We arrive early and are sitting waiting for our interview slot when we hear a Canadian voice chatting politely to a member of staff. It’s Daniel. He says he is here for another week and the weather is “so hot outside”. As he walks past (taking a break between interviews) he gives us a wave and a smile on his way out into the sunshine. He continues to chat to the hotel staff who show him the way out.
A few minutes later he comes back on his own, clutching a cold drink (we can’t see what of), and he makes a joke about our shopping habit (we ‘fell’ into Topshop’s flagship store on our way to meet him!)
His PR lady comes to apologise that we are having to wait (even though we are still early). She’s very friendly and told me he’d asked if we were there to interview him. We chat to her for a few minutes about her job role and the people she’s worked with and she tells us Daniel is always upbeat despite his relentless schedule. And we can certainly vouch for that!
Needless to say, on one of Migmags first big face-to-face interviews he broke the ice nicely and we hadn’t even got started yet! This puts us at ease at the prospect of asking some of our less conventional questions.
When we meet Daniel he exudes health and happiness; he is animated as he speaks, positive in his tone and has a sparkle in his eyes. He’s also game for a laugh. But life wasn’t always so rosy for Daniel; he’s come a long way from his painfully shy childhood where bullies broke his beloved violin and from his later dependency on drugs and alcohol, and here he talks to Migmag about rehab, crazy fans, surgery, Britney and “owing it all to the Hell’s Angels”…
Daniel on Music
Do you come from a musical family?
I do. When I was growing up my mother played the piano and I used to play the violin alongside her as a child. She would take me to symphonies and orchestras in the evenings, I really enjoyed it.
Apart from the violin, do you play any other instruments?
Well I don’t play the violin anymore but yes, I play the piano and keyboard and other keyboard linked instruments like the synthesizer and organ but I don’t play the guitar or anything like that.
Which other artists have you written for?
Mainly Japanese artists, you wouldn’t know them… umm…. yes, just a lot of Japanese artists really.
Would you write a song for another artist, then think it’s a definite number 1 single and keep it for yourself instead?
Would I keep it? (Laughs), umm, no, I wouldn’t. I’d probably just give it to them. And if it was for Britney? I’d definitely give it to her. Me and Brit are close, you can tell your readers that. We were in rehab together when she’d just shaved her head. She had no hair. But yes, Daniel and Britney are close! plus it’s financially smarter to give it to her as she’d sell more copies than I would.
You’ve said fame isn’t for you, how so?
Well I was a songwriter first and when I started singing I found it hard being in the limelight and all the attention that comes with that. I don’t mind interviews, like this, but filming videos, dinners and galas are difficult for me and I don’t like having my picture taken for magazines. It can make you very self conscious about how you look.
Do you have any song writing tips for any of our Migmaggers who wish to follow in your footsteps?
Be honest. Write from the heart. Write about your own experiences and not what you think the world should be like or what you think people want to hear.
What’s the most unusual request you’ve had from a fan?
I haven’t really had any unusual requests, but I have had fans doing some crazy things. I’ve had fans break into my hotel room and hide in my closet. One fan got in my room and said she wanted to have breakfast with me. I pretended to call room service but really I called security. It was an awkward call because the girl was right there listening to me thinking I was ordering breakfast so I was like (makes phone shape with his hand to his ear) ‘oh hi, can I have some breakfast… some orange juice, urm and a bit of err seccccuuuurity on the side’! It was all good though.
Who are your favourite artists of the last 30 years?
Nick Drake, you must know who he is right? David Bowie, Prince and the Beatles.
What about current artists?
Ummm, there aren’t any I like at the moment.
What about Britney?
Yes, I love Britney!
How would you describe your genre of music?
Singer/songwriter pop, credible pop.
Were you having a bad day when you wrote that song?
Bad day’? No, I was having a glorious day. I was singing (bursts into song) ‘Zipedey dooh dah zipedey day. My oh my what a wonderful BAD day’!
(Fair play, he’s probably been asked that a million times!)
Daniel on Life lessons
What would you say to your 18 year old self?
You’re not invincible. Slow down, there are repercussions to your actions.
Do you have a mantra?
Have the ability to say ‘no’ when you feel like you want to.
You played the violin as a child and other children bullied you and broke your violin so you switched to the piano. What would you say to young people who might be being bullied? What advice would you give?
Tell someone. I grew up thinking in my head that it was not ok to tell somebody and I think it’s important to be able to tell someone. It’s pretty serious you know, so tell someone.
What were you like at school?
Very, very shy. I wouldn’t speak to anyone. The teachers actually thought there was something wrong with me because I wouldn’t speak to people and I had enrichment classes every Tuesday and Thursday. This went on till I was 13 or 14.
You were studying music but dropped out, was that to pursue a singing career?
A song writing career. I never had any ambition to sing. I wrote for this band, you see my tour manager over there (points to a burly looking man with a bald head and long beard) his band, ‘The Hells Angels’ and the front man dropped out. I’d written all their stuff and when all these fans had showed up to the concert we couldn’t let them down so I had to go up and sing. That’s where it all started; The Hells Angels band. I owe it all to the Hells Angels!
What kind of drunk are you?
