Published on April 28th, 2018 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Exclusive: A Chat With Daley At The Pure Grenada Music Festival
Gareth Daley — professionally known by the single moniker “Daley” — is a well-respected British recording artist and songwriter hailing from Manchester, England. His first big break came after co-writing and being featured on the Gorillaz single “Doncamatic.” That feature led to touring with Gorillaz — alongside Snoop Dogg, De La Soul and Lou Reed — then plenty of BBC airplay. Daley’s 2011 mixtape Those Who Wait took him to the next level and led to a record deal with Universal Music. Daley has since collaborated with Pharrell, Jill Scott, Jessie J, Nelly, Vince Staples and Marsha Ambrosius on various projects. His latest full-length is 2017’s The Spectrum, which reached the number seven spot on the U.S. Heatseekers chart of Billboard, as released in the States by BMG.
While in town for the Pure Grenada Music Festival, I had the pleasure of seeing Daley perform a stripped-down set, then interviewing the man himself backstage. Highlights of our chat are below. More on Daley can be found online at www.daley.tv.
Daley: No, I don’t think so. I think with me I’m more able to channel the emotion when I’m singing. In-person I am a little more shy… When I’m singing, that’s definitely me. Sometimes in-person I’m a little more reserved, so it’s a little contrast.
One of the things that really makes you stand out is your vocal chops, as you have an impressive higher-register. When did you discover that you could comfortably sing that high? I don’t assume that you starting out singing that way.
Daley: I probably did, actually. (laughs) It kind of never left. I’ve always sung since I was a kid, so I never had that moment… My kind broke, obviously, but I pushed right through it. Just singing along to the singers that I used to listen to, Prince, a lot of female voices as well, helped my voice as well, so I guess it’s all in there.
Was there a punk rock past in any point of your musical evolution?
Daley: No punk rock, not really. I can’t say there was. (laughs)
Coming from Manchester, which is known for its dancing scene and its classic rock bands, were there any local artists that really inspired you to get into music in the first place?
Daley: I wouldn’t say Manchester is what got me started, but I’m definitely a big fan of The Smiths, Oasis and even Simply Red. There are a lot of Manchester musicians that contributed to my musical library. But I would say that R&B and soul is what got me into music.
Another thing that is impressive about you is the diversity among the musicians you have collaborated with, from Nelly to Gorillaz to Jessie J. Is co-writing and writing for other artists something that you are hoping to do more of?
Daley: It’s one of those things that I’m not opposed to it. But I get so caught up in my artistic process that it seems to take precedence over the music I am making… I have written a few things for U.K. artists. I have really enjoyed the process, but I haven’t really devoted or set enough time to do that hustle. It’s always something that I would be open to.
So in closing, any last words for the kids?
Daley: Kids, stay in school. (laughs) If you’re a musician, just go with your gut and don’t assume that someone else is going to have the right answer for you, your journey, your music and your art. Just trust your gut.