Named One of The Top Artists To Watch in 2015, Daniel Wilson Breaks It All Down For All Access!
Posted On 24 Mar 2015
Tag: Alan Broadbent, Alanis Morissette, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Ariana Grade, Artist Interview, Bebe Winans, Beyonce, Cece Winans, Christian Contemporary, Clark Sisters, Daniel Wilson, Detroit, Drake, Fred Hammond, Halls, Janet Jackson, Jealous, Kirk Franklin, Love Me Harder, Love To Give, Mariah Carey, Mark Ronson, Mase, Michael Jackson, MTV, Nick Jonas, Nicki Minaj, No Doubt, Only, Perfume Genius, Prince, Proofread, Puff Daddy, Selma, Singer-Songwriter, Sun Kil Moon's, The Boy Who Cried Thunder, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, The Tokens, Too Bright, Uptown Funk, VH1
The Detroit-based singer-songwriter, Daniel Wilson will surely be a household name this year. His combination of futuristic yet minimal production and Wilson’s nostalgic vocals make for a fantastic pairing.
Learn all about Daniel in the following interview:
Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for All Access Music! Where does this interview find you today?
I am in my room, in the house I have been living in for about 14, maybe 15 years–I’m not sure anymore. I’m just relaxing and taking it easy.
Can you remember the moment when you decided to be a musician? Was there ever a time when you thought about being something else?
For the longest time I thought I would be a doctor. I stopped thinking that maybe when I was 12. My Dad would always call me “Dr. Daniel” when I was younger so I figured he knew something I didn’t. Probably when I was 19 or 20 when I realized that being a musician was something I wanted and needed to be.
Growing up in Detroit, what kinds of music did you listen to?
I listened to a lot of gospel growing up. Cece and Bebe Winans, Clark Sisters, lots of Fred Hammond and Kirk Franklin. If I wasn’t listening to gospel or Christian Contemporary I was listening to whatever was on MTV or VH1 with my older siblings; Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Prince, No Doubt, Alanis Morissette, Puff Daddy (when he was still Puff Daddy haha) and Mase, etc.
Your debut album, The Boy Who Cried Thunder is being raved as dynamic and beautiful. Where did the inspiration for this collection come from? And can you describe your songwriting process?
Love–how confusing it is and how the many times you think it is there, it’s often not. But the ride of a relationship can make you believe in so many things, in so many people. And some people can’t love the way you need them to, want them to. Some aren’t ready to be loved. And that’s okay. But YOU have to make sense of what you can make sense of and keep going.
It helps when I get to think over a situation for awhile and feel as bad as I want to feel. And when you can stop crying about it, maybe you can allow it to make you feel good somehow. . .whether you get a good scream out, dance, write a sad poem or a song that makes you so happy that you were able to express yourself. The goal wasn’t to not only feel good but to be/do better. So that was kind of my writing process. I’m just thinking and being honest with myself so that I could level up. Haha! 🙂
What are some of your favorite songs to perform live? And why those in particular?
Hmm… “Proofread” was fun to perform live! I love getting to really dive into a song vocally, I love it to be challenged that way and “Proofread” makes me really have to search my feelings. I’m still finding myself as a performer so the songs I have made that demand I “live a little” get me going. They make me nervous but that’s what makes it so exciting. Getting to share who I am with strangers. Singing “Boy Who Cried Thunder” also gave me that feeling because I love hearing that silence that comes with being on stage and the only thing that can be heard is your music and emotions that at one time were only in your head and your heart; now everyone can hear it, everyone can feel it. That’s important to me.
More times than not, influences tend to bleed through. What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making? Any songs that you can’t get out of your head right now?
I’ve been listening to “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson, “Only” by Nicki Minaj, “Love Me Harder” by Ariana Grande, and “Jealous” by Nick Jonas a lot lately. Album-wise, Too Bright by Perfume Genius has been a magical experience, Love To Give by Halls really makes my choir boy heart warm, and Sun Kil Moon’s Benji is so heavy–opens you up to how painful yet beautiful it is to be human. Of course I am always listening to Beyonce because it’s pretty much a requirement. And Drake is always worth thousands of listens.
A ton of international publications are raving that you are an artist to watch out for this year. What does that feel like?
It feels surreal and gratifying. I know everyone says this but I don’t believe it has really hit me yet. To me I am still just Daniel Wilson: Socially Awkward Michigan Man-Boy. I am writing this while in boxer briefs, in a room I have spent the majority of my life in. MEANWHILE, music listeners from across the land are making predictions about my career that I haven’t even made yet. It’s wild and amazing.
Thus far, what’s a favorite memory or something quirky that’s taken place with the band (in-studio, onstage, or elsewhere)?
At my first gig, me and some great musician friends of mine performed The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens. I thought it was a really bad idea but my friends convinced me so we went for it. The crowd ended up really digging it.
When you aren’t performing or writing new material, what do you like to do for fun?
I love to watch movies, read online articles, go on road trips. Bowling, riding roller coasters–two things I haven’t been able to do in forever. I enjoy going to museums whenever I get the chance to. Oh my, so many other things but I just can’t think of anything right now. But I really love movies. So many I haven’t seen yet, for goodness sake–it’s award season! Gotta see Selma.
What you like people to take away from listening to your music?
That’s a big question. I’ll just say that I want my music to immediately let listeners know that it’s okay to feel and to feel strongly. Because to me that’s what we’re here for. We’re here to feel for ourselves and for others.