By Annie Reuter
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – With a distinct sound that some say exude Jeff Buckley and Roy Orbison, Brooklyn-based musician Daniel Wayne has been busy making a name for himself. With the recent release of his debut EP, he’s playing a show in his home borough this week.
Born in Cincinnati, Wayne was immersed in country and bluegrass music as a child. It’s no wonder that his music is a distinct blend of both these genres and also embodies rock influences.
“My mom was born in Kentucky and my stepdad is from Kentucky and they were always listening to bluegrass music. I guess I just got immersed into that,” he said. “I think that’s where my influence comes from as far as that country side.”
Wayne has been involved in music for most of his life and recalls the first solo he sang in grade school, “Amazing Grace.”
“I talked a lot [and sat] in the back of the class so [my teacher] moved me to the front so I wouldn’t talk so much. She realized I could sing and said, ‘Why don’t you sing the solo for the end of the year concert?’” Wayne added. “That was the first time I performed.”
And he has been performing ever since.
In September, Wayne released his debut EP. Four standout tracks, he cites his move to New York as a major influence.
“There’s no place like New York. I love Brooklyn. I think overall it has made my music better because I’ve gotten influences and experiences I probably wouldn’t have had [in Cincinnati].”
One song in particular, “My Bed” had its start in Brooklyn.
“That song happened in a matter of minutes. I was just messing around and that song came out. I was joking around a little bit and having fun,” he recalls. “I used to go to Bar 4 for the open mic all the time. When I played that song at the open mic they asked me to play it three times. That’s how I knew it was a good song. It’s not the most sophisticated song, but it’s honest.”
And honesty is the key to standing out as a musician in New York.
“I just try to keep it sincere and honest. I think the main objective of any artist is to find their own voice and sing from that perspective. If they do that, they’re going to stand out naturally,” he said. “If you’re coming from a perspective of sincerity and just being yourself, everybody can stand out.”
With several New York gigs in the upcoming weeks, Wayne is keeping busy. In addition to his show Thursday, he has been added to the famed Communion lineup December 4 at Public Assembly. Founded by Mumford and Sons’ Ben Lovett, former Cherbourg bassist Kevin Jones, and acclaimed producer Ian Grimble, the show originated in London as a platform for independent artists to perform. A huge invitation, Wayne reflected on what makes his show unique.
“People should expect to see a really energetic, moving performance. The idea is for the audience and the artist to be on one trip together. Usually when I’m playing, we’re all on a journey together,” he said. “Every time I get on the stage I give it everything I have.”
For more on Daniel Wayne, visit his website and catch him live this Thursday at Glasslands Gallery in Brooklyn.
289 Kent Avenue (b/w S. 1st and S. 2nd St.)
Annie Reuter is a freelance writer and the founder of YouSingIWrite.com.