Ideally, revelations should come to a new artist constantly as they're preparing to enter the public consciousness... ones like "patience is a virtue" or "you should never stop learning" or "when you have an unique last name, use it."
So, sure, brand new Sparrow Records artist Danyew experienced those "a-ha!" moments as part of readying his debut, a project containing complex songs filled with life, spirit, beauty and truth. And that "patience is a virtue" lesson is one he learned from the get-go.
Danyew, a native Californian, has been crafting songs since he was 12, learning a passel of different instruments along the way, and over the past couple of years immersing himself in the electronic side of the music creation equation
"Long story short, I was going out to Nashville and working with a guy named Pete Kipley, who produced the record. This was way before the label was involved," Danyew says. "We started working, I got in contact with the label, began doing showcases, my producer ended up moving out here. There are a lot of things that prolonged the recording process."
So when he went into the studio in early 2007 to start piecing together his debut recording, Danyew got his first glimpse into the dedication it takes to make music come out just right. Something many new artists can't imagine in this current "record today, release later today" musical atmosphere.
"I'd come up with all these parts - all the bass, all the guitars, all the synths, all the vocals - to the best of my ability, then take them to Pete, and we'd talk about what I was thinking for the songs," Danyew says. "That's the great thing about technology, that a kid could start making a record in his bedroom closet, then take it across town to a producer who turns it into finished product. It's amazing."
The creation of art is supposed to be about personal revelation and expression, right? This process often includes learning that what you do creatively can be easily subdivided.
"I feel like there's almost three personalities to my work," Danyew says. "I write so differently on guitar than on piano or when I'm programming right into the computer. Yet somehow it all works together to produce the songs themselves."
From the driving, guitar-laden crunch of "Closer We Are", to the darker groove of "Close Your Eyes", and the epic, piano-and-hum driven "Streetlight", these different musical personalities, approaches and subject matter populate Danyew's debut.
Standout track "Beautiful King", for example, originally started out as a tribute to his twin sister. "I remember sitting down and wanting to write a song for her," Danyew says. "I was fiddling around, and out came 'Rachel Marie... has anyone seen such a spirited girl.' I got to the chorus 'every word that you say wields the beauty of angels,' and I thought, 'that's really awesome to say, but it's too epic to say about my sister.' So it changed from 'Rachel Marie' into 'Beautiful King', which flowed really nicely."
Oppositely, "Turnstile", with its Beatle-esque sound and dreamy vocals is a beautiful love song, Danyew describes, "to a girl... that I don't know yet."
"I see song-writing as like a library filing cabinet." Danyew says. "The songs you're gonna write are there, you just have to sift through a lot of other things before you get to the good ones. I feel like anybody who's a songwriter needs to be writing all the time. I definitely feel like I'm in the floppy-eared, big-paw portion of my career, that I'm just waiting to grow into it."
And in the midst of learning how and why he's an artist, Danyew finds himself listening intently for that indication of where and to whom he's supposed to speak.
"I have songs on this record that aren't necessarily about God, right alongside the worship songs." Danyew says. "I felt like God was saying to me, 'Why do you have to choose one side or the other? Write the music that I'm giving you, and don't be partial about where you're playing it. Everyone needs to hear this.'
He continues, "the simple truth is that God wants us to love each other. Love is such a powerful thing, and God is shaping my desires to show His love through music... of all kinds."