Northampton singer/songwriter Dan Knight can often be found busking in his local streets, but also makes regular gig and fesival appearances alongside many open mic rising star competitions. Dan will launch his new EP ‘Breakthrough’ on Friday, August 3rd at The Charles Bradlaugh in Northampton. We caught up with him to find out more about his influences and upcoming EP release.
I hope my songs can help others the way songs helped me when I was younger.
First up, tell us bit about yourself - what first got you into music?
I’m a singer/songwriter from a little town called Northampton. My earliest memories of loving music was listening to Queen, my favourite band of all time. Even from a very young age Freddie’s voice really spoke to me and I always felt I wanted to be a singer just like him.
As I was growing up I was quite shy so would only sing on my own and never infront of anyone, however, as I grew older I started to feel like I should be singing and wanted to build confidence so that’s when I bought my first guitar and started using it to accompany myself singing. I started out busking in the streets of Northampton which gave me so much confidence especially as the first tip I received was a woman who gave me a five pound note and told me I have a great voice.
I’ve now achieved so much including reaching the grand finals of many talent competitions, a top 50 single in the iTunes chart and now releasing my debut studio single and EP.
Were there any particular bands or artists you took inspiration from to form your musical and thematic style?
As mentioned previously, Queen were a big part of my life growing up and must have influenced me in some way.
Also, another band which got me through a lot of my late teenage years, was 30 seconds to Mars. On their album A Beautiful Lie, their music spoke to me on an emotional level and really helped me through some tough times.
I also think bands such as Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters and Stereophonics - all bands I loved the sound of - helped me shape my new sound.
How would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as anthemic, pop rock with very sing-along driven chorus, but I also like to have a connection to the music, too, and meaningful lyrics.
What drives you to write?
I honestly just love writing songs and finding meaning, and putting feelings into a song is a kind of release for me. I hope my songs can help others the way songs helped me when I was younger.
You can often be found busking in the Northamptonshire streets. Do you have any favourite spots (and why)?
Yes under the DNA statues that cross over outside Tesco - the acoustics are lovely, it’s busy and I love to make as many people smile as possible. Something about that spot just feels right to me.
Tell us about your EP Breakthrough. What are its themes?
The themes in the EP vary but I guess the main one is picking yourself up and trying again and finding a strength within that I think everyone possesses, but some people are yet to find. Also, one of the songs is very political-driven too, mainly written about the many wars and bombings countries keep committing and how I feel about them.
When did you write the songs on the EP?
Some of them are very old, but have been really written, and some of them not too long ago. I first wrote ‘Lay Down Your Arms’ 10 years ago, but it’s had a major overhaul until I felt it was right to make the cut.
Can you tell us a little more about each track?
‘Breakthrough’ is personally for me about truing so hard in the industry and not giving up however it has meant different things to different people which I like.
‘Winter Sun’ was a song I wrote for a homeless girl I met in Melton Keynes once whilst I was busking. She was crying and in a bad way living out of tent. I went over to speak to her and got her asked her why she was homeless. She told me she was 18 and her parents were abusive and addicted to alcohol and drugs she had been homeless since she was 15 and this particular day she was so hungry with no food and only a tent to sleep in.
I decided I would sing for her and busk to make her some money so she could get some food and hopefully shelter too. I made her £30 she was so grateful and want to get some food I told her I would help her again. However, every time I came back I never saw her, so instead I wrote a song about her hoping one day she will recognise me and the song and I can see how she is getting on.
‘First Dance’ is a song I wrote for a couple that I played for in Poland at their wedding. They liked it so much they wanted me to release it.
‘The Mirror’ is about the changes I made in myself and how I made myself become more confident to be where I am today. It’s like a pep talk I gave to myself each day and kept telling myself what I needed to do to gain the confidence and believe in myself to achieve my goals.
What are your hopes for the EP?
With my EP launch fast approaching and lots of tickets sold already I’m hoping I can make the EP get into the top 50 of the charts again and hope that is gets the attention that I feel it deserves. I also hope it helps people through troubled times like music did for me in the past.
When and where can we expect to see you live next?
I played at Silverstone at the Grand Prix on Sunday, my next gig is the EP launch at the Charles Bradlaugh in Northampton.
If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
That would have to be Jared Leto from 30 Seconds to Mars. His voice is insane and I also owe him so much for making the music that helped me throughout my life.
Finally, if you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?
Don’t listen to anyone and have self belief - I was told I couldn’t sing at a young age and stupidly believed them. If I could go back to that point, I would tell myself to belive and wouldn’t have started so late as a singer.
Listen to ‘Breakthrough’ on YouTube below. For news and tour dates go to the Dan Knight Facebook page.