Dan Olsen has just released his single “Hold You Tonight” on iTunes. This is the same single that made him an International award winning singer/songwriter. Dan has been slowly rising to fame with his work being used for films. His song “Heart Into Trouble” which he wrote with Martin Sutton has been made the title track for the film “Carnivore”.
Dan not only sings but also spends his time spreading awareness for Prostate Cancer. He runs for Go Dad Run, a series of races held across the UK and open to men and boys of all ages.
The singer/songwriter has been travelling places to perform but amidst his busy and exciting schedule, we got a chance to catch up with him and talk about his career so far and his plans for the future.
Dan, is it true that you basically started as a guitarist and took on singing later? We would like to know about your journey so far.
I started playing classical guitar when I was 12 or 13 years old and I basically started playing when my mom signed me up for lessons. I was more into sports; I loved music but I did not play much so I said (to my mother) “I’ll do it for you only” and I started to enjoy it.
It was a cool experience and I almost became addicted to playing the guitar and when I was around 16 or 17, I started to add singing to it, just on my own, playing covers, just fooling around pretending that I can sing.
Can you elaborate on it further?
At one point, I went to Australia to finish my business degree, I thought of trying something different. So, in the weekends, I got a job for playing shows at bars and restaurants and I got paid for it. So, I was like “Hey, I am actually enjoying this! Maybe I should consider doing it for living.”
You moved to London a few years ago. How are you finding the city?
Two years ago, I moved to London from Australia. London is a big city. It is very good because of different cultures, also in creativity. There are a lot of creative people and the music industry is huge. I thought it was a right move and it turned out to be the right move.
If you look at it as a competition, there is a lot of competition. There are a lot of musicians, they are very good as well. And, if you have to do it, you really have to want to but that’s what I do and I am very lucky to meet my manager right away when I came to London.
I went to one of these “Open Mic”. It’s great training to meet new people and to showcase your work so, it’s good for a lot of things. For me, it worked out because that’s how I met my manager. (laughs)
How is your bond with your manager Luc Floreani?
It’s really, really good. It is very important to have a good relationship with the people you work with. We sort of have the same mindset as far in making into the music industry. We connect and get along really well. He (Luc) used to be singer/songwriter himself. He’s been into the music industry for many, many years so he knows what it’s all about. In a sense you draw from his experience, maybe not make the same mistakes that he did. Everyone has to make mistakes and learn from them but it’s (Luc’s experience) really valuable for me.
You said that there is a lot of competition in the music industry in London? So, in recent years, who do you think is doing the best? Whom do you admire?
In the music industry, there are many good singers. That’s a really good question (laughs). It’s tough to answer because there are so many musicians that I really like. Right now, there are many like James Bay. He is doing really well. He’s the guy on the guitar and he won an Ivor Novello Award for his song “Hold Back The River”, it’s a really good song. But it’s a difficult question to answer at the moment (a wide smile).
How does it feel to be an award winning singer/songwriter?
It’s really nice to get recognition for your work.That feels good and I got it for my song that I wrote “Hold You Tonight” and I am releasing the song in a week. (spoiler)
Have you ever counted the number of songs you’ve written?
There are around 60 songs. There are many half projects but finished songs, they are in the 60s.
Dan, there are pictures of you running marathons for supporting the cause of spreading awareness for Prostate Cancer. What motivated you to take up the cause?
Prostate Cancer is so common yet a lot of people are not aware of how common it is. That for me was the main thing to get it out because 1 in 8 guys get Prostate Cancer in their lives, that’s what the statistics show so, it was very important for me to get that out.
If one in eight men are getting Prostate Cancer and also, because the guys who are proud to get themselves check and admit that something might be wrong with them, it’s not something to talk about either which is a shame because then, if you find out about it late, it can be dangerous. It’s like anyone can get it and you should check yourself. It takes like five to ten minutes to go and get it checked.
Every artist has her/his own definition for music. How would you like to define your music?
In words, first of all, because I play guitar, it’s gonna be acoustic. I wanted to be honest because I want to connect to people and in order to that , it has, to be honest, and relatable.I think the most simple thing to write about is love and relationship and that’s what most songwriters write about as they start their career because people can relate to that but some songs are about life in general, struggles and how you shouldn’t give up and I’ve been travelling a lot so, it is about that as well and about romantic stuff. I would say it’s quite simple actually, nothing so special.
Dan, you said that you’ve been travelling a lot. You’ve been to Russia and China. How was your experience in Russia?
Yes, I’ve been to Russia. Russia was amazing, it went there in summer. People have this picture of Russia as a cold place where people wear long caps, they do wear it when it’s cold but I was in Moscow in June. Moscow is huge. It also depends on where you’re in Russia. Apart from that, it was nice, people were nice. Russians were friendly and it seems that some people there have a specific humor and you sort of have to get into the flow before you can understand them. It was a good experience.
Any special fan moment?
Yes, there were a couple. I had fans coming after clicking photos, taking selfies and taking signatures and autographs. There was this moment when I was singing “Hold You Tonight”, the band kept playing and I went down to say “Hi” to the fans. That was a nice moment for me.
I haven’t been to China. It’s later this year and I am really excited about that. I am learning Mandarin, I am learning Chinese and (pauses) it’s tricky. But I think, because it’s so different from Western languages, you can’t expect it to be anything else but tricky so, it’s almost like starting from scratch. What they have in Mandarin is itones, if you speak in different tonalogies, it can mean different things.
Then,writing Mandarin again is more or less like an art form. I love the signs, they are beautiful but it’s a lot of work to remember.
How far have you been successful in learning Mandarin?
I only started this year. We’ve made a record deal with a record label in China.So, I am speaking with the head of that record label once a week and she’s teaching me some Chinese and I could say a couple of sentences. (Dan’s first refused to speak some Chinese but he did on our insistence, and he did really well!)
Dan also tried speaking Hindi and he said, Namaste Ayushi. Aap Kaisi hai? (Hello, Ayushi! How are you?)
Dan, what are your plans for the future? Your fans would be excited to know about all the projects you are working on.
Releasing a couple of singles so, I am gonna start with this one (Hold You Tonight) in a week. I am doing an interview with you now (smiles) and I’ve got a couple of interviews coming up with radio stations. We are looking to get the songs into the radio so well, I will be performing some live stuff on the radio stations.
I’ve got a lot of shows coming up in the UK, Europe, and the States and later on this year, we are looking to do a tour in China as well. So, there is a lot of performing and recording. We’re still recording some singles so, the songs are written to be recorded for the album.
Also, I am also writing songs at the moment, writing new songs and it’s all very exciting.
You recorded a song for the film “Carnivore”. How was your experience?
It was really good. So this song “Heart Into Trouble”, I wrote it with an another guy. His name is Martin Sutton and he has written for some big names like Celine Dion and others. So, I went to his place, we wrote the song together, and we went to the studio. We liked this song and so, we collaborated with some guys in Nashville and it got picked up by these guys from the film “Carnivore”. The film is about werewolves (laughs).
They liked the song and the song became the title track for the movie. That was very exciting. It was my first song in a movie and I was very happy with that and that movie will be released in September in London. That’s a story about the “Heart Into Trouble”.
That single hasn’t been released completely yet. It’s still in the music video. The guys, they made the music video for it and put some scenes from the movie into the music video so, they can sort of promote the film as well.
Thank You so much, Dan, for the interview!
You can check out Dan’s song “Heart Into Trouble” below:
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