Kevin Daniel

If you haven’t heard of Kevin Daniel yet, you will (and in fact, you may not realize you’ve heard this guy already). The singer-songwriter from the small town scene of Ohio, who was awarded a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, has since recorded an EP with a friend of PEV’s, Mr. Mikal Blue. The effort is titled “Dreaming Til Dawn” and made it all the way to #2 on the I Heart Radio chart.

Let’s get to the present, and chat a bit about the newest EP, “All the Wiser”. Daniel says “What I like about these songs is the diversity. There is the more traditional pop-single, ‘Better Than Gold’, the uplifting mid-tempo, the raw ballad, and the more artistic, epic kind of song. But they all feel cohesive to me.” It’s all part of Kevin’s overall sound, guided by his skills on the ivories, and his ability to craft a tune himself that speaks to his audience on a whole different level. Check him out and his new EP, “All the Wiser”. He’ll be all over the place supporting it. Keep reading now for all the answers to the XXQ’s.
XXQs: Kevin Daniel (PEV):  How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?
Kevin Daniel (KD): I would say it's a piano driven pop sound with a singer-songwriter lyrical approach. I just try to write songs that tell a good story backed by a melody that moves me.
PEV: Growing up in a small Ohio town, what kind of music where you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?
KD: I grew up listening to a lot of the singer-songwriters from the 70's like James Taylor and Cat Stevens. I wouldn't say I had a main influence but I was definitely inspired by the solo artists more so than any bands.
PEV: Tell us about your first ever live performance.
KD: I was maybe 8 or 9 and it was a piano recital. I played a pretty standard song first and then walked over to the organ and played the theme from "The Phantom of the Opera." It was epic. Haha
PEV: What was it like for you when you first started out and making the transition to professional musician?
KD: I've been working on music mostly my whole life but it's only been about two years since I fully committed to a solo career. Like any transition it's full of uncertainties but also incredible opportunities.
PEV: Do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?
KD: Yep, I was around 16 and I was writing a song that was unlike anything I'd written before. I came to realize that I was pretty much re-writing a song that already existed which is why it was sounding so good. It took several more years before I ever had that feeling again with an original song.
PEV: What can fans expect from a live Kevin Daniel show?
KD: Lots of pyrotechnics and jumping around. Haha. Kidding. No smoke and mirrors, just playing the keys and singing the songs. Sometimes with a band, sometimes solo. I like simplicity and I try to connect with the audience on a personal level.
PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?
KD: Am I wearing pants? You know those terrible dreams where you're in public and you've forgotten your pants or something... I just go into a different state of mind on stage and try to stay relaxed as if I were singing alone in a room.
PEV:  What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?
KD: Life. Cliche maybe, but true. I write songs to explain pieces of my life to others or even to help myself understand something. The best ideas are usually the ones that come out of nowhere. The inspiration might have come months prior and all it took was the right melody and chords to bring it all together.
PEV: Tell us about your latest release, “All The Wiser”. What can fans expect from this work?
KD: I put out my first EP about a year ago but I've grown a lot since then and I wanted my fans to be a part of that growth. What I like about these songs is the diversity. There is the more traditional pop-single, "Better Than Gold", the uplifting mid-tempo, the raw ballad, and the more artistic, epic kind of song. But they all feel cohesive to me.
PEV: Describe the kind of mindset you had to be in to create this album?
KD: I wanted the recordings and the production to be raw and un-altered yet still exciting and engaging to listen to. My producer, Andrew Williams knew exactly how to guide me in that process and we pushed each other to stay true to that goal. In many respects I'm at the very start of my career, but I also know how many hundreds of terrible songs I've written over the years to get to these.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Kevin Daniel?
KD: I'm a bit of an insomniac. Not by choice really, I just can never seem to slow down my thoughts enough to sleep. It's not a good thing I know, but I suppose there are worse things in life.
PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew you wanted music to be a large part of your life, if not the biggest part?
KD: I was traveling around Australia for a few months and it was the longest I'd ever gone without playing music. I started to feel an intense urgency to get out there with my music and just see what happens. Music has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember but that was the point at which it become the only thing I wanted to focus on.
PEV: What one word best describes Kevin Daniel?
KD: Passionate.
PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?
KD: On my way to Chicago right now for a show at SPACE which is an amazing venue there. Best part is traveling. I absolutely love to travel. The worst part is not being able to exercise as much or eat as healthy as I'd like.
PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?
KD: I am counting the days until I can go on tour in the UK. I've never been to Europe and there are so many places I'd like to see.
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?
KD: Thankfully they're all completely supportive and encouraging. Sometimes you have to celebrate the small victories to stay positive but friends and family only see the big picture so they're always excited for me. And playing for my hometown is such a fun time. I see people who've known me since I was a kid and it means the world to me to have the support of my hometown.
PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
KD: Watching movies. If I could I would watch a new movie every single day. I'll go see movies by myself or start watching a movie at 3am. I'm fascinated with acting and good films. Aside from that I enjoy running and just hanging out with friends.
PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
KD: You mean besides me?! I recently came across Andrew Belle's music and I'm hooked. Really great writer and singer.
PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think you would be doing as your career?
KD: That question gives me the chills...I really don't know what I'd be doing outside of music. My thought has always been if you have a back-up plan you're going to take it.
PEV: So, what is next for Kevin Daniel?
KD: Brunch at Denny's. After that? I just want to be on tour as much as possible these next few years and continue releasing music along the way.


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