Solo Musician Interview: Daniel Shaw

Daniel Shaw Photo

Where are you from?
I’m from Melbourne, Australia.

How long have you been playing your respective instrument(s)?
I have been playing piano for 14 years. My dad started me off and then I received classical training, completing all my exams up to my Associate Diploma in Music (AmusA). Guitar was the second instrument I took up. I have been playing that for 8 years since the age of 12. I also bought a drum kit and received bass guitar lessons when I was 15, although this was more for the purposes of broadening my musical capabilities.

What genre of music do you consider your work to be?
This is a question I generally struggle with and ask others to help me come to a conclusion with. However, I believe the majority of my music can be categorised as Pop Ballads with piano always featuring heavily.

What are your influences?
Originally, the works of Billy Joel & Elton John inspired me to play piano and sing simultaneously. My Dad used to listen to their songs a lot when I was younger and they featured heavily in my repertoire when I first started street performing at the age of 8. Nowadays, Ed Sheeran & James Bays’ beautiful song-writing, soulful vocals and intimate concerts influences my music. Coldplay also influences the style of my music. I love their catchy melody lines and the way the piano is incorporated into their music.

Do you do covers and if so what’s your go to?
Yes, I have done covers since I started street performing on the streets of Melbourne. I love the process of creating a completely different feel with songs I cover, almost forgetting what the original song sounded like. My go to cover songs are those which are either powerful ballads or contain heavy and meaningful lyrics and melodies, such as: Photograph & Castle on The Hill (Ed Sheeran), Fun (Coldplay), Let Her Go (Passenger).

Do you have a process for writing your songs?
Yes, the first and most important thing for me is to be alone when I write my music and to have a piano or keyboard around. I generally go into the studio, turn the lights off and play spontaneously. My phone is generally left on the piano recording whatever it is that I end up doing. This is because a lot of the time I don’t know whether I will come up with my next single in 5 minutes or whether it will take a couple of hours. There have been times when I have forgotten something that I spontaneously played or sung, and I got so frustrated wishing I had just been recording the whole session. Lastly, I will listen back to my sessions as I go about my day and see if anything sticks.

Do you have any interesting/funny stories about gigging or touring?
I have plenty of interesting stories but I’ll stick to one! When I was 12 I dropped out of school to tour America with my Dad in promotion of my first album “LOVE”. We didn’t really know what we were doing so we brought anything and everything including large school textbooks so that my Dad could “homeschool” me. However, this never happened and we just added this to our 300 kg of luggage (including way too much sound equipment, foreign coins and much more) which we hauled all over America and then Europe.

What song do you remember most from your childhood?
The song that comes to mind from my childhood is “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. This is one of the first songs that inspired me to perform the way I do. My dream was and still is to become the next piano man, selling out the biggest venues in the world.

What has been your biggest challenge as a performer? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so then how?
I’ve always been a very shy and reserved person, so merely performing in-front of people was my biggest challenge from the start. I believe that learning to play the piano as well as sing really allowed me to focus on something else instead of what people thought of me. Over the years, playing the piano has become a part of how I sing. To me the two are not so different and I believe this is a result of the initial challenge of performing, which I had overcome with my growing connection to the piano. Nowadays I don’t feel playing the piano whilst singing impedes me at all, but allows me to connect to people in a whole new way.

How can fans-to-be gain access to your music?
My music is available on all streaming platforms including: iTunes, Spotify, CDBaby, Deezer.

Have you released anything yet/if you have then how has it gone down and are you planning anything for the near future?
Yes, I released my first album “LOVE” in 2011, my second album “IT’S YOU” in 2016 and just recently I released my new single “Don’t Leave Me Now”. At the moment, I am promoting my new single and planning the release of my next single “Used to Be” possibly around February/March next year. Also, a tour in the UK for next year is on the cards!

Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues?
I have performed at various venues in Melbourne Australia, including: The Toff In Town, The Workers Club, Palace Hotel and more. While I was over in America I played at the World Championships of Performing Arts for Australia and I did various TV performances, Open-air shows and street performances around Europe. At the moment, The Toff in Town is my favourite venue in Melbourne. The quality of the sound is amazing and it has a great balance between intimacy and venue size.

Do you have any upcoming shows?
Yes, I have just confirmed a double headline show with Séb Mont on the 12th of January 2019 at The Toff in Town, Melbourne Australia. Supporting acts include: The Elliotts & Villah.

What do you think about downloading music online?
I think that for practical purposes, more and more people are downloading music online as many people do not own CD players anymore. However, there is still great value in purchasing physical albums and I think that is why people will still purchase albums, vinyls and tapes. This is mainly for the purpose of having it on display or being able to say, “hey I have so and so’s album”, really demonstrating support and encouragement towards the artist. If I really enjoy an artist’s music I will generally purchase their physical album in support of their music and also for the personal enjoyment of having a copy of my own.

What’s your outlook on the record industry today?
I believe the record industry is ever expanding and opportunities to make it big are there for the taking, for those of us who are willing to press forwards no matter the odds or the sacrifices necessary along the way. For up and coming musicians and recording artists, the industry can sometimes be quite daunting and even discouraging however it is also quite exciting at the same time.

And let’s end with something a little different…Which famous person, alive or dead, would you have dinner with and why?
I would have dinner with Billy Joel because he was the one who first inspired me to begin this musical journey!

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