The Lava Lizard Interviews Daley


    Daley promo TheLavaLizard

    Daley was first introduced on The Lava Lizard as a Burning Up artists and since that time he has truly raised the heat across the UK music scene, thanks to his unique style and incredible voice. So, now that his new single, ‘Remember Me’, has officially been released, it was quite fitting for me to chat with him in a very informative interview!

    During our chat, Daley described how he got his start in music, and his experiences involving working with Jessie J and Marsha Ambrosius. Additionally, the singer-songwriter spoke about his biggest influences, his upcoming tour with Miguel, cracking the US market, and he even addressed criticisms about him being a “white” Soul artist.

    Listen to Daley shout out The Lava Lizard then read our full chat below:

    Hi Daley, how are you?

    I’m good! How are you?

    I am fine! It’s great to finally chat with you!

    Yeah, it’s good to be speaking with someone from the real the world as opposed to Twitter. {laughs}

    I usually kickoff interviews by asking the typical questions but you’re a relatively new artist and there is still a lot that people don’t know about you. So, tell us how you got your start in music.

    I’m from Manchester in the UK and I basically saved up some money – I had a 9 to 5 – and I moved down to London and I got myself out to every open mic night or show that I possibly could. I eventually managed to get one of my early promotional records played on the radio and that led to something that I did with the BBC where them, which is basically what got me the attention with labels in the UK.

    Then, I began writing my album and also did a collaboration with the Gorillaz, which got me out there a little bit more. That was my first official release. I continued writing and writing, which eventually led me to the release of my ‘Those Who Wait’ mixtape and that was my first statement as an artist to the world. That mixtape got me noticed in America and resulted in me getting signed in the US. I think that is a very brief summary of what has happened with my music to date. {laughs}

    You said that you released your ‘Those Who Wait’ mixtape via your website. Was that record well received?

    It was amazingly well received in comparison to what I had expected from it. I didn’t really know what to expect because I haven’t really put any of my own records out apart from the song I done with the Gorillaz, which wasn’t really an indication of my style; it was just a song that I wrote with them.

    I was hoping that within a year I might get 5,000 downloads on my website but it grew and when I last I checked, it was at 150,000. It seemed to reach all areas of the world and that’s was so amazing to me. People in different countries were able to hear my music and follow what I was doing, particularly, in the states where the song with Marsha Ambrosius, ‘Alone Together’, was really well received, that did a lot for me regarding my momentum in the industry over there.

    Other than the Gorillaz, were there any other artists with whom you worked before the world was introduced to Daley?

    There is a really amazing UK rapper called Wretch 32, who is huge over here in the UK. I’m not sure if he’s that well known in the US yet but I did a collaboration with him for his album, which was a top 5 record over here.

    The song I wrote with Marsha, I actually did that quite a while before the mixtape came out. I probably did that record 8 months before I put the mixtape out when I wrote that song; it was one of the first songs that I did. So, I actually worked with Marsha before anyone knew who I was so I guess that would be the one.

    You recently released your single, ‘Remember Me’, which features Jessie J. Is that track set to be the first official single to be released from your debut album?

    The first official single from the album is ‘Alone Together’. That’s the record that is out in the US .  ‘Remember Me’ is the first official single for the UK and Europe. As the album campaign goes further, I’m going to bring everything together so it will be the same singles in every country. ‘Remember Me’ is featured on the new ‘Alone Together’ EP I just released in the US. It features the ‘Alone Together’ single, ‘Remember Me’ and a couple other new songs.

    Have you chosen a title for your debut album?

    I have a name that I’ve been considering but I haven’t told anyone because I have a strong feeling that it’s going to change. I have a habit of changing things at the last minute so I’m not saying at the moment. However, there is one that will be the title of one of the tracks on the album, which is one of my favourite songs, but unless I have a light bulb moment it might change.

    When will you release your debut album? 

    The album will be out in spring 2013. I’m still working with ‘Alone Together’ in the US. I’m going to be back over there to do some promotion and some live shows.

    I know a few people who want to see you perform live in the US but don’t know when you’re there. {laughs} There isn’t much momentum to market you in the US compared to has been done in the UK.  Is there a reason for that?

    I think it’s because of the way I’ve done things so far. It’s all been unofficial with the mixtape but I have been signed now so it’s getting more official. In many ways, the US is a huge place and there is still many people who don’t know about me. Plus, I’m also juggling time between the UK and the US.

    Early next year I will be in the US more. I’m looking to be over there for about four months to really say “hello” properly and do some touring. I was over there for the Soul Train Awards a couple weeks ago, which was great but again, it was a really short trip so people didn’t know I was there. It’s definitely something that I’m looking to pick up early next year when things are ready kickoff. I just want to spend time there, so that people know that I’m there.

    Will ‘Remember Me’ be released as a single at all in the US?

    I’m not 100% sure. There is a possibility but I’m not sure. We’ll see.

    What was it like working with Jessie J on ‘Remember Me’? She’s so animated and has an massive voice! What was it like working with her in the studio?

    It was great! I’ve known Jessie for a couple of years. We both met in London when we were both relatively unknown and doing these open mic nights and showcases, and just trying to get our music heard. We did a couple of shows together and after that we just kept in touch. I loved what she was doing and she loved what I was doing.

    We always said we wanted to work together and do something but we were waiting for the right song. When I wrote ‘Remember Me’, I felt like it needed a female part and she’s the only female that I know personally who has the voice to carry that record.

