Think About Me
The track, Think About Me, is available via:
Derry, Northern Ireland/London, U.K.
27th July, 2018
IN this outing…
I will look at icons in music and how we need to breed personalities and those that stand out. I will get on to songs about love and relationships and putting a new spin on the format; artists from Northern Ireland why it is a part of the world we should investigate more; getting songs played on the radio and having that widespread and national acclaim; putting something new into the fold and creating compositions that get into the heart; a look at where D.A.N might go and what his future holds. It has been a complex and interesting week for music where we have seen the death of a music icon and the birthday of another one. A lot of mixed emotions have been swirling around and I wonder whether we are going to see a week in music where we have felt that contrast. I am looking at the modern industry and searching around for something that fills the gap or gives guidance. It would be unfair to place all that pressure on D.A.N and ask him to be this big icon and create a legacy right now – that might happen but it is a long way off! I am listening to all the music swirling around and asking if we will see any legends and big names from the current breed. It may seem like an odd point to start on but I wanted to look at music now and how it has changed since decades past. D.A.N is one of those people who brings a lot of emotion and personality to his music. I think there has been something lacking in music lately and I do ask where that next breed of standouts is going to come from. D.A.N is someone who injects so much colour and depth into his sounds. I am not suggesting artists like him will match the heady icons we have noted this week but he is part of a revival and wave of new artists are standing aside.
It can be rather boring listening to artists who stay the same and have very little innovation. I get into that mindset of hearing the same sort of thing rattling around and it can get a bit weary. Although I maintain modern music can never reach the levels of the older stuff and the artists who have come; there are so many interesting and promising musicians who are spiking my imagination. One of the reasons I am drawn to D.A.N is because he brings the listener into the music and it is a completely immersive experience. Too many tracks are quite cold and sterile and you never feel like you are part of the process. The songwriter has gravitas and passion and you can hear that in every note. Whether he is singing about something heartbreaking or not; you never feel like you are being pushed away and left out. D.A.N is a different force and really gets under the skin. His songs about relationships come from his heart but you never feel like there is cliché and the ordinary coming through. I am a bit weary of those relationship songs that deal with tropes and copy everything out there. D.A.N’s new one, Think About Me, is a hopeful song that looks at the dislocation of a relationship but has positive results. The hero is trying to make himself stronger and find independence after having his heart broken. A lot of love songs work with the negative and you can feel a bit buried and suffocated by what is being said. I like those songs that provide something spirited and stronger when they are being performed. Rather than get sorrowful and down; a track that has that lifted heart and finds something hopeful is a lot better. What you get from Think About Me is a story of facing disappointment and change but using it as an opportunity for betterment and reflection. It is inspiring hearing his latest track and the fact he is not going to let the end of a relationship get the better of him.
Having that positive approach and being a bit more optimistic given the end of love is a rarity in modern music. I hope D.A.N, following his latest track, finds a new bond and can rebuild from it. It is strange how love forms so much of the creative mindset and how important it is to music. Some of the greatest songs ever written have been about relationships but, for the most part, it is the failure and bleak that forms the majority – how often do we hear about something more rousing and redemptive when it comes to splits?! I will move on now but come back to relationships a bit later down the line. D.A.N is based in London now but is from Derry. It seems odd to focus on Northern Ireland but I feel we overlook parts of the world and often assume everything great comes from the capital. Although I am always keen to champion London music; I am much more interested focusing on other parts of the world and what is happening there. Northern Ireland has been part of the musical landscape for decades now. The Undertones are from Derry and there are a lot of interesting new artists coming from that part of Northern Ireland. I know Hannah Peel has moved to Northern Ireland and it seems there is something about the nation that is attracting artists. London is still a big draw for musicians and provides endless opportunities but, as things get more expensive and city living is not affordable; people are moving away and finding something beneficial elsewhere. Derry is a great part of a nation that has some fantastic venues and local acts. You have The Glassworks and Never Centre and there is a lot of love about the city. Northern Ireland is a fantastic country for music and you cannot ignore what is coming from there. I feel D.A.N moved because he wants to get bigger acclaim and see his music spread but I am interested to see where he comes from.
Do we spend time looking at music away from London and big cities and find what sort of variety there is available? I have been compelled to investigate Derry but there are other parts of Northern Ireland, including Belfast, with a great scene. Maybe E.I.R.E is a bit more active regarding music but Northern Ireland has so many great artists and venues to investigate. I hope more and more of us take the initiative and look at music from all around the world. As part of my daily activity; I get to discover music from all over the world but I seem to see a pattern emerging. A lot of submissions still come from obvious places and I wonder whether artists from smaller cities and towns get a look in. If D.A.N gets some love for Derry and makes me look over there; I am curious how many other artists there are that are not getting acclaim because the media is obsessed with bigger areas. I will come to a new subject in a second but I would urge everyone to take some time out and investigate the world of music – rather than what is happening in London or obvious places. That may seem like an impossible task but a bit more open-minded approach and study will broaden our horizons and make us all richer. I have seen D.A.N progress from the turmoil of insomnia and emotional worry on 0300 (Human) and arrive at a new avenue. The songwriter progresses with each release and I am excited to see where he goes from here. Think About Me is a much brighter and more vivacious song that sees him work with producer Dave Okumu and mixer Dan Parry. Between them, they have worked with the likes of Jessie Ware and Loyle Carner. That sort of pedigree is nothing to be sniffed at. It shows how much D.A.N’s music is resonating – he can attract that sort of talent and make his songs stronger for it.
