East Coast folk artist Daniel James McFadyen brings national tour to Toronto & NXNE
The Caledon transplant is Nominated for Best Song, and Rising Star Recording Of The Year at the 2023 East Coast Music Awards
TORONTO, Tuesday May 23, 2023 – While hailing originally from Caledon, Ont., indie folk artist Daniel James McFadyen has found a pretty idyllic setting to call home in the small, ocean-side town of Hortonville, N.S.
“It’s really nice. The window of my backyard overlooks the ocean. It’s very easy to write songs here,” says the singer/acoustic guitarist whose single “Hot Sun” was nominated for Best Song, and Rising Star Recording Of The Year at the 2023 East Coast Music Awards, May 3 to 7 in Halifax.
This added to the momentum from previous singles like “Goin’ Back”, with his engaging 5-piece playing two showcases at ECMA’s.
“It was a busy, busy weekend. It was great. It was a good step,” he says.
“It feels like in the last few years we’ve been able to play more shows in the East Coast. The rooms get bigger.”
As part of an ongoing national tour, he appears in Toronto at the Horseshoe Tavern on June 2, and at The Cameron House on June 17 (during the prestigious North By NorthEast music discovery festival). The tour hits Ottawa’s SAW Gallery on June 3.
So, how important is first-time exposure at NXNE for an artist without major label promotion?
“(Well), I have a lot of help behind me,” he comments. “I have a good team, and a distribution deal out of Hamilton (through the independent Canary Minor Music label – which will put out my next EP, “Songs To Show Your Friends” in October).”
“But I think North By NorthEast will be a great festival.”
The EP’s lead single “Sunshine” features a breezy folk/rock groove, belying a somber message in the chorus. McFadyen stumbled onto the hook in a 10-second voice note he’d left on his phone back in 2020.
“Once I got the idea for “Sunshine”, it was clear it was going to be the focus of the EP,” he explains. “There’s a mix of sweetness and eeriness in it that I’ve never experienced before, and that experimentation definitely paid off.”
He says this record was “more about collaboration”, working for the first time with Montreal producer Quinn Bachand.
“I think I was more interested in exploring production, and with (Quinn’s) ability to play a lot of instruments. He plays strings, he plays pedal steel,” he explains.
“The stuff I’ve written was more East Coast. (I thought), it’s time, I’d like to break out more and (hopefully) reach indie radio across the country.”
McFadyen fell for the East Coast way of life, while on a family vacation at the age of 14. He subsequently studied Business at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, while hosting open mics in the off-hours. When “jobless” after graduation, music slowly but surely took over.
While a fan of the storytelling tradition laid down by the likes of (the late) John Prine, and the more recent rural brand of folk delivered by bands like Denver’s The Lumineers, McFadyen also cites the influence of Maritime peers like Joel Plaskett, and Dylan Menzie, amongst a broad circle of musical friends.
“All of these artists are nice people,” he relates. “There’s not much competition. I really feel like we’re lifting each other up.”
And while definitely ambitious, he tries to keep it all in perspective. He has a cockapoo named Maggie. His mom lives three doors down.
“I just feel it out and work at it day by day, and not look too far into the future. That’s my matrix,” he adds. “I’m excited about it. I love travelling.”
by Mike Beggs
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