Daniel Kirkley is a classically trained singer-songwriter who moved New York City this past year from Nashville, TN. While in Nashville, he signed with Centricity Records and released two albums with them. The first, Let Love Win, yielded a chart topping hit, My New Dawn, at AC radio. Since releasing his first album, Daniel has spent the last seven years touring the country performing solo shows in a variety of venues in support of his other album releases (As Tomorrow Comes & Where Healing Starts).
2012 marked a new beginning for Daniel as he set out on pursuing opportunities in the world of musical theater. This past summer, he made his acting debut in Bobby Cronin's award winning musical, Daybreak. Shortly after the completion of that musical's run, Daniel began work on his Christmas album, Love Is Christmas. As part of his Christmas tour, he will make his New York City debut on December 12th under the musical direction of William Demaniow. Come on down to Sidewalk Cafe (94 Avenue A, New York's East Village) to celebrate the release of his Christmas album, "Love Is Christmas" and hear Daniel's stellar voice as he sings selections from his CD and spreads some holiday cheer. Showtimes are 8pm and 10pm. Click here for tickets: 8pm, 10pm.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a singer? I don't know if there was an actual person or event that really every inspired me to start down this path. I've been singing for as long as I can remember; it's always been something that I loved. Growing up, my first exposure to performing was in the church; so that's been a very real influence over the course of my life. I've really just tried to focus on the areas I felt I was blessed to have some talent & walk through the doors that naturally opened because of them.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? One day, I would love to work with David Foster. I've always been such a fan of his songwriting and production style.
3. You just released your new album "Love Is Christmas." What made you want to make a Christmas album? Christmas is (and will always be) my favorite time of year. To me, it brings out the best in people; love, generosity, kindness…plus, to me, it's all about family. I had wanted to record a Christmas album for several years but it just wasn't the right time. Several months back, I looked at my schedule and realized I had the time to really focus on what I wanted to record, how I wanted to approach it & more importantly, who I wanted to work with it on.
4. How did you decide which holiday songs you wanted to put on the CD? Honestly, that was the most difficult part of the entire process. I sat down and went through my favorite Christmas songs and at the end of the day had a list of a little over 35 songs. I wanted to combine my love for the sacred tunes as well as the Christmas classics I grew up on. Obviously, the list was WAY too long for any single album so my producer, Jamey Ray, and I sat down and began narrowing them down to the eleven tracks that makes up the album. To me, the outcome was exactly what I set out to do from day one.
5. Rachel Potter and Marty Thomas make a guest appearance on your album. What made you want to record with them and how did you decide which song you wanted to record together? I have such respect for both Rachel & Marty & I'm so thankful to have them as part of this project. In fact, they were among the first people I met years ago on my first trip to New York. Not only are their voices fantastic, but their work ethic is something that has driven me personally since moving here last December. Now in regards to the song itself; I've been aware of it for many years & it's always been a favorite of mine. It was originally recorded by the group Avalon & was written by my friends Joel Lindsey & Wayne Haun. Before moving to New York, I lived in Nashville and worked for Sony/BMG in their Creative Publishing department. Joel and Wayne were both writers signed there & this song is part of that catalog. In fact, Joel was one of the very first people I co-wrote with and in many ways has become a mentor of mine. After deciding to record "Light A Candle", the question then became how to approach it; whether to record it as a solo song or keep the feel of the original recording as a group. Once that decision was made, Rachel & Marty were the first two people that came to mind. Jamey, my producer, is close friends with them both & that's ultimately how that connection was made.
6. You are going to be performing 2 shows at the Sidewalk Cafe on December 12 to help promote "Love is Christmas." What excites you about performing at the Sidewalk Cafe? What does this venue offer that another venue does not? Well obviously, I'm excited about this being my first solo show here in the city. I had several goals that I wanted to accomplish when I moved here last year; one of them was to do a concert. These performances will literally occur three days before the one year anniversary of me signing my lease; so…WHEW…I just made it - hahaha! As far as Sidewalk Cafe goes, it has a wonderful history down in the East Village & they've recently redone their performance space. My shows are part of their new Landmark Wednesdays & I couldn't be happier to be apart.
7. What does it mean to you to be making your NY debut with this concert? It's very exciting for me & something that I've been wanting to do for a while. For the six years prior to moving to New York, while based out of Nashville, I toured full-time as a solo artist performing and promoting my previous three albums. I had never had the chance to play here; so to me, this is a culmination of several years of work. Also, I can't think of a better way to make my NYC debut than with a Christmas concert.
8. What is your favorite part of the creative process in putting an album together? Well I think it all depends on the project. For instance, with my previous release, "Where Healing Starts," I wrote all but two songs on the album. So my favorite process was seeing those songs that started with a pad, pen & rough work tape slowly come together into their final, full produced versions. However, I only wrote one song on "Love Is Christmas," so that aspect was different in this case. For me, when it came to this project, the process of putting my vocals down & hearing them back on these Christmas favorites was the best part.
9. What have you learned about yourself from being a singer? That the longer I work at this craft, how little I actually know & how much more there is to learn. My vocal coach in college told me this, "The moment you feel you no longer have anything to learn, is the moment you cease to be a musician." I've tried to keep that in mind ever since.
10. What's the best advice you've ever received? I remember one day chatting with Joel Lindsey (one of the co-writers of "Light A Candle") and I asked him, looking back over his career, what was one of the things he was most thankful for & he said, "I'm thankful for all the people who are better than me that quit before I did." I love that perspective. Ultimately, you can't control how things in the music industry are going to go; things tend to be so subjective. Also, you will meet people everyday that are better singers, musicians, songwriters, actors, dancers, etc…that's just the nature of the world. However, you can control your own drive and determination. I firmly believe what sets someone apart is their confidence in what they do well, working hard to master it & never allow the comparisons to another person/performer get you down.
11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? It would have to be my niece, Ella. I love being an uncle and that beautiful little girl simply steals my heart every time I see her smile or hear her voice. Being away from her is honestly the most difficult part of living here in the city.
12. Favorite way to spend your day off? To me, there's nothing better than a day off in my pajamas, a giant pot of coffee & catching up on my DVR or playing a little PS3 - hahaha!!!
13. Favorite way to stay in shape? I love going to the gym…but since moving here, my favorite thing to do is running the loop in Central Park.
14. Boxers or Briefs? One has to keep a little mystery in the world - haha!
15. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? I'd want to fly.