Daniel Michael Shares His Genre-Bending Journey to Redefine Rock Music

From performing alongside his Dad in his youth, to collaborating with Gucci Mane on his latest track, New York's Daniel Michael isn't afraid to take risks in the name of musical experimentation. A singer-songwriter and producer with an impressive range of influences, Daniel Michael has carved his niche in the ever-evolving world of rock music. His latest track, ‘Indigo’ is a testament to his genre-bending sound, blending elements of rock, pop, and hip-hop to create something fresh and unexpected.

In this exclusive interview, we dive deep into the inspirations behind his latest release, his creative process, and the importance of staying true to his unique sound. Daniel Michael also opens up about his experience working with Gucci Mane, the challenges he has faced as an independent artist, and his vision for the future of rock music.

So, Daniel, let's start at the beginning - when did you first start making music? Where did it all begin, and what inspired you?

I started singing since a very young age, I was a son to two musical parents, my mom (Galit Burg) (R.I.P) was in the Eurovision and also was a pop star in Israel, my dad (Igal Michael) is a professional guitar player and a very busy and wanted music producer.”

Can you tell us a bit about your new single and what it means to you?

When it comes to the melody, it's a melody that I had in my closet for quite some time, I usually get my melodies during my sleep. I used that melody for a completely different title and arranged a version in an older project, but nothing had come to fruition with it.”

“When time came this year, me and my Dad produced and arranged it the way I actually wanted it to sound like, and the way I think it's supposed to sound like. And in a way that I think could redefine what rock is supposed to sound like for a very long time. I was quite limited at the time and finally, now I have the tools and creative freedom I need to make the sound that I am looking for, so I am very happy for unleashing it with this project.”

“When it comes to the production, my Dad helped a lot, I realised sound-wise that it's a bit reminiscent of what MCR had in some of their tracks in the ‘Danger Days’ album, (which is one of my favs) but doing it my own way, and in a way that I think is more universally appealing. The instrumental for the C Part (the part where the rap is) was completely my Dad’s idea, and I am very happy and lucky that he came up with it. Lyrically: I went during a time of isolation and doubt, a time where I wasn't sure what was coming (what was the unknown), my Mum recently passed away at that time as well. My Mum would always call me an ‘indigo child’ basically a child who is ahead of his years in wisdom. ‘I am ready for the unknown, my heart is indigo’.”

How would you describe the sound on your latest release? Has there been a change or evolution in style since you first began?

When it comes to genre, I'd say it's hard to classify it, it's between pop rock and alt-pop, many people don't know where to playlist it because of that. There definitely has been a change in style for this song, however, I don't always go with the same sound, it depends on what the song desires, maybe there will be another song in the future that will use similar production ideas, I definitely want to do more things like that C Part, because I think it's very different and fun to listen to and it's also danceable despite being very aggressive.”

You spoke about those feelings of isolation and uncertainty when writing the lyrics, was that a feeling or message you were trying to convey?

This song is really about finding inner strength and being ready to take on whatever comes my way. When I say ‘Light the fire inside’, I'm talking about igniting that inner motivation and confidence. The line ‘I’ll be safe wherever I go’ reflects my belief in my own resilience and ability to handle any situation. Embracing the unknown is a big theme in this song. Lines like ‘I’m ready for the unknown’ and ‘Life’s an open road’ are all about being open to new experiences and not being afraid to step into uncharted territory. It's about leaving behind what's familiar and comfortable to discover something new and transformative.”

“I also wanted to capture the ups and downs of my emotional journey. When I sing ‘My energy is high and low, Back and forth’, it's about finding balance amidst the chaos and eventually finding my flow. And the phrase ‘My heart is indigo’ symbolises something deep and unique about me, maybe a sense of mystery or spirituality. There's Gucci's part of the song that talks about material success, with mentions of luxury cars, money, and diamonds. That part adds a layer of celebrating achievements and enjoying the fruits of hard work, but it's contrasted with the introspective and emotional parts of the song. Ultimately, the message is about self-assurance, embracing new challenges, and balancing material success with inner fulfilment.”

Are there any artists, moments, or experiences that influenced you when writing the project?

I think in general My Chemical Romance’s ‘Danger Days’ subconsciously inspired me sonically for this record, but I wasn't really actively thinking about it while doing it until I realised it a couple of days after release. Besides that, it's really an arrangement that me and my dad came up with on the fly.”

“Additionally, Gucci Mane came in and completed the song for me, there is a version where his part is just an instrumental, which I think is very good, but I felt something was missing, and Gucci had the perfect sound for this, he should definitely do more things with a rock-like instrumental like the one I crafted for his part, I don't think there's any other rapper in our current generation that can do it like he did.”

You spoke before about working on the song with your Dad - what was your songwriting process? How does it all come together?

“The melody is the most important part. Usually comes randomly, either in my sleep, in a dream, or just randomly thinking about it, if I actively have to write the melody it usually is a melody that I am not happy with, so I prefer the ones that come out of nowhere. This is the hardest part: when it comes to the arrangement and production, the song usually goes through three different iterations, where me and my Dad sit and decide what is the best arrangement, sound and production for this song, what parts should be played on each instrument, how they should sound, how long, etc. And I am very happy that both me and my dad are satisfied with this production and arrangement of the record.”

What advice would you give to bands and artists who are just starting out and trying to find their sound?

“Don't just play chords on the guitar, don't mindlessly strum chords, don't overcrowd the mix with your instrument. Try to write unique parts that give room for the production and vocals, play leads, pluck the chords, play different parts, don't just play root notes on the bass, write a unique bass line, don't overcomplicate the drum part, be in lock with the bass. If you're a band definitely sit together on the arrangement and production of the song, don't just play the song and call it a day, you're just killing the potential of your song.”

“For solo artists, spend a lot of time mastering your craft and experimenting with your sound, if you don't have close ones that can help you with your sound, you're gonna have to learn an instrument or two and figure it out on your own, it's not fair, and it's harder than being in a band, but at the same time the reward out-weights that because you can execute your vision. Also, don't do it for the money, because there isn't much money in music, sorry to tell you that. A single stream is worth $0.0025, if you're not doing this because you love it, you're just gonna get burnt out. So, make sure this is something you actually enjoy. Make music for your soul.”

What has been your best moment as a musician or band so far?

“My best moment as an artist was the positive feedback my recent two records have gotten, and the new fans that have found me through that. ‘I'll Keep The Love We Shared’ has been a massive success for me with 100,000 streams on Spotify, and ‘Indigo’ featuring Gucci Mane is surpassing that in barely a week since its release, I am really happy about the new recognition that my music is getting. My favourite part about being an artist is people listening to the music, I don't really care about the money, I am just happy people are listening to it.”

Is there anything you would like to say to our audience before you go?

“Never give up on your dreams.”

With his passion for storytelling, willingness to experiment, and an unwavering commitment to staying true to his roots, Daniel Michael is a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. As he continues to push boundaries and redefine the landscape of rock music, one thing is certain: we can expect great things from this rising star.

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