Interview with the Inspirational Daniel Ma'ani

Updated: Apr 11

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The singer songwriter's job is comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable! I am one of many songwriters screaming and whining all the time but I'm pretty happy doing it! My grandmother told me that blackbirds sing happily in the rain and hail, so I carry that mentality of lifelong singing and performing. This has been an excellent year for me with a lot of performances in Oxford. I'm looking to perform as often as I can. The time is short and the road is long.


What first got you into music and when was it?

I actually liked dancing. So that was my first experience of music. I was a dancing child. A lot like Billy Elliot but without drama.


Who inspired you to make music, who are you influenced by?

I watched a documentary about Bob Dylan and felt really interested in Americana and folk music. I was about 15 at the time. I started trying to write songs immediately. Almost everywhere I've been there's a massive folk tradition and I like almost all of it. I really try and copy Richie Havens style guitar playing, but it's almost impossible!


How would you describe the music that you typically create,

has it changed over the years and how?

Very simple music. Catchy songs. I try to make them funny and with a bit of depth. I don't think the songs have changed all that much. I'm a bit of a happier and relaxed singer now.




What is your creative process like?

I just sit and sing. I'll do a couple of hours every day. I write the songs in my phone if I get a good idea. I'm pretty consistent. It hasn't changed much over the years. I have a microphone and amp set up at home at all times that really helps. It's like my office. My noisy office.


Who would you like to collaborate with and why?

This is a good question. I would love to have a rapper to do a few verses in my songs and to collaborate with. I'd also like a strings section. I'm still learning how different types of music can fit together, there's certainly magic when it does.


If you could support one band, who would it be and why?

I would love to support the biggest most popular acts on the planet. I have an image of myself walking onto a stage in a stadium and there's fifty thousand people booing and I have to win them over. That's a challenge I can get behind.


What is the one message you would give your audience and

what message would you give the MU readers?

I would say that everyone has great and powerful songs in them. Give songwriting a try. I think it could be very good for you. If you are going through hard times in your life at the moment, try and create something. It will be very satisfying.


What is the most useless talent you have?

It's not a useless talent but I make the best omelettes. They call me the omelette king


What would you be doing right now if it wasn’t for music?

I would probably be writing more poems and stories. Maybe dancing? But how could I dance with no music? I would be confused.


Where have you performed?

I've played in almost every venue in Oxford and am really excited to be playing at the legendary Jericho Tavern on April 18th. I try not to think about bad performances. I once played at an outdoor dinner in one of those big tent things. People were just trying to enjoy their meal and I was really giving it everything. Pretty awkward. My best gig is always my next gig!


How do you feel the internet has impacted the music industry

and you specifically?

I listen to music on Youtube mostly, which I guess is a big change from tapes and CDs. My music is Guitar+Vocal+tons of words= song, but an Ipod has thousands of small components and is much more complicated than that. Still people can use this amazing technology to listen to me. That seems good.


What is your favourite song to perform and why?

I have a song that I don't really intend to record. I play it at almost every gig and I never get tired of it. I just want to play it while I can. And if I die one day then the song will die too. It's called “My Shadow has a Heartbeat”.


What is the most trouble you have gotten into?

I never get into trouble.


What is the best advice you have been given?

A friendly bus driver saw me with my guitar case and said “keep strumming away at that guitar, don't ever stop ok?”. Now that's damn good advice.


If you could change anything what would it be?

I don't know. I'd like to spend more time with friends and family.


Which bands do you think are currently under-rated or that

people should look out for?

There's a band in Oxford called The Overload who I would rather see perform over any other music act in the world at the moment. They're like the best kept secret, but also completely insane. I'm a big fan.


What is next for you?

I hope I can stay healthy and focused and keep playing gigs. I love performing. May it never end. I'm looking to play festivals this summer. Get in touch.

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