Another good reason why the songwriter is important is because of the acclaim he gets from radio. A lot of artists get airplay on big stations and it is something to be proud of. There is limited space and chance for artists to get their music exposed so, if you can, make something of it. I am one of those people who is keen to get artists publicised and see if I can get them to radio stations. It is a big step if you can get to national radio and the possibilities are endless. If you can have your music featured on local radio then that is important and is a great first step. I am always listening to stations like BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6 Music and seeing what is coming through. D.A.N is an artist who has struck the imagination of radio producers and, as such, his music has spread far and wide. There is nothing to say, years from now, he cannot get to big stations in the U.S. and get a lot of tour dates over there. You have to have those ambitions and the fact he has managed to get onto big British radio stations is a huge step. I am excited to see how far he can go and what comes next. I know D.A.N is working on new material and there will be new releases very soon. I am going to keep an eye out and see what happens but I expect more and more radio stations to turn his way and play the music. If you can get your music played on radio and get reaction from it; that is a good way of getting gigs booked and having venue take note. I have heard so many artists get bookings directly from promoters and venue owners hearing their songs on the radio. D.A.N’s latest track has that summertime sound and, whilst it might be too late to have festivals lined up and get involved with that side; I am sure more gigs will come and people will be reacting to his music.
I am looking ahead for D.A.N myself and wonder whether his music has been put in the hands of American producers and radio stations. I feel his music has such a great sound and would resonate there. Radio is a hugely powerful medium and cannot be underestimated. T.V. is a potent force but how many music shows have we got right now? It is rather sad there is nothing specifically set up for modern musicians. Many have to perform on cooking shows and non-music outlets and radio, in so many ways, is the only place to hear artists. I wonder whether we will see a music T.V. show come through and whether anything will change in that regard. My point is how important radio is and its power. I am pleased D.A.N’s music has struck the ear of stations and he is gaining a lot of new fans. He has seen his music played on T.V. shows like Made in Chelsea and BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6 Music have spun his material. It is great seeing the Northern Ireland artist getting acclaim on T.V. and radio. Where does he go from here in terms of ambition? I will speak more about that in the conclusion but I feel D.A.N can go a very long way. Not only does the songwriter have a popularity and base on radio but his evolution marks him out as an artist with endurance. I have been speaking about icons and how few modern artists can match their brilliance but the industry is so much harder now. Artists like D.A.N have exceptional qualities and I feel he is someone who will remain for many years to come. I keep mentioning icons and classic music is because of the shifts in music and how we view it. I love modern music but so many artists are not putting effort in regarding composition and depth. D.A.N expends so much of himself into every track and you get a window into a unique musician who wants to inspire the next generation.
It would be easy for D.A.N to repeat himself and not stretch his ambitions between releases. I have seen many artists discover a popular sound and then not expand from there. What we get is a rather samey and predictable career where you cannot really distinguish songs from one another. D.A.N can talk about love and its complexities but is always engaging and new. I loved when he sung about insomnia and emotional turmoil – not in a cruel way – because he managed to splice a striking core with a beautiful and soulful sound. Now, when recounting a break-up and coming out the other side more positive and bright; he injects something a lot more rousing and sparkling into the mix. It is a leap from 0300 (Human) but still sounds like him. What I am noticing from his music is how much confidence is coming in. I am not saying his early sounds and timid but it seems, with every new release, that spirit is raising and he is getting bolder. I mentioned how he is working on other material and I am excited to see what form that takes. Whether there is an album or E.P. arriving; whether he has summery tunes or a mix of emotions…it is going to be interesting discovering what comes from him. Not many artists are able to achieve such leaps and evolutions between releases and keep their identity intact. The songwriter is vibing from the attention and acclaim and providing the music world with some brilliant sounds. Let me look at Think About Me and a current release that is already turning heads and getting some big love.
The hero starts the song by looking at the same old streets and investigating those old haunts. There is a patter of drums and something brooding working away. The composition is quite minimal and things are fairly tense to start with. The hero is looking at the immediate split and is walking through a street of memories. He gave the heroine space and time and it seems, regardless of how open he was, things were not going to last. I am already in the corner of D.A.N and wondering whether he will recover quickly. The early stages see the hero look at the old sights and places he used to visit with her. It has been a touch split and it is inevitable he would go back to where the two of them used to visit. You get vivid scenes and sights come through in his vocals. The composition is fairly light and that minimal approach allows the listener to paint their own thoughts. You are in the song itself and walking alongside D.A.N. Although there is that initial sense of remembrance and looking back; he is pining forward and what is coming next. The hero knows the girl is thinking of him and is still searching for answers. It would be unhealthy transitioning from a relationship and not wanting to know where things went wrong. As opposed those who wallow and let break-up eat them and haunt their mind; this is a more productive and pragmatic reaction to a bond that had been showing cracks for a bit. You get words where the author is talking to his heroine – she must think of him and knows there is something in her heart – but the music elevates and shines. The beats get brighter and lighter and electronics fuse in. It is a galloping and summery jam that gets into the heart and makes it beat faster.
