INTERVIEW: Dani Wilde

Dani Wilde is a fantastic singer, songwriter and musician who I have had the pleasure to interview before. It was a thrill that she was up for another interview.

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How are you? What have you been up to since our last interview two years ago?

I’m good thanks Tom. I’ve been keeping busy. I did the Girls With Guitars Tour with Samantha Fish and Cassie Taylor across The UK, Europe, America and Canada. Must’ve played around 250 dates that year. I also did some Dani Wilde and Friends Live and Unplugged touring in the UK and Europe. My new record was out and also the Girls with Guitars album and live DVD. I also had some crossover success in the country music charts with my singles ‘Love Hurts’ and ‘Loving You’.

I really loved your last album, Juice Me Up, I could definitely sense the blues and soul tones throughout it. Terrific album. But you said that you no longer identify as a blues/soul artist so how do you see yourself now?

Well, I’m very much still rooted in blues and soul but at the same time I’ve always been inspired by a range of other genres too. I really love country music from Patsy Cline to Lyle Lovett. I love gospel music, good pop music and am a big fan of just great songwriting regardless of what genre it’s pigeon holed in. So at the moment I’m recording album number four and it’s very much an album of my strongest songs sung with sincerity, recorded with some incredible musicians and embracing all of the genres that inspire me. If the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Patty Griffin and John Mayer can play to the blues crowd but also embrace all the other genres that inspire them and reach out to a greater and more mainsteam audience then why can’t I.

What made you want to be a musician and songwriter?

Well, my dad brought me up listening to everything from Bruce Springsteen to Paul Weller, Muddy Waters to Bob Dylan and Humble Pie. I was brought up on Blues, Soul and Rock n roll. When I was about six years old I discovered Michael Jackson and was obsessed with him throughout my childhood. Michael was my hero and I spent hours every single day sat cross legged in front of the hi-fi with the lyrics in the cd sleeve in my lap, singing along. Then when I was a teenager I saw female blues artists including Shemekia Copeland and Susan Tedeschi playing at Bishopstock Blues Festival in the UK and I decided that I wanted to follow in their footsteps.

Everyone knows the very first song they learnt to play on their respective instrument, what was yours?

Haha, well I’d love to say something cool but I guess I should be honest here. I think the first song I learnt on guitar was Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Deep Blue Something shortly followed by the James Bond theme tune. I was born in the 80’s and grew up in the 90’s so that’s my excuse. I quickly moved on to learning all of Bob Dylan’s songs and lots of John Lee Hooker though (I used to gig solo in pubs with rack harmonica and my acoustic guitar in Wiltshire in my teens).

What are your fondest musical memories?

I have so many… Opening for Jools Holland at the Royal Albert Hall with Chris Holland’s Band, having Mike Vernon come out of retirement to produce my record, sharing the stage with Pee Wee Ellis at WOMAD festival, opening for Johnny Winter at BB Kings NYC, jamming with Louisiana Red shortly before he passed away at his home in Hamburg, playing a concert to 1000 slum children in Kenya, touring in Canada, the USA, and all over Europe including Latvia, Lithuania, Belgium, France, Holland, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Poland, Italy, Austria, Spain, Portugal. I also really enjoyed doing the BBC Radio 2 featured artist sessions where you get to go and record at the famous Maida Vale Studios. Charting alongside Taylor Swift in the European Itunes Country Chart’s top 40 last year was cool too and I just got home from my first Russian tour this week. That was a fun experience and also a crazy time to be there with Russia being on the brink of war potentially.

What defines you as a musician and songwriter?

As an artist you have to redefine yourself to an extent with every album you make because there needs to be progression and new inspiration and development as a songwriter to keep the music fresh. At the same time you have to keep the music honest and sincere and to have a musical voice that is immediately recognizable as you. That I think is what defines me; my voice and the honesty of the songwriting.

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