Our Interview with Daniel J Dunn. – Embark on a captivating journey through the soulful sounds and transformative lyrics of the 17-year-old virtuoso, Daniel J Dunn.
In this exclusive interview with SA Music & Entertainment Magazine, Daniel unveils the intricate layers of his musical odyssey – from the familial roots that shaped his unique blend of Pop, R&B, and Trap, to the profound collaboration with South African icon Rock singer-songwriter and performer Mark Haze on his debut single, ‘I Don’t Need U.’
Join us as we delve into the heart of Daniel’s artistry, exploring the emotions, influences, and triumphs that define his rising star status in the music industry.
Q: Daniel, your music is described as a captivating blend of Pop, R&B, and Trap. How do you navigate weaving these diverse genres together, and how have iconic artists like Ariana Grande, Tori Kelly, and Melanie Martinez influenced the tapestry of sounds and emotions in your music?
Daniel J Dunn Answer: I weave various artists’ styles into my music. Ariana’s pop and trap influence sparked my interest, especially her catchy pop songs with upbeat trap beats. Learning from Tori Kelly, Ariana, and others helped me develop my skills in vocal runs and riffs, an ongoing process. Melanie has her own unique style – the way she sings, dresses, and the distinct music she creates. Perhaps in the future, I’ll draw more inspiration from her for my music.
Q: Your musical journey has deep roots in your family, particularly with your father being a talented musician. How has this familial influence shaped not only your love for music but also the very essence of your artistic expression and style?
Daniel J Dunn Answer: I don’t think it’s anything deep, but I just know that I get the musical side of things from him. My dad and I have always come together to jam in our living room, where I’ll be singing, and he is playing the guitar to all our favourite songs. I’m grateful to have a dad with whom I can share my passion for music.
Q: Platforms like YouTube and TikTok played a role in honing your craft, capturing the attention of artists like Sabrina Carpenter. Can you share more about the impact these platforms had on your musical journey and how they contributed to your growth as an artist?
Daniel J Dunn Answer: I started creating YouTube covers in 2020, and as TikTok gained popularity during COVID, I hopped on the trend, sharing my first video in 2022. It featured a cover of Sabrina Carpenter’s ‘Decode’ from her fifth studio album, ‘Emails I Can’t Send.’
The night I posted it, Sabrina Carpenter liked and commented on my video. It felt amazing, especially since it was my first TikTok. Recently, I shared a cover of Ariana’s latest track, ‘Yes, and?’ on Instagram, which garnered 14k views. Over the years, making covers has showcased the growth in my voice and in me. Although I haven’t gone viral, it’s definitely a goal to continue growing my social media.
Q: ‘I Don’t Need U’ carries a powerful message about emerging from toxic relationships and self-discovery. Could you elaborate on the specific moment or experience that inspired the song, and how did you approach translating those emotions into your inaugural venture into songwriting?
Daniel J Dunn Answer: The night I penned ‘I Don’t Need U’ in 2022, I sat in my bed attempting to start something, unsure of how or where to begin. I reached out to my close friend, GIOSUÈ, a fellow singer/songwriter, for guidance. Within 15 minutes, I had crafted a verse and chorus, and the creativity flowed from there. A huge shoutout to my friend; I’m truly grateful for his help. But I won’t delve too deep into what inspired the track – let’s say the song means what it means.
Q: Your recording experience for ‘I Don’t Need U’ marked a significant milestone, especially working with veteran musician Mark Haze. Can you take us behind the scenes of that recording day? How did the collaboration unfold, and what aspects of Mark’s expertise contributed to the richness of the final product?
*Daniel J Dunn Answer: This was my first time recording in a studio, and working with Mark was a blast. He really understood what I was going for, and I appreciated his advice. I played him the demo for ‘I Don’t Need U,’ and we just went with it. Creating the song was a series of great moments, and Mark, being an awesome producer, musician, and friend, made it all the better. I’m just really grateful I got to work with him.
Q: The song delves into themes of self-love and independence. Can you share more about the transformative journey portrayed in ‘I Don’t Need U’ and the specific messages you hope resonate with your audience, especially in the context of post-relationship self-discovery?
Daniel J Dunn Answer: I aim for my music to convey my intended meaning and also to capture what it means to listeners and how they interpret it. I want my audience to connect with my music on a deeper level, going beyond the surface-level meaning if they can discover it. Recognizing the moment when you realize a situation is toxic and understanding the importance of taking better care of yourself is crucial. We should prioritize ourselves and avoid becoming vulnerable to people who bring us down.
Q: Beyond the artistic expression, how has your journey in music contributed to your personal growth and understanding of self? Are there aspects of your identity that you’ve discovered or embraced through the process of creating and performing music?