PHOTO CREDIT: Cora Hamilton
Even if the early moments are a bit more downbeat and mournful; that soon changes to a more dynamic and spirited thing. Think About You is a feeling the spark is still there and everything is not lost. You can imagine the two of them going their own way and still holding on to the great times. I am not sure what caused them to end but it seems like everything is not lost. The hero is not yearning or begging for another chance: his mind is looking to rebuild and look at life in the future. Getting catchier and picking up rhythm; you are immersed in the song and captured by its hooks and flair. I wonder whether the song is taken from two sides of the conversation. It is obvious our hero is still fascinated by the heroine and does not want to completely lose sight of her. Those good times are in his mind and it is vital he keeps hold of them. You do not get the sense the songwriter is holding onto a raft and looking for salvation. He is determined to move through and find something positive on the other side. It is impossible to forget about the song and get it out of the head. You are stunned by the sunny notes and big chorus; the way the hero projects a positive outlook and is not letting things getting him down. In the midst of everything; I am thinking about the way he is holding onto the relationship and those memories. Maybe it is hard to completely forget and relinquish that grasp. You feel for him and wonder whether there is any chance of reconciliation. Rather than try and repair something that is struggling; I feel the hero is moving on and looking to find something on the other side.
Many songwriters want to move on after love ends and that can be a really hard thing. The hero has accepted the best times are done but there seem to be no regrets and blame. It is easy to bond with a song like Think About Me because it puts you in a better frame of mind and gets your body moving. I predict it will be a big hit for him and prove popular with T.V. producers and radio stations. Many people are reacting to it already and there is every evidence to suggest he will have a big smash on his hands. You do not get many songwriters who can create very different songs and keep their own identity solid and clear. D.A.N does not want to repeat himself and be seen as a formulaic artist. He is making big waves and pushing himself with every track. I am excited to see other material and get a sense of where he is now. It is hard to get a real sense of which songwriters are worth a shout and who can remain the course. Such is the mass of artists available online, it is hard working through them all and making predictions. I am sure D.A.N will last for many more years and continue to do great things. The Derry artist is on a hot streak right now and seems to have his sights firmly set. Make sure you hear Think About Me and get involved with a brilliant creative revelation. There are not many artists out there like D.A.N. He gets into every part of the body and mind and makes you think and feel more deeply. In an age where there is so much meagre and predictable music; it is nice finding artists who go much further and have much more substance.
I have investigated D.A.N before and am always blown away by his talent and instinct. He is an artist that seems to speak for everyone but does not have any likeminded peers. He can address love and its perils but add something hopeful and positive to the plate. I think he has a bright future and can go on to create a lot more great songs. I have been talking about icons and modern music vs. the past for a while – there is a point behind it. Whilst it is true it is near-impossible to see any of the new breed rise to iconic levels and stay in our hearts for decades; the climate has changed and things are very different. Competition is fierce and, rather than look for idols and icons; I feel applauding those who can survive and continue to find focus is much more helpful. D.A.N is a modern artist who can rank alongside the most promising of the mainstream. He is a multi-talented writer and musician and seems get stronger with everything he brings out. I am not sure when further material is out but you will have to keep an eye out for his social media channels. He will keep fans abreast and it will be excited where he heads next. There is nothing to suggest D.A.N cannot release a series of albums that will get into the critical mind and inspire new musicians. He stands aside from what is out there and wants to endure and remain. One gets something deep, engrossing and fascinating with Think About Me. The track, on paper, seems like an average and everyday workout regarding moving on from broken love and finding hope. When you hear the song come alive; there is so much working away that you are taken somewhere special. I have been a bit down regarding new artists and what they are about but there are some fantastic musicians who are showing great endeavour. D.A.N’s new music makes me think of Derry and Northern Ireland as a whole. It is a fabulous nation that is housing some remarkable new talent. Although the artist has located to London and is finding chances here; I hear his home running through the musical blood and it makes me want to investigate the music of Northern Ireland a lot more. If you have not discovered D.A.N and feel he is going to be your normal and predictable songwriter then give his sounds a spin and discover something wonderful. I shall end this here but I want people to investigate the rising star and find out why so many radio stations and media sources are promoting his music. Even if a bad relationship has influenced his latest track; it is the positives and possibilities that come from that fuelling his mind. The young artist is not getting down and letting things get on top of him. I am sure there are many more years (maybe decades) in the tank for D.A.N. He has that desire and heart that many songwriters do not possess. Follow the fantastic songwriter and see where he heads next. 2018 has been a great year for him but I feel next year will…
TAKE him to a new level.