Daniel Pearson brings his own kind of protest to the Trades Club

editorial image

Leeds-based singer-songwriter Daniel Pearson has had a busy few years launching his solo musical career.

He received critical acclaim for his second album Mercury State in 2012, with one critic describing him as ‘Bob Dylan for the recession generation’.

“It’s really flattering to be compared to someone like Bob Dylan,” says Daniel.

“He’s had such an amazing career and such longevity as an artist - but I don’t think I’m anywhere near him yet.

“I think they made the comparison because we’re both singer-songwriters doing songs about social injustice.”

For the album, Daniel drew influence from the world around him - the struggles and difficulties most people face in their everyday lives.

“There are fewer musicians today singing about issues that really affect people,” says the 30-year-old singer.

“There are a lot of musicians who are successful now who - without wanting to sound like a working-class warrior - come from privileged backgrounds and are already rich before they start out in music.

“People’s perception of musicians has changed a lot over the years - I don’t think they are looked at to make grand statements about society anymore,” he says.

“Guys like Billy Bragg are still doing it, and Bruce Springsteen is still at the peak of his powers - his last record was very much about the recession and social injustice.

“It’s harder to unite people into a movement behind music these days because everything is so compartmentalised and disparate.

“Music is still something that can unite people and bring people together, but if you want to protest or show your disgust about something today, you’re more likely to post a video on YouTube, write a tweet about it or start a Facebook group,” he says.

“Protest music still has a place, and I think it’s important that we don’t lose sight of that.”

But Daniel isn’t averse to technology - running his own record label, he has used the internet to promote his music and communicate directly with fans.

“I owe a large part of the success I’ve had over the past few years largely to the internet and social media,” he says.

“I spend a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook connecting with people all round the world who’ve taken an interest in my music.

“It’s levelled the playing field in a lot of ways - for someone like me who does everything independently, it allows you to reach people who you wouldn’t have been able to five or ten years ago without the big advertising and marketing budget of the major record labels.

“A lot of people who buy my records and come to my shows have discovered me through Twitter and Facebook because people share videos and post links to my songs.

“We’ve seen big changes in the past few years in the way we buy and consume music - music collections have become more of a transitory thing now with services like Spotify and YouTube.”

But above and beyond the subject-matter of his lyrics, or his presence on the internet, it is Daniel’s love of songwriting that has been key to his success.

“I’m a big believer in really good songs, and what I do has elements of indie, rock, country, folk, and even punk,” he says.

“What ties it all together is the fact that I really like strong melodies, good lyrics and great choruses.

“I’m definitely of the singer-songwriter genre, but there’s a bit more to me than a guy with an acoustic guitar.”

- Daniel Pearson will be performing at Hebden Bridge Trades Club on July 30.