Songwriter finally hitting the right notes in Beijing
David Daniel grew up listening to the greats of American glam rock like Kiss and Poison and dreamed of one day emulating his heroes.
Almost 30 years later, he may not be filling stadiums and topping the charts, but he is living a little bit of that dream in Beijing.
“When you want to achieve something, and you have the desire to achieve it, you will some day, no matter what or when it is,” said the 43-yearold, who released his third album, Wild Child: Bits & Pieces, online this month.
Like all DIY musicians, Daniel juggles writing and recording music with a day job, in his case teaching English at a private school in Beijing. He is also a music consultant for a bar in the city’s Chaoyang district.
The singer-songwriter, who moved to the Chinese capital in February after spending six years in Hong Kong and several other Chinese cities, released his first album, Way Too Long, in 2012. It marked the end of his long mission to finally have his music published.
“When somebody says you can’t do it, you will do it. When people deny you, it just makes you want to do it more,” he said.
Daniel bought his first guitar at 15, and started to write his own material at 25, which is when he also received his first rejection letter from a record company. It came from ABC Country Music, based in his native Sydney, in Australia.
“I felt like my whole life was over because that’s all I wanted to do,” he recalled. “It’s like they were telling me that my dream was never going to realized. … It makes you feel awful when people say your music is rubbish when you believe it’s great.”
He continued sending demos to record labels, but to no avail. “After years (of doing this), I realized it wasn’t going to work. I started to think I had wasted too much time and money already.”
So he stopped and put his music on the backburner — until in 2013 when he was encouraged to continue chasing his dream by a supervisor at an education company in Sydney who listened to his music.
“It meant a lot,” he said. “I needed the encouragement, and it has kept me going until now.”
Daniel released his albums for free on CD Baby, an online music store, and he said his tracks can also be downloaded via Amazon, iTunes and Xiami, the Chinese equivalent of Spotify.
Yan Dongjie contributed to this story.
Australian DIY musician David Daniel released his third album in China this month.