Dancing the tears away

Cabinteely’s Daniel Blume tells David Hennessy about how he wants to inject some emotion into dance music, what it is like to have a US Billboard number one before his 21st birthday and why he wants Rihanna to lend her voice to one of his tracks.

Having just released his latest track Catch Feelings, the lockdown hasn’t stopped Daniel Blume producing music but then again, it might be business as usual as the 21-year-old produces his tracks in his bedroom.

These are exciting times for Daniel as the multi-instrumentalist dance producer, writer and singer has a US billboard number one to his name and started the year being earmarked by both RTE and MTV as ‘one to watch’.

Daniel told The Irish World: “It’s all a whirlwind at the moment. Everything’s kind of happening. 2019 was just insane, it exceeded any expectation I could ever have had. It’s utterly surreal, every day I have to pinch myself and be like, ‘Oh, this is actually real’.

 

“It’s been a lot of time making songs and building up a catalogue and then suddenly I had all of these songs. Then within the space of the last six months I found new management, signed a record deal, about to sign a publishing deal. Now I’m about to start this whole new era and journey in my career. It’s just mental seeing everything come together.”

Daniel says an album is coming in due course: “I signed to Virgin EMI and Positiva Records and together we’re getting ready to release a single every seven to eight weeks over the course of this year. Hopefully touch wood that will lead to an album. There’s an album’s worth of music ready to go but we’re just going to release it song by song to start with.”

A recent song of Daniel’s was called Nights like These which comes from a personal place: “It’s a song close to my heart. It’s kind of about those nights where you’re doing great, you feel like you’re over that person. They’re no longer in your head and then suddenly you’ll see a post on instagram or a story or you’ll have just a couple of drinks too many and all of those emotions and feelings about that person just come running back and hit you harder than ever before. I’m sure loads of people can relate to that.

 

“Hopefully it makes you want to go out and party rather than stay at home and cry.

“What I’m really trying to do is bring emotional lyrics to dance floor records. I think some of the best dance records ever are the ones that have gone there but have really wanted to go there. I remember seeing a quote from David Guetta, ‘I’m looking for songs that make you want to cry on the dance floor’. And that really stuck with me.”

A prodigy of classical music from a very early age, Daniel came to London to study music at just nine years old.

Although still in London, he turned his back on classical music in favour of a more electronic genre and it is proving to be a wise choice.

“I was nine years old and I was studying classical guitar and piano.

“I started composing music and I realised very quickly that what I loved the most was performing my own music as opposed to other people’s songs.

“Then when I was 15 my room mate at the time introduced me to Martin Garrix and he was like, ‘Man, this guy, whose like three years older than us, has a UK number one and he made it in his own bedroom at his parents’ place just on a laptop’.

“That changed my whole perspective. Until that point I had always thought that pop music or the songs you hear on the radio could only be done by ‘adults’. It never seemed like that could ever be an option for me so that really changed my whole outlook.

“My parents bought me a laptop for Christmas and I just started to teach myself from YouTube videos how to make music and it’s all been a crazy time since then.”

Daniel was still building his following when last year he teamed up with US hitmakers Cheat Codes for Who’s Got Your Love which went onto become a US Billboard Dance #1 smash with over 40 million global streams: “It was so crazy. I have known the guys for about four years now. We were meant to have a song together four years ago. They had just released their song Sex which went on to be a worldwide smash. I threw them a DM on Twitter. I was like, ‘Sure look, what’s the worst that could happen? Maybe they’ll see it, maybe they won’t’.

“They saw it and were like, ‘Send me all your music and they loved the music and picked one song’. Within twelve hours of me sending over music, they sent the vocal back. Unfortunately that song fell through and nothing ever happened but we kept up the relationship and I was always sending them stuff.

“I had this song demo and I said, ‘I’ll just send it to the guys and see what they think’. And then they were like, ‘Wow, we love this’. Then I didn’t hear anything more.

“Two days later they were like, ‘How would you like to release it together and go on tour with us and premiere the song all over the UK?’ It was just the most mind-blowing creative experience ever. It was insane. 40 million streams on spotify has just blown my mind.”

Who would Daniel like to collaborate with now? Who would be his dream guest vocalist? “I would say it would have to be Rihanna. Her voice would really suit the music I make, I think. Her voice fits perfectly on a dance record. To be able to do something with her would just be insane.

Rosalia.

“But I’m also loving Rosalia at the moment. She is unbelievable. One thing I really love about her is, coming from a traditional art form like classical music, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate that into my songs and make it current. She comes from the flamenco background and she’s blended it with hip-hop. I think that’s such a cool thing.”

Daniel likes to showcase his skills on social media, asking his followers to give him a title for a song that he will then create: “It’s a great way to engage the fans and make them feel involved in the songwriting process.

“You have got to try and stand out. It’s also a cool way to show that it is me writing all my songs. I’m not taking songs that other people have written, they’re all coming from me: My brain, my heart. I thought it was a cool way and fun way to demonstrate that and the process.”

And producing music in his bedroom means Daniel can work whenever inspiration strikes: “Middle of the night, crack of dawn: It happens. I’ll be in bed asleep and my mind will start racing and then I’ll jump out of bed, turn the lights on and go straight to the piano. You never know when inspiration can come to you: On the run, in the shower, when you go to sleep. You gotta just take it when it’s there because you don’t know how much longer it will be there for.

“Music is everything. It’s the same as breathing for me. I can’t remember a time when music wasn’t everything in my life.

“I did Irish dancing as a kid, I loved sports. Gradually music became more of a passion than a hobby so I put all those other things on the back burner.

“It’s not work for me but to be here (London) and work every day doing what I love, I’m so blessed and honoured.”

Catch Feelings by Daniel Blume is out now.

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