D’Angelo and Eric Roberson’s recent sold out shows in London, is a clear indication that soul music still lives in the UK. This brings us to Daley, a soul singer/songwriter from Manchester now residing in London. Gorillaz fans will know him by the song ‘Doncamatic,’ but more recently by a track he did featuring Marsha Ambrosius ‘Alone together.’ With his mixtape ‘Those who wait,’ and a recent tour with Emeli Sande up his sleeve, we chat to Daley about his upcoming album, what soul music is like in the UK and how his alternative look doesn’t match his music, but he claims its “better that way.” Margaret Tra writes.
D'Angelo and Eric Roberson recently toured London proving soul still lives abroad, what's it like being a soul artist in the UK? Do you receive a good response?
Yes definitely. I mean I haven't exactly paid my dues like the two artists you just mentioned yet, but so far so good for me. The overwhelming response from people is that they really feel what I'm doing and love the sound, and that's great. I try to keep the music I do sounding 'of its time' and not retro, but always with soul at the core of each song. Soul for me is just the honesty, emotion and relate-ability delivered through the song.
You toured with the Gorillaz, and performed the track 'Doncamatic' what was that like? And on the night there was also De La Soul and Mos Def, what was it like seeing them?
I wasn't actually there for the New York show that Mos Def did, so I didn't get to see that, but I was on the rest of the tour - De La Soul are complete legends, and you can see why when they get on stage. They brought a great energy with them. I got to know everyone quite well on tour, there was De La, Little Dragon, Bobby Womack, Booty Brown from the Pharcyde, Kano, Bashy, Roses Gabor, Neneh Cherry… such an eclectic mix of artists.
You left Manchester and moved to London to pursue your career as an artist, what was going through your head at the time? Did you ever reach breaking point?
I'd thought about moving to London a few times, but always ended up deciding it wasn't for me. But it just got to a point where I was so into the music I was making and had so much passion for it, and I felt the city I was in wasn't allowing me enough opportunity to do anything with it. It was literally just a decision I made one day, after a bit of drama with some people I was working with in Manchester, I woke up and just knew I had to expand my horizons. In my first year or so of living in London I felt like I had a couple of breaking points yeah, times when I was really feeling the stress or getting writers block. It felt like the end of the world at the time, but looking back they were actually just hurdles I had to jump, the things that I feel like I overcame and make this moment now so much more valuable.
Your mixtape 'Those who wait' features Marsha Ambrosius, and a cover of Maxwell's 'Pretty Wings,' this to us is truly soulful music, tell us about the mixtape.
Well I'm glad to hear that! The mixtape has been so much fun from start to finish. I experienced so much writing the songs, both personally and professionally, worked with some amazingly talented people including Marsha of course. Putting it all together and giving it out for free just felt right. I wanted to show people who I am as an artist, because previously all that was available online was the song I did with Gorillaz, and live videos on Youtube. I didn't even want people to have the excuse of having no money, I just wanted people to hear me. And I picked songs for the mixtape that I thought show a range of sides to my song writing, soul, pop, vocals, acoustics, and big drums to relaxing vibes.
You've almost completed your album, when can we expect to see it? Can you give us any hints?
This year for sure, later on in the year. It's my first album and it's been a lifetime in the making so I'm spending the time fine tuning it, and making sure that it's as good as it can possibly be. But I can't wait to put it out. It's so good to have people wanting and waiting for it, gives me a lot of motivation. So it won't be long!
You have a very different look to say 'traditional soul artists', could you describe it to us and how it came about?
It's just me, my 'look' has just grown with me, I don't base it on anyone or anything, it's just who I am. And I like that people don't always think it matches my music, in many ways it's better that way.
Are you looking forward to your tour with Emeli Sande coming up?
I really am! She is one of my favourite artists around at the moment, her album is just…. just! I can't think of any better company to be on tour with at this stage. And I'm looking forward to seeing how her fans react to my music, obviously I'm hoping they'll enjoy it and follow me on my journey as well.
What Stimulates Your Soul?
Life, change, love and the occasional lack of it. The details in the word that make situations both unique and relatable.
Download 'Those who wait'