Well I don’t drink (Daniel has spent time in rehab for drug and alcohol addictions in the past) so I’m pretty boring I guess. I haven’t always been this way though; in the past I’d drink and get really out of control. I ended up in rehab. I was lucky, there were no repercussions for me as a result of my destructive behaviour but I know others aren’t so lucky and there are serious repercussions for them. I know other people who have been through the same experiences and they have been far less fortunate.
A Bit of Fun
Have you ever got anything out the laundry and worn it again?
What was the last lie you told?
Oh… Im pretty honest (he thinks for a while and then whispers) oh, to the promo girl, I was half an hour late out my hotel room this morning and I told her I thought the interviews were taking place down the road at another venue where we had worked yesterday. I told her I’d walked there and back and that had taken half an hour. Really I was just late getting out of my hotel room! (We assure him we wont tell!)
Have you ever looked through an ex’s mobile phone?
NO! Have you?? (We admit it) why would you do that? Did you find anything? What did you find? (He has a good point, we move on; it’s about him not us….!)
What’s the most embarrassing moment of your life?
I was playing to 20,000 people in Korea and my zipper was undone the whole time. It was really obvious because I had really colourful underwear on and everyone was pointing. I thought they were pointing because they were really into me and the song and was like ‘yeah, this is a great show’ my tour manager told me at the end that my zipper was undone and it was all hanging out. Well not all hanging out, you know, I was wearing underwear so I wasn’t totally exposed, but yeah, my underwear was out the whole time! Pretty embarrassing right?
If you had a super power, what would it be?
To fly. I’d like to be able to fly over the top of buildings; you’d get around a lot easier wouldn’t you.
What’s your favourite sport to watch and to play?
Hockey. To watch and play. (He’s referring to ice hockey)
What position do you play?
I’m right defense man. I played in the WHL which is semi-professional but had to stop as I was too small to continue up into the professional league.
What’s your favourite colour?
Do you have a 5 second rule?
At a hotel, no. Its zero. But at home I’ll drop food, leave it there and go back for it later. 20 minutes later I’ll wander past whatever I dropped, pick it up and eat it!
What household chore do you detest?
I don’t do any! Oh but I hate lauuuundry and foooolding. You see people sitting in front of the TV for hours just folding the laundry, how do they do that? That’s just so boring, right!?
What’s your worst habit?
I wish my fiancé was here for that question, she’d tell you load’s; all of them! I blow my nose like a truck driver. I just sneeze everywhere without any tissue or covering my nose, I just let it all go! I did it earlier outside here and the people near me were like ‘what the f?@* man’
How much was your last phone bill?
Dunno; I don’t pay it. I have someone who sorts all that out for me.
How often do you change your bed sheets?
Once every 3 days. I’m adamant about it. We have house staff that come in and I’m always making sure the bed sheets are done.
I’m scared of those little bugs you see- you know on adverts when they magnify those bugs in mattresses’? They scare the shit out of me, even though I’ve never seen one.
They are guna come and get you and eat you tonight….
Oh my god, don’t say that! I’m really scared of them!
Apart from your house and car, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
Yeah, my house was expensive… (thinks aloud)… and my car was pretty expensive too. Probably my watch collection, I collect watches like Cartier and Rolex etc.
Have you had/would you have any nips/tucks?
Nips and what? Tucks?? What’s that?
Yes, I’ve had my cheeks done. I have silicone cheek implants. Do you want to feel them? See if you can tell? (We oblige) see, you can’t tell its silicone can you? (We can’t). I was in a bad car crash and my cheekbones were crushed so it was reconstructive, it wasn’t total vanity. Well, it was a bit; I looked…. what’s that word?
Yes lopsided! I had one up here and none on this side so I needed it done really.
Yes, and bedbugs, and any creepy crawlies. But not spiders, I LOVE spiders!
Describe yourself in 3 words
Way. Too. Honest. HONEST TO A FAULT. That’s four words.
What’s your nickname?
Tell us a joke
What’s 1st prize? One night in Germany. What’s second prize? 2 nights in Germany!
(short pause) you don’t get it do you? If you come 2nd you lose so you get to go to Germany twice, Germany isn’t a great place and you have to go twice if you lose! (We say we do get it but are not sure it will go down too well with his German fans!)
What job would you do if you weren’t singing or song writing?
Well I wouldn’t be operating on you. I’d probably be a professional fly fisherman. You know what fly fishing is right?
How do you feel when music critics label you as a ‘one hit wonder’?
I think it’s funny because I’ve only had one record out. Usually you get to have two or three records before you can have that label right? I think it’s unfair. Like, give me a chance!
My friend is a chef, and when I asked him what typical Canadian food – his response was ‘like American but less annoying’ would you agree?
Yes. It’s less saucy.
Talking of this, the British favourite meal is a curry, have you ever had one?
A curry? No. I dunno what it is.
Indian, spicy food?
What in the UK? I don’t get it! Why is that your favourite food? (we clear up the confusion). No I’ve never tried it.
And on that note we wind up. Daniel is told we’ve come a fair way to do the interview, he asks how far but doesn’t know where Essex is but appreciates our effort and gives us a big hug as a thank you. He tells us its “the most fun interview I’ve done”. He was an absolute delight to interview, and whats not to love about him?
His new single Cupid is inspired by an elderly couple Daniel saw walking along a beach. The couple made Daniel consider love and how deep love can become and how love grows between two people. It is out on the 15th July. His album Turn on the Lights is released a day later on the 16th July.