Wednesday, April 27, 2016

This week's Interview with Pop/Soul Artist Dan McLean Jr

Dan McLean Jr has one of the most powerful yet nuanced voices you will ever hear.  The Toronto-based singer singer/songwriter exudes an emotional intensity which is directly fed by his love for Soul music, and both his new recordings and Dan’s live shows are engaging.
Dan has re-united with old friends & musical partners Dave Dunlop (producer, co-writer) and Executive Producer Greg Wells (Adele, Mayer Hawthorne, Twenty One Pilots, Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, Rufus Wainwright, Theophilus London, Mika, Timbaland, OneRepublic, Deftones, Pink, Kid Cudi, Burt Bacharach, kd Lang, Sir George Martin, and the Count Basie Orchestra).

Dan’s original songs paint love on a mature canvas, portraying the breakup of years-long relationships, profound betrayal and existential epiphany, along with celebrations of the kind of new-found love that makes a man feel like a teenager again.

So let's get to it,

What’s the name of your band (solo project/act/etc)? 
Everything with the band or solo is as “Dan McLean Jr”, and the shows I’m doing with just me and my three backup singers are as “Dan McLean Jr & Some Honey”.

Who are the members and what  are their roles in the band?
I’m the lead singer, lyricist and co-composer, and I play guitar in the live shows.  Dave Dunlop is my producer, co-composer and guitarist.  The band is session players that Dave has assembled: Randy Cooke on drums, Don Breithaupt on keys, Steve Skingley on bass, and Katalin Kiss does backing vocals along with Dave & me.  Lester McLean plays sax and sings backups on some songs.

My Executive Producer is Greg Wells, who’s worked with Adele, Mayer Hawthorne, Twenty One Pilots, Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, Rufus Wainwright, Theophilus London, Mika, Timbaland, OneRepublic, Deftones, Pink, Kid Cudi, Burt Bacharach, kd Lang, Sir George Martin, and the Count Basie Orchestra.  I’m so glad to have Greg on-board.

Where are you from?
We all know each other from Toronto, but come from other cities, and most of us now are in/near Toronto or in LA.

In what year did the band form?
This project started with Dave & me writing together in 2012.  When I decided to start writing for this, I knew Dave was the perfect writing partner for me, because we wrote together in the ‘90s.  He’s brilliant.

Are you touring?
Right now, I’m rehearsing “Dan McLean Jr & Some Honey” for a show I’ll be filming in Guelph Ontario on May 28.  This will give me great promotional material so that I can start hustling more opening slots for larger artists, and score some gigs in smaller markets outside Toronto.  It can be really hard to reach more & more people that have never heard you.  Staring local and finding innovative ways to wander away from home is a great way to do that.  Most artists either stay local, or hope for a huge, international “break”.  My plan is to work hard at creating the opportunities I need.

What genre is your music?
Some call it Pop-Soul or Adult Contemporary, but I think it might be good for potential listeners to know that fans & reviewers mention similarities to Daryl Hall & John Oates, Steely Dan, Todd Rundgren and Chicago, all of whom have inspired my sophisticated style of catchy pop-Soul.

Why did you pick that particular style?
I like music that is emotionally vulnerable and is musically catchy, and the songs Dave & I are writing also lets me address things like love & morality on a very mature level.  Any style of music allows for that, but I think the key for the artist is to find the style that lets them communicate most fluently & naturally.  For me, that’s some combination of Soul, pop & rock.  Ha!  I always feel compelled to use a capital “S” in “Soul”!

Have you released any albums or singles? 
Fri Apr 22 is the release of “Let’s Stop Hurting Each Other”, which is the second single & video from my still-being-recorded album.
Apple Music

The first single from Feb, was “I’ve Seen Love”.
I’ve Seen Love” Single is available on over 30 download & streaming services.
Apple Music

Tell me your biggest influences and which artists have inspired you to preform.
I had stopped performing for 15 years, and started again about 10 years ago, after seeing two shows pretty close together.  There was a Hall & Oates un-plugged TV shoot in Toronto, and Monte Montgomery in Austin, Texas.

What places will you be playing in in the near future? 
As I said earlier, I plan to be hustling opportunities to open for touring artists in & around Toronto.  Within a one-hour drive of Toronto, there are about 9 million people.  There are so many great concert halls and concert clubs, and I know that “Dan McLean Jr & Some Honey” will be a great fit.  One acoustic guitar and four voices.

Which band is the best that you've seen live? 
That’s pretty diverse, of me.  The shows I mentioned before, Hall & Oates and Monte Montgomery, somehow changed my life.  I saw Fishbone with Primus opening, and it’s probably the most exciting live show I’ve every seen.  I always say the best live performances I’ve ever seen have all been by Tower Of Power out of Oakland.  Hands down, ToP is the best.

What has been your most promising gig so far?
I think it was the first show I did with just my backup singers and me, in the summer of ‘15.  I did it to sort of test the waters, and the audience response was overwhelming.

How do you typically get psyched up for a gig? 
That’s usually last-minute for me.  Very last-minute.  When I go out on stage, I look at the audience, I make eye contact with people, and we smile at each other.  I just feel so welcome, and I hope they do, too.

Do you record in a studio? 
I record everything except the drums at Dave’s studio, which is called Room 9.  The drums are recorded at Emerald City Studios in LA.  My executive Producer Greg is in LA, too.

What would be your dream performance/venue?
The venue’s not that important to me.  I want to play my music for an audience that will enjoy it.  Wherever that is, I’m happy.

Do you have any webpages?

How would you describe your sound in one sentence?
Intensely emotional, mature & sophisticated pop-Soul.

What advice would you give less experienced bands, that you wish someone had given you?
Don’t wait for opportunities to appear.  Work hard to create the opportunities you want.

Hey great music and we thank you for taking the time to do our interview. Don't forget to follow and like Dan McLean Jr on Twitter and Facebook!

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