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    Daniel Merriweather

    Become fan 7 Rate 9 Like & Share
    Genre:Pop, Alternative, Hip-Hop, Soul, R&B
    Rank:1427 history »
    4.9/5 from 9 users

    Most Popular Songs (more)

    1Not Giving Up lyrics
    2Cigarettes lyrics
    3I Think I'm In Love lyrics
    Impossible lyrics
    5For Your Money lyrics
    6Could You lyrics
    7She's Got Me lyrics
    Mark Ronson & The Business Intl feat. Daniel Merriweather
    Simple Man lyrics
    Diafrix feat. Daniel Merriweather
    Water and a Flame lyrics
    Daniel Merriweather feat. Adele
    10Giving Everything Away for Free lyrics

    Most Popular Albums (more)

    Love & War [2009]


    It has been three long years since 26 year old Daniel Merriweather swapped the streets of Melbourne and his native Australia for the cosmopolitan bustle of Manhattan, downtown NYC. The road to the release of his debut album 'Love & War' however, stretches back even further, across continents, decades, relationships, moods and struggles.

    A few of you may know Daniel as the emotive voice on his producer Mark Ronson's chart-busting cover of The Smiths 'Stop Me'. He is however, anything but a set of rent-a-pipes and 'Love & War' will rapidly tear up any pre-conceived ideas of what and who he is, as will five minutes in his company. He has wolverine like tenacity and possesses a sense of humour and self awareness, articulateness and worldliness that belies his tender years.

    In Love & War, Daniel has shaped a record informed by the juxtaposition of these two cultural metropolises which is both complicated and equally carefree without ever being schizophrenic. Here shiny pop production and the temptation to make a slick and smooth contemporary neo-soul record have been wavered in favour of space, stark emotional intimacy, sonic expansion and crackling introspection. The results are extraordinary; an anthemic psyched out acoustic folk record fuelled by the fires of Motown & Stax, with a heart the size of Alaska. It is every bit the classic debut one would have hoped & more, filled from start to finish with thrilling hit singles to boot, and is a long, long way from busking on a street corner in Melbourne, just to earn a buck.

    Born and bred in a blue-collar area in Melbourne's outer east, Daniel Paul Merriweather was one of three boys born to teacher parents. "I lived in a town at the end of a train line on the edge of a forest - childhood was about getting by. It was a humble sort of lifestyle. I spent quite a bit of time on my own as a kid, I used to travel long distances on my own and over think things." Indeed thinking and over thinking is a running theme in the youth & young manhood of Merriweather: "I imagined a lot as a kid, and I was really interested in philosophy.

    As a teen, Daniel was distracted a lot, and ended up getting himself into trouble. "I was fighting against something,", he explains... It was at this point he found himself in often tricky and sometimes violent situations. When he went to court charged with assault it looked like he might go the same way as some of his peer group – to jail. "I bought my Dad to court. It was only him, this mild mannered, humble, nice guy in an old Harry Highpants suit he'd had since the 70s that made the judge decide 'Things can go OK for this kid."

    Daniel may have avoided jail, but he did end up dropping out of high school. "There weren't a lot of options for me at that point" he says, "I'm not stupid so I could have made more options for myself I guess, but at the time it was hard because you have to make money and survive. I worked at KFC for a couple of months and it wasn't for me so in the end I thought I'll try this music lark," he laughs.

    Music thankfully had always been an intrinsic part of Daniel's life. "I started playing violin when I was four, the Suzuki violin; where basically you learn to play by ear without reading music. You begin with a ruler and a tissue box, you learn posture first and foot stance, and then step by step you learn more and more technique. By 13 I was playing Vivaldi concertos I'd learnt by ear even though I couldn't read music."

    "I've always sung, and in many ways my voice was always my first real instrument, from singing Elvis Presley songs in the shower, to falling in love with r&b and hip hop in the 90s. I was always into anything that meant something vocally or if someone made a good sound with their voice, whether it was D'angelo, Boyz II Men, Nas, Thom Yorke, Otis Redding, Jeff Buckley or whatever. To summon emotion it doesn't always have to be complicated. You can say more with just a few words. I've realised now you don't have to spend ages over explaining things, you end up chasing your own tail". A philosophy he has subsequently applied to his own work.

