ for the TV show Roswell NM which hit number 7 on the Billboard charts for songs on TV. I thought that was cool.
What new music have you discovered so far in 2021 that you think everyone should be listening to?
I think everyone should check out Native – ‘The Painting on the Wall‘, Michael Kaiser – ‘Anchor‘, and David Gray – ‘Skellig‘.
What can we expect from you within the next six months? Any more releases planned? Future gigs?
I have a few tracks that I plan on releasing at some point between now and then. There will also be some online gigs here and there.
by Eveline Vouillemin ©