Vancouver singer/songwriter Daniel Moir performs at the Velvet Olive this week on the heels of his latest CD’s release.
Disc number three, Monday Morning, was launched Oct. 1 and Moir heads to Red Deer Oct. 5. Originally from Edmonton, Moir now calls Vancouver home. A love for music came about at an early age.
“My parents put me in piano lessons when I was about four years old, which I was involved in consistently up to high school,” he says. Along the way, a curiosity about lots of other instruments surfaced as well. He took up the drums, saxophone, guitar, mandolin, banjo and bass. “And as many stringed instruments as I could pick up.”
Singing and a knack for songwriting also became evident as his musical gifting continued to flourish. “We had a band in high school and I started doing back up vocals. I got really interested, so I’d record bits of myself singing, listen to it and then try something different. It was basically trial and error, but I really got into developing my voice just like any other instrument.”
Over these early years, he was also passionate about the visual arts. But that gradually gave way to a passion for music. “I found it started taking over. And I also found myself painting portraits of musicians all the time,” he chuckles. “Music then totally took over, and I just wanted to play guitar all day.”
He recalls sitting in a community hall with a band he was playing with at the time and knowing – at a particular moment – that this is what he wanted to do with his life. At just 23 years of age, it’s hard to believe that Moir has already created three full albums worth of material.
His last CD, Road, was compared to Eddie Vedder, Rufus Wainwright and even The Beatles with Discorder Magazine calling it an “Alternative folk trip that takes the listener on a quasi-cinematic journey through the great Canadian landscape.”
Road was produced by Juno-winning producer Russell Broom (Jann Arden, Sam Roberts) and co-engineered by David Kean (Bjork, Audities Foundation).
With Monday Morning, Moir decided to take on a more singular vision. Not only did he do all of the writing and arranging but he also took on the producing, mixing and engineering duties. On top of that, he performed most of the music and instrumentation that is heard on the record. Why take so much on himself?
“I’ve always wanted to be a producer,” he explains. “It was just a matter of investing the time and money to really learn how to do it. I feel more comfortable having creative control over the recording process.” There is no doubt that listeners are hearing Moir at his best and most authentic – the tunes flow along in an accessible, breezy manner – framed in simple, attractive arrangements perfect for the image-laden style that resonates through his songwriting.
“I had kind of convinced myself that I couldn’t do it,” he says of his earlier projects and the producing responsibilities. “But there was a point when I thought there is no reason why I can’t do this. I was getting an education by working with these great producers in the past and I had always wanted to do it.
“I figured that if I could take the reins myself it would be much more efficient, and that I would enjoy the process more as well.”
Moir has often been called a Canadian troubadour as he draws much of his inspiration from the Canadian landscape and has toured in both Canada and the United States. When he writes music, he says it’s almost always the melodies that come first.
“Once in a while you get an idea for a lyric, or rarely the music and lyrics will come at the same time. But I find I’m constantly writing songs in my head, humming a melody all day.”
He’s played at numerous festivals, toured as an opener with artists like Kevin Kane and also opened for artists like Kathleen Edwards and Willis Earl Beal.
His songs have also seen chart positions at college radio and placements on TV, with his song Change the World (from his debut CD Country & The Sea) appearing in the season finale of the hit NBC TV series Mercy.
“It’s such a passion. There is no feeling like hearing a song in your head and hear it come together in the recording process. If you even have one person who is as excited about it as you are there’s nothing more satisfying that.”