    Having quickly garnered industry attention in Australia, signing with indie-label Marlin, he begun work on tracks for his debut album that he would later shelve before release because the label just "wasn't ready and that's not how I wanted it to be." Courted by major labels there, few could see beyond the marketplace and how this voice could sit alongside the home-grown rock music that dominated the charts at the time. Thankfully nature intervened and his demos came to the attention of Mark Ronson who instantly fell in love with his voice. What followed was not only the birth of a unique working partnership but also a great friendship. After a couple painstaking years of commuting to and fro from Australia, Mark and partner Rich Kleiman's embryonic label Allido Records with its new found relationship with J Records was ready to begin work on bringing Daniel to the masses.

    But the road to 'Love & War' doesn't end there; 18 months of writing and recording, punctuated by months on the road touring with Ronson's Version Players band and one nasty incident with a polyp on his vocal chords and its subsequent recovery period later leads you to the record that you are hearing now. "I just felt something had changed. I went back into the studio after I'd recovered. You think I'd be more cautious with it but it actually freed me up. You could die tomorrow and so I might as well go and sing the f*** out of these songs. Singing is an emotional thing; you're giving a lot – a month or two off and getting back into the studio felt really good."

    ""Every song started with me sitting down with a guitar but they all ended up somewhere totally different. That is why working with Mark was a real blessing, he works alot with the Dap Kings. I brought them a whole bunch of songs that they wouldn't naturally play on and their amazing musicianship really helped these songs evolve. I wanted to let go of genres and make an album of just songs being played by good people. I wanted it to be a natural one, to innocently maybe naively find its own place...These days there is too much thinking and not enough singing songs, what ever happened to singing songs?

    'Getting Out' is about thinking you mean the world to someone but realising actually you don't, they were sick of you without you ever knowing it and is a classic universally applicable break-up anthem in every-sense. 'Cigarettes' is about the idea of "f***ing up" all the time, "In relationships or whatever. Regret & denial are hard emotions to think about. I quit cigarettes but I would come home at night and my jacket smelt of smoke, it's so easy to pass a buck, to blame the guy with cigarettes in the bar next you, and not yourself for being there in the first place." 'Chainsaw' is about a dysfunctional relationship that is more destructive than good, but can also be applied to mankind's gravitation to the bottle. "Alcohol is the great equaliser; it can be a beautiful thing, the great comforter. Laughter too, it's so underrated, just laughing at stupid s*** all the time. At the end of the day nothings ever going to be perfect, you just have to laugh at s***...I laugh at myself a lot."

    'Impossible' is a key moment on 'Love & War', recorded during the albums latter stages, it is simply about putting everything down, and whilst its subject matter is sad, its shuffle is infectious.

    And what of War? "I'm only 26. no, I'm not world weary quite yet, I'm just trying to make sense of everything. When I was a kid there was something romantic about the bright lights of a city, I thought I would know all the answers, but we're all just as confused as each other trying to make of it for ourselves what we can. 'For Your Money' documents his relationship with his adopted home. Like James Brown's 'Down And Out In New York City', it's bombast is more uplifting than depressing, with Sean Lennon channelling his father's spirit on a rousing guitar solo and a reprise that screams of hope and not despair.

    "When I listen to the album, if there is a thread running through it's probably my own coming of age. There are definitely some crying into my beer songs, the old Beer & tears routine. I always wanted to make a classic sounding album. One I could put on in 20 years and still enjoy listening to, i like things that over time will get a scar and nicks in it but it's still a table, with legs and you can still put a drink on it. Right now I feel that I'd be proud of my kids when i have some, listening to it and I'm really proud of the songs that I wrote, the whole thing is at a really good point ."

    So where does Daniel Merriweather sit in 2009? "I don't really think about people's perception of me. I've always been writing songs and singing them. I've always wanted to do something that means something. At the end of the day I didn't play the violin from the age of 4 to please the bloggers. Pointless pop culture annoys me, where a record becomes talking fodder or cool for 6 months, then that's where I choose to bow out! I also think it is impossible to be the perfect artist who says everything their generation feels and sums it all up and articulates it into one sentence, that's when life imitates art and you have to be a junkie or bad mouth someone to fit your image in people's heads."

    Love & War speaks for itself and for now at least, Daniel Merriweather remains a lover and a fighter.

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