    When I initially asked her about doing ‘Remember Me’, I sent her a text message and she didn’t get back to me for two months because she was ridicously busy. She was a judge on ‘The Voice (UK)’ so I thought the record wasn’t going to happen but about three days before the record went to radio in the UK, she texted me saying, “let’s do it! I love the song, let’s do it tomorrow!” So, we went into the studio and it was done.

    Many artists coming out of the UK typically record different versions of their albums or singles. Will you be doing a different version of your album for the US?

    It won’t be different in terms of the core elements of it. There might be a couple bonus tracks or there might be a couple tracks that I might change. I’m trying to make an album that is pretty universal and covers the things that I want with the album, such as honest songwriting with soul at the core of it but something that sounds modern. I’m not trying to make a retro album.

    I love incorporated elements of Hip-Hop and also British influences like Imogen Heap and Radiohead. I like incorporating all those things. Overall, the core album will be the same.

    Let’s talk about Daley the artist. I definitely hear elements of Marvin Gaye and some elements of Smokey Robinson in your singing. Were they major influences on your sound?

    Yeah, it’s weird actually. I wouldn’t cite them as my main influences. Obviously, they are amazing artists who I respect a lot and I love their music but I would say they’re not the specific artists who have the biggest influence on me.

    I would say my biggest influences are Donnie Hathaway, Prince, George Michael, and a mixture of Neo-Soul and music from the late 90’s. Of course, we have my British influences like Imogen Heap. She is really an alternative, interesting artist.

    Many artists were influenced by people like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Smokey but I wouldn’t say that they were my core influences, which is kind of strange. It’s still a compliment to hear you reference them {laughs} and it makes me very happy!

    When I listen to your music, I hear an artist who pays attention to detail and you’re motivated to develop your craft. It’s rare to hear a guy in 2012 sing like that. How do you work on your voice? Do you train regularly? Give us some background into how you developed as a singer?

    I never had vocal training when I was younger but I sang a lot. I did choirs, talent shows and I did small things when I was younger. I was always a singer and I was always doing it in some way. I used to sit in my bedroom and analyse the artists that I loved. I guess I started off replicating a lot the artists that I mentioned previously; just getting into that mind space of transmitting emotions and feelings. As I started writing my own songs, that’s when I started to feel like it became my own and brought my own edge to it.

    In terms of training, I’ve never been the one for vocal training. Now that I am getting quite busy and I’m doing many shows, there is a lot of strain on my voice. So, I’ve had to do some vocal training to keep my voice in good condition. Your vocals cords are still a muscle so you have to condition and train them so that you can sing as much as possible and not lose your voice. That’s the main thing but everything else I try to keep as natural as possible.

    If there was one artist out today to whom you are quite similar, I would say that person is Miguel. Are open to recording a collaboration with him?

    I think Miguel is great. I’m so relieved for R&B in a way that someone like Miguel is doing so well because I really think he has a lot of integrity as an artist. I’m definitely a fan. He is actually doing a tour in the UK in January and I’m going to be supporting him on the tour, which should be a lot of fun.

    I’ve actually met him a couple of times. I met him at the BET Awards this year and I think he’s cool so you never know. Collaborations have to happen naturally. We’d just have to see how we click. He’s definitely someone I respect so I would never say never.

    Now, on to a bit of a controversial topic. Some people say, “who is Daley? He looks like a white guy and he’s just singing R&B He’s just using Urban culture.” Do you ever encounter such criticism? Is so, how do you deal with it?

    I don’t actually encounter that criticism on a regular basis. Today, I feel quite lucky that most of the comments I receive are all pretty positive. I think the music seems to be speaking for itself. I think the people who make those comments have issues about the subject personally because that’s not how the majority think.

    My only comment will be that I make music in a very natural way and it’s from the soul. When I hear Soul music, I don’t think of a country or a race. Yes, Soul music was born in the US and I acknowledge the history of it but to say that there are certain guidelines to being a soulful artist, I think is ridiculous. There are lyrics, melodies and music that come from your soul.

    I know it sounds cheesy but that is the essence of it. That’s why people hold it so dearly and that’s why it’s so special to some people.  I’m not trying to copy anyone’s style with my album. I’m definitely trying to create my own sound and my own lane. I think people who make those comments are too narrowed-minded about what music is in general.

    It has become very common for young artists to go to ‘The X-Factor’ and ‘American Idol’ to get there big break but you didn’t take that route. Did you ever consider it?

    At one point I really disapproved of those shows and thought it was kind of cheating. However, as time goes on you realise that everybody has their own path. There have been some great artists – not a lot – but there have been a few great artists who have come out of those shows.

    It’s not something I wanted to do because I’m not really good at being told what to do. I don’t see how you can be an artist if you are being bound to certain rules and contracts. I would find it really hard. I don’t think it’s something I would’ve ever done so I’m glad it all worked out the other way. At the same time, I don’t look down at anyone who’s doing it as it’s just different strokes for different folks. {laughs}

    Final question: when it’s all said and done, 50 years from now, when you’re finally considering retirement. How would you like to be remembered as an artist and as a person in this industry?

    I would like to be remembered as someone who made music that stayed with people throughout their lives. I want to be known for making music that meant something to people that became the soundtrack to their lives. Just someone to make music by which to live. I definitely don’t want to be a ‘throw away artist’ and maybe open the eyes of those who think that Soul music is only for certain types of people. I’d like to be someone who proved them wrong.

    Thank you so much for your time Daley! I’ve learnt a lot about you!

    That’s good! Thanks for calling!

    I look forward to hearing more from you into next year! 

    Thank you very much!

    Daley’s four-track ‘Remember Me’ EP is now available on iTunes so click here to purchase your talent. Also, watch his new video for for the title track, featuring Jessie J, below:

    What do you think of the interview?