We caught up with musician Michelle Daly following the release of her superb single ‘In My Dreams’. read the full interview now!
What is your earliest music memory?
Listening to my mum practice her opera arias and watching Judy Garland sing ‘Over the Rainbow’ in the Wizard of OZ.
Who influenced your latest release ‘In My Dreams’?
I was inspired by old-style American songbook jazz standards and their storytelling style. I also imagined the finished track having an edge like the vocal-led trip-hop tracks of the 90s. Portishead’s work has definitely been an influence.
You co-wrote ‘In My Dreams’ with Michael Parle, what was that process like?
I wrote this song nearly eight years ago when I was London-based and writing and gigging with Michael. I composed the main melody, lyrics and basic chords, and Michael helped me build on it and create more of a structure.
The arrangement has evolved since and my producer Charis Karantzas helped me to realise the sound I had always wanted for it. I imagined a horn playing the chorus motif in the intro, so I got my bassist Paul Santner (who also plays flugelhorn) to do it. My producer then added the Tarantino style guitar and the extra touches.
‘In My Dreams’ is the second release from your debut album, can you tell us any more about the full album release?
The majority of the album apart from ‘In My Dreams’ and a couple of other tracks, was co-written with Michael Edwards (Morcheeba, Game of Thrones Soundtrack). It was recorded live at Jazzanova Recording Studio, Berlin and was successfully crowdfunded by a grassroots campaign in 2019.
The album draws on themes other than love and relationships, such as fate, destiny, rites of passage, disillusionment. Heartbreak comes in many forms, not just from romantic love.
My style is retro-soul, rhythm and blues-inspired and I am a big admirer of the classic songwriting styles of the 60s and 70s.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Carole King, Portishead, Michael Kiwanuka
Other than music, what are you passionate about?
Teaching. I am also a vocal coach, and I am very passionate about encouraging people to find their true singing voice and use it in a healthy way. I teach people of all ages and abilities. I have had so many students who were told as a child that they couldn’t sing and were asked to mime in their school choir. Everyone has the right to use their voice and express themselves through it. I believe music is for everyone regardless of a so-called innate talent.
What changes would you like to see in the music business?
Fairer payment from streaming platforms. More support for small venues and indie artists. Stop the dumbing down of music. I think we should have more faith in the public and not patronise them with repetitive autotuned monotony. Ban talent shows that promote the ‘overnight success story’ fallacy. I realise that most of these are probably pipe dreams!
How do you feel about how the internet plays a role in the music business today?
It can be an extremely useful tool as an indie musician in terms of self-releasing your own music. However, reaching more people, it is getting more and more difficult now as we are at the mercy of algorithms. Social media becomes an echo chamber unless you can afford promotion. People also expect music to be free as it’s so easy to access, and as a result, it is really devalued. It’s a double-edged sword as an indie artist.
What is your favourite song to play live?
‘January Skies’ as I have an amazing string section and love the atmosphere it creates with the build-up to the chorus.
Have you started working on your next release?
During the lockdown, I learned how to do some home recording and recorded a remote cover of Massive Attack’s classic ‘Unfinished Sympathy’. The vocals were actually recorded in my childhood bedroom and wardrobe. I had to improvise! I plan to record more covers of some of my favourite tracks. I will also be releasing more singles from the upcoming album so stay tuned.
FV Music Blog December 2020
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