Monday, February 02, 2009

Daniel Merriweather...

Pinboard Blog posted their Daniel Merriweather interview today, and inspired me to stick mine up too...

Check theirs, and here's mine...


He’s Mark Ronson’s mate and worked with Wiley; but who the devil is Daniel Merriweather? Hattie Collins meets the Aussie singer and decides he might be one of the most exciting things about 2009….

“Mark’s turned into a complete arsehole,” sighs Daniel Merriweather of his famous mate (and the executive producer of his album), Mark Ronson, before breaking into a big laugh. “No, he’s great – he will always be the same. I’m sure that level of fame where you have the paparazzi chasing you would get to anyone, but Mark can deal with it.”

It’s an amount of infamy that the Australian Merriweather himself may well have to get used to in 2009. Known as the vocalist on Ronson’s Version of Stop Me, and Wiley’s Mark-made Cash In My Pocket, Merriweather’s own music is truly jaw-dropping. His debut album Love And War is ready-to-pop Ronson, but with a real edge a la Amy, who he’s friends with too dontchaknow. “I try to check in when I can, especially when Blake was away, just to spend some time away from all the bullsh*t,” he says of the troubled star. “I’ve seen her go from 0 to a million, and I don’t think you can ever be prepared for that kind of thing. She’s very strong-minded, and I’m always there to listen, but that’s as much as I think anyone can ever do.”

Like Amy (minus the madness), Daniel has some amazing Ronson-produced tracks on his album. Red is drop-dead gorgeous, while the ‘90s boombap teamed with ’60 horns of lead single Change could be Obama’s inaugural anthem. “Hey, let’s hope Barack hears it, maybe we’ll get to play it at the party,” grins Merriweather of the President Elect potentially picking the track up. “It was pre-election time and everyone was feeling a bit weird about everything, so we decided to do an Allido family song,” he explains of Change, which features the hotly-tipped rhymer Wale, his label-mate on the Ronson and Rich Kleiman-owned Allido Records.

Back to his album, and other highlights include the banjo-boasting Cigarettes (check the incredible lyricism people, please) and the chat-up anthem Could You. Is Love And War all about girls then, young man? “All about girls,” he wonders rhetorically, breaking into another smile. “Um, I guess a lot of it, sort of, but I also have this tendency to pontificate about things that are happening in the world.” Indeed, the album has tracks about chicks, but also songs that deal with the bigger picture too. “Those are the closest ones to me – it marks something in history for you, like a spot in your diary,” muses Merriweather of the music.

But dayyyum, it’s been a long time coming for the man with the golden voice. Merriweather was first heard back in 2003 when he featured on Ronson’s debut Here Comes The Fuzz. A couple of ill-fated singles later and silence… until of course Stop Me became a smash last year. What the heck was the wait? “Yeah it has been a bit frustrating, but it was finding time for to get in the studio with Mark because I was back and forth in Australia and New York, and of course he was often busy,” says the Melbourne-born 27 year-old. “I was talking to Mark the other night about how long ago it was since everything started and we both realised that something taking long can be good. I’m so happy with the album the way it is now.” You can’t blame the boy – it’s blinkin’ aces.

It’s not only taken time, but a lot of change from within too. Despite loving parents, Daniel, who was bought up on the edge of a forest, left home and school at the age of 15, quickly descending into a life of crime. “I started getting into a lot of trouble and made a lot of mistakes to be honest,” he admits. “I ended up in court a lot, I got assault charges, possession of a deadly weapon… I just didn’t have any prospects; I left school and I was at a loose end.”

Luckily for him, while out busking one day, Merriweather met a man that owned a studio who set him on the right path – within months he was in New York recording …Fuzz with Ronson. “It’s one of those things you look back on and you’re eternally grateful,” Dan reflects today. Now, he’s on the edge of his own success – how does he feel about it? Is he ready to be chased by the paps? “People always say ‘What’s it like being in the music business.’ But I’ve always said I’ve never been in the music business, I’ve always just made music,” he insists. “Being famous ahs never interested me as much as just singing songs. Who knows how anything will pan out, but I plan to keep in mind that music’s why I started this, and music’s why I’ll keep on doing this.”

Daniel MySpace

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