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Making music: An interview with Dan Owen

Beth Colquhoun interviews rising star Dan Owen about his new albums, inspiration, and the creative process

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Dan Owen is a folk singer-songwriter whose career has been helped by BBC Music Introducing, after his song 'Hideaway' was featured on their playlist.

Nouse: How has the tour gone so far?

DO: It's been really cool so far! Venues have been real full and the crowds have been singing along. Can't ask for much more than that!

It's all been quite strange so far. The usual touring way is to have a van and drive to and from hotels, but we've hired a big motorhome and are taking it all around Europe, it's been a learning curve so far and we've had to do jobs I'm not sure many other musicians would be too happy to do.

Nouse: For part of your tour you had a full band. How does performing solo compare to being accompanied on stage?




DO: I really wanted to bring a full band on the whole tour with me but it didn't work out in the end. The few band shows we have done have been great, though. It adds a lot more power and drama to some of the songs, and the set as a whole can be more dynamic.

Nouse: Is it more enjoyable to share the stage?

DO: I would say it depends on the song. It can be nice to have someone on stage because we can get a really good vibe going, but then I do like to be on stage alone sometimes because I am then totally free to change things on the fly without tripping anybody up!

Nouse: Are your songs written by you alone or do you have help with lyrics and music?

DO: The set is a mix of my solo songs and co-writ- ten songs. Writing with other people is really important as it gets you out of ruts and takes you out of your comfort zone.

Nouse: Your instagram shows that you've partied with Willie Nelson and love country music. Was this a big inspiration for your style?




DO: Yeah, that was my first ever trip abroad! I had to get my first passport at the last minute so I could go! He was playing in a small room at Jack White's Third Man Records. It was a pretty surreal first ever trip out of England - he started jamming with Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow and Neil Young.

Nouse: Your latest album is called Stay Awake With Me, can you tell us what inspired the choice of title?

DO: We lost my grandad at the end of last year. It was a really tough thing to have to go through so writing 'Stay Awake With Me' about his life with my Nan really did help me through it. Really proud that it's now the title of the album.

Nouse: Your new single 'Icarus' follows the mythological story of Icarus who flies to close to the sun, melting his wings. Are you anxious about at mirroring this story, regarding your growing success with BBC Introducing and the Radio 1 Track of the Week?

DO: Ha, well I hope not! That song is really using the mythology as a metaphor for recreational drug use. I've known a few people who might have flown 'slightly too close to the sun' at times in that regard.

However, on the BBC... Introducing in Shropshire have been incredibly supportive. They even had me in to talk through and play



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