INTERVIEW: DAN PURCELL
Updated: Aug 26
Dan Purcell is a youthful soul-pop artist who brings a whole new dimension to his sound. His debut album 'Grow Better' has just been released, and is 10 songs full of character and oozes pop personality that hits that sweet spot. Lead single 'Waiting on You' is a cinematically woven track that is brilliantly understated. We sat down with this hugely talented artist exclusively for FLEX.
Hey Dan, welcome to FLEX How are you?
Not too bad, thanks for asking! I really appreciate the opportunity to chat with you today!
Could you describe your sound & style for any of our readers who may not have heard of you before? I like to call it "Young Adult Contemporary." It's a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I think it really encompasses what I'm going for with my music. Songs that you'd hear on a satellite radio station like Sirius XM The Pulse or The Blend, but with a more youthful spin for people in their 20s and 30s. Music that's perfect for dance parties while you're cooking in the kitchen, chilling at the beach or driving down the highway with the top down. I'm really trying to soundtrack people's daily lives and help them smile a bit more throughout the day! Give us a fun fact about yourself we can’t find from Google/social media! I've recently gotten back into anime! I was a huge Dragon Ball Z fan when I was a kid and would draw cartoons in that style all the time, but now I've expanded my horizons a bit more to other shows and manga! I've really been digging Mob Psycho 100 and Gintama as of late, and my roommates and I are tearing through One Piece for the first time. The author Eiichiro Oda built such a rich world with such a meaningful story, and I'm absolutely obsessed. I'm stoked to see how the Live Action version being made by Netflix turns out! Everyone on the cast and crew seems super passionate about the anime and I can't wait to see their hard work. Please tell us all about your new album and lead single 'Waiting On You'! I'd love to! The name of my album is Grow Better, and I've been pitching it to people as "10 love letters to a romantic partner in my life that I've yet to meet." Each song represents a vow to that person to grow into the best possible version of myself, from learning how to get out of my own way, to seeking a deeper and more intentional commitment with them. You could almost say that I'm writing my wedding vows long before I get married! What's also great about this album though is that these songs could be applicable for growth in any kind of relationship, be it with romantic partners, friends, family or even new acquaintances! The single, Waiting On You, is the second track of the album. It's a song for all the hopeless romantics out there yearning for "The One" to finally come into their lives. I wrote it with an incredible artist from NYC named COOKIE. I connected with her during the pandemic through a Discord that was created by an artist and producer we both really respect named Brasstracks, and since then COOKIE. has gone on to write with Brasstracks and feature as a performer for their live band! When I pitched her the idea of the song, she penned this brilliant melody for the verses and chorus over a beat that I had made and captured the perfect vibe lyrically and sonically for the record. One of my favorite lyrics she wrote was "She's always on my mind/There's not enough time to borrow/Might as well put it in a bottle, the way I lose time in my head." It's such a perfect encapsulation of how much of a crush I can have on someone when I meet them for the first time. From there, instead of a typical bridge I arranged a vocal breakdown, where a cacophony of my vocal harmonies build into the final chorus. The finishing touches were made by another artist I connected with online named Shaan Ramaprasad. He's a brilliant composer and arranger for strings, and he wrote some really stunning string sections for the song that compliment the track so nicely.
Listen to Dan's album 'Grow Better' in full here:
Please tell us a bit about your creative process when it comes to songwriting? Oh wow, it really comes from anywhere and anyone, especially with regard to lyrics! I was telling a friend this recently, I really like to glom onto random ideas like a sponge and jot them down in my Notes app to save for later. It never ends up being random though, I think subconsciously I pay attention to themes and ideas that I know I can capture pretty well. Most of the lyric ideas that I think are disparate at first actually come together really neatly. Once I have something that I think is substantial, I work with my main collaborator Crawford to hammer out the specifics of the lyrics and musical arrangement. Crawford is a multi-talented instrumentalist and I love producing him, we've been working together since high school! Who or what influences your sound? I'm always listening to anything and everything, I find it important to really understand the pulse of music these days. I think my main influences from a writing standpoint are artists and bands who aim to create timeless music, people like Prince, Jon Bellion, Brasstracks, Lawrence, Paramore, OneRepublic and U2! Vocally, I also really like studying the great, timeless vocalists as well, folks like Nat King Cole, Chet Baker, Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra. My peers also really inspire me too, bands and artists like nightlife, Cait Harris, MLLN, COOKIE., Rothstein and Fatherdude are making really incredible work that I can't recommend more! & Lastly, what can fans expect from Dan Purcell next? Hmm... I think fans should expect the unexpected. I'm influenced by a lot, and I would love to dip into the various facets of what I know my voice and artistry is capable of. This first album leans more toward a Soul Pop/R&B sound, but I'd love to make an album of anthemic stadium rock. The other night I went to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers live and was thrilled by how their music filled a stadium and how much my ears rang when everyone was screaming the songs back to them. I'd also love to make a jazz pop album with live musicians someday! In high school I started learning how to sing works from the Great American Songbook and it would be a fun challenge to try and write modern versions of those kinds of standards. Lastly, songwriting and producing is a passion of mine, so I'd also love to help artists realize their visions for songs or albums. It's safe to say that regardless of what I do next, I'm excited for what the future holds!