jan 22 2020
Kevin Daniel’s music career started when he was just five years old and singing Disney songs into a turkey baster turned microphone. A year later he was enrolled in music lessons, starting on piano and eventually picking up the sax, and by middle school was playing in state symphonic bands, touring with classical horn trios, and singing his heart out any chance he could get.
Ultimately Kevin found his place in the jazz and blues scene in highschool and college, while also exploring his talents as a guitar player. By the time he graduated from George Washington University, Daniel had played in two quartets, four high school orchestras, two jazz and blue bands, one bluegrass band, one punk ska group, and even sang tenor in an acapella group. But it was his move to New York City in 2013, and a sudden and unexpected tragedy, that put Kevin on the path towards his eventual solo career.
That winter, during a dinner party in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Kevin received a phone call from his sister that would change everything. His mother and stepfather, adventure-seekers and amateur pilots, had been flying back from their mountain house in western North Carolina when their plane had crashed, killing both of them. Daniel’s life was turned upside down, his family torn apart and the world forever changed. During his return to North Carolina to help with family business, and while reliving his parent’s lives through photos, essays, and family stories, Kevin wrote over a dozen songs, all fueled by the grief of losing his parents as well as the celebration of the large lives they were known for. From those songs six were chosen to record, including one written specifically for Kevin’s parent’s memorial service.
The result of those recordings was FLY, Kevin Daniel’s inaugural EP. The six-song project was recorded in 2014 in Brooklyn and embodies the depth of Daniel’s emotions during a time of supreme distress. Southern sounds of banjo and country-loving three-part harmonies were backed by rock riffs and pop lyrics, which spoke true to life and the celebration of living. “I always knew I wanted to record my own music, and a life spent being in other people’s bands had prepared me to lead my own, both in the studio and on the stage. It was losing my parents that gave me the kick in the ass to finally do it”, says Daniel. The EP is available on all digital outlets as well as on 12-inch opaque blue vinyl.
Kevin Daniel recently finished his second EP, Myself Through You, which was recorded at Degraw Sound in Brooklyn, NY, and produced, engineered, and mixed by Ben Rice. Kevin gathered together a host of talented, professional musicians from all backgrounds for the project, which resulted in a richly recorded blend of genres and instruments. “When I started thinking about this EP, I knew I wanted to get some of the best musicians I know in the studio. With Ben’s help we created a space where people could come in, lay down their own version of the parts, and create something unique to them as well as the record,” says Kevin.
Featuring instrumentation as diverse as pedal steel guitar, flugelhorn, and bluegrass banjo, the songs on Myself Through You deliver sublime lamentations of the country-tinged Americana Daniel has created over the last few years. The EP’s title track Myself Through You’ is Daniel’s attempt to take a subjective look at his own life. “I often find myself trying to take a step back and see life from someone else’s eyes,” says Kevin. “This song came into being at a time where I was really struggling to understand someone else’s point of view. I think we all struggle with that daily.”