Daniel J Dunn Answer: Putting your feelings on paper is a beautiful way of getting something off your chest. Expressing emotions in an artistic way truly brings out a beautiful resonance with how you feel. Identity is something that grows as you get older, and I’ve found a part of it in making music.
Q: Looking ahead, are there specific themes or genres you’re eager to explore in your future collaborations or solo projects? How do you envision your sound evolving as you continue your musical journey?
Daniel J Dunn Answer: I’m looking forward to exploring various music genres. I appreciate all kinds of music – if it’s beautiful, it’s music to me. There are some great artists I’d love to collaborate with, such as South African talents like Will Linley, who’s doing really well, and Tyla, a global superstar. At 17, I have plenty of room to explore different things and grow as an artist.
Q: Mark Haze is renowned for his dynamic live performances. As someone who has collaborated with him, how do you think these live experiences influence the reception and impact of your music? Is there a particular element from Mark’s live performances that you find inspiring?
Daniel J Dunn Answer: Mark is a brilliant musician, and the song I’m releasing beautifully combines Mark’s and my styles. You’ll definitely pick up on some elements of his, but I won’t say too much. Mark is so inspiring to me; he knows a lot and has taught me much about the music industry, guiding me on how to navigate my way through it. His expertise has had an impact on my music and how I view it. His live performances and music are passionate and authentic, which is what I aim to bring to the table in my career.
Q: In conclusion, Daniel, what final message do you have for your growing fan base and those discovering your music for the first time? Why should they tune into ‘I Don’t Need U,’ and what can they expect from your future musical endeavours?
Daniel J Dunn Answer: Hey everyone! To my growing fan base and those just discovering my music, I want to express my gratitude for your support that’s to come. ‘I Don’t Need U’ is a taste into my music and my journey, and I hope it resonates with you.
Tune in for a unique blend of genres and heartfelt lyrics that aim to connect with your experiences. As for future musical endeavours, expect a diverse range of sounds and stories. I’m committed to creating music that speaks to different aspects of life, and I can’t wait to share more with you. Join me on this musical adventure.
As we wrap up our conversation, thank you for sharing your musical journey, Daniel. Join us in celebrating the rise of a virtuoso – stream ‘I Don’t Need U’ from Friday 9 February on all platforms https://linktr.ee/danieljDunn
About Daniel J Dunn
Daniel J Dunn is a budding artist hailing from the vibrant city of Cape Town, South Africa. At the young age of 17, music has been the very essence of his existence. With a unique blend of pop, R&B, and trap, Daniel’s music is a mesmerising fusion of soulful melodies and captivating beats. His musical journey traces back to his childhood, where his love for music found its roots in his family. Inspired by his father, a talented musician, Daniel was exposed to the magic of music from an early age.
His voice found its wings in choirs, shaping the rich, airy vocals that define his style today. Influenced by iconic artists like Ariana Grande, Tori Kelly, and Melanie Martinez, his music is a tapestry of diverse sounds and emotions. His passion led him to platforms like YouTube and TikTok, where he honed his craft, catching the attention of Sabrina Carpenter herself.
Daniel’s debut single ‘I Don’t Need U’ is a testament to his artistry. It echoes the journey of breaking free from toxic relationships, discovering self-love, and finding joy within. Collaborating with renowned South African rock artist Mark Haze, Daniel has ventured into the music scene with a powerful message and soul-stirring melodies.
As Daniel embarks on this exhilarating musical odyssey, he invites you to join him. With a growing fan base comprising friends and family, Daniels’s heartfelt music is bound to resonate with a wider audience. Brace yourselves, for this is just the beginning.
The promise of a transformative musical experience awaits, and Daniel guarantees that his music will make a difference. Stay tuned, for in Daniels’s harmonies, you’ll find solace, strength, and a melody that speaks to your soul. Witness the rise of a promising artist, and let the music carry you on this remarkable journey.
Daniel shares that “The song revolves around the theme of emerging from a toxic relationship, realising one’s self-worth, cultivating newfound independence, and embracing a transformed identity post-relationship. It emphasises the recognition that romantic partners are not essential for feeling loved or experiencing enjoyment; one can find fulfilment within oneself and must prioritise self-care.
In essence, the song embodies the concepts of self-love and self-worth. I wrote this song on October 25th, 2022. Moments before, I had sought advice from a friend on how to write a song. Following their guidance, I selected a random beat from YouTube, hit record, and experimented with melodies until I discovered the right one. Words naturally flowed, and a clear vision emerged.
This song marks my inaugural venture into songwriting. The recording experience was incredibly enriching, considering it was my first time using professional equipment. Working with Mark was a delight. His expertise and ease made the process comfortable for me. We dedicated a few hours to recording, and remarkably, we completed all the recording in a single day.”