Interview with Singer-Songwriter Dano
Dano is a Singer-Songwriter and DIY producer out of Asbury Park, NJ, United States. Read the interview to find out more! Read the interview to find out more!
HELLO DANO! CAN YOU PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?
I am the host of “Rule Your Sound,” a new YouTube channel aimed at helping songwriters and producers build a library of ideas by studying top artists and learning the techniques they are using to make their songs so good or catchy. I’m a pop vocalist and songwriter and have found that studying and learning from artists who inspire me has really helped me in my personal growth and development as both a writer and producer.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSICAL STYLE? HAS YOUR STYLE CHANGED MUCH OVER THE YEARS?
My musical style is pop, but I have taken quite the musical journey to get here! I started out as a Broadway style singer as a child and have performed in over 25 musical theatre productions. I then moved into choral music, singing with over 10 choirs and touring in Canada and performing at venues such as Carnegie and Avery Fisher Hall, and began taking classical voice lessons in 2002 studying at Westminster Conservatory. Eventually, I realized that classical music wasn’t for me, and made the switch to rock where I sang and played keys in a nationally touring hard rock/metal band for 3 years. As I moved on from a group setting to be a solo artist, it took me a while to figure out what style/genre I wanted to do. I spent a lot of time just enjoying music and testing new things, until I landed on pop which has been a real passion for me. I truly enjoy it!
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR ARTISTIC INSPIRATION?
From all the amazingly talented artists out there! Independent artists that frequent my hometown like The Extensions and Fake Pockets have been a big inspiration for me. Seeing them do what they love and create such amazing music is what pushed me over the edge to get back into music after a big hiatus between the time my band broke up in 2009 to writing original music beginning around 2019.
WHAT PEOPLE HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR CAREER?
There are just too many to name them all, but I find a lot of inspiration from K. Flay, Janelle Monae, Melanie Martinez, Halsey, and Billie Eilish. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my biggest influences are all female! Seeing these talented women have success in their careers while making music that speaks to me on a deeper level is so incredibly inspiring. I owe them all so much for what they taught me.
WHAT’S YOUR PROCESS LIKE FOR MAKING MUSIC?
Write shitty music. Write shitty lyrics. And then fix it. I have spent countless hours staring at a blank page because I can’t find the perfect words or the perfect melody to match what’s in my head. It’s all wasted time. I found much more success in writing out whatever is on my mind, no matter how bad it is, and then continually massaging it until it’s something that I’m happy and proud of. Sometimes, my original drafts change so much that it is hardly distinguishable from the final draft.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO GROW YOUR PERSONAL BRAND?
Be myself. This has actually been very tough for me, but I believe it is the single most important part of creating and building your brand, aka, an image of how the rest of the world sees you. The world should see you as you see you, and as someone who struggled with self love in the past, this has been a challenge for me that created a really meaningful growth opportunity. I hope the world sees me as kind and supportive, and I try to embody those values in everything I post, comment, and say online and to other artists.
WHAT IS THAT ONE THING THAT YOU ALWAYS KEEP IN YOUR MIND WHILE PREPARING YOUR CONTENT FOR SOCIAL MEDIA?
Authenticity. I really try to choose content that reflects my personality, so that someone who takes a look at my page can get a quick idea of who I am. Although my posts tend to be more professional, I try in my stories to be as real as possible. Honest about my struggles. Honest about my goals. Honest about what makes me nervous. I also make an effort to support as many other artists as I can. We all need to lean on each other to continue to grow so I certainly try to do my part!
WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO A BUDDING ARTIST?
Be yourself. Bravely. When we’re creating music, sometimes we get caught up in thinking, “will other people like this?” and either throw it away or make modifications that make it sound like everything else. Artists need to remember that the world is big! If you can create a song that speaks to you, I guarantee it will speak with someone else too. This is scary, I know. But the world will be better off with your creativity in it I promise.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?
Never stop learning! As someone who has been immersed in music my whole life, I realize that there is still so much more to know that I couldn’t learn it all in a lifetime no matter how hard I tried. This means that music will always be a discovery and there are endless opportunities to expand your horizon. A humbleness and thirst for curiosity will keep music as exciting as the day you picked up a guitar or sang for the first time. Hang on to that feeling! It is the best fuel for inspiration.