In the spotlight – Daniel Scarsella

In the spotlight – Daniel Scarsella

Daniel Scarsella was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario (Canada) and is part of a growing band of modern DIY musicians. He is a husband, father, guitar teacher and lifelong student of all things music.

“Peterborough is a mid-sized town North- East of Toronto, Canada and very much cottage country. Growing up near water meant fishing, catching crawfish and swimming regularly. You learn to respect nature and animals at a young age. It was a pretty safe community and I could experience things freely as a child.”

Daniel writes and produces at his home studio and maintains that he is most fulfilled when he is playing all the instruments and recording everything himself. Daniel describes his music as pop/rock, however, his tracks are quite varied and have been grouped with folk and acoustic styles.

Daniel’s ‘The Penman’ charted last year. Right now he’s in our chart with ‘Love you Anyway’. He also released a new single today. But before we talk about the new single, let’s start at the beginning.

When did you start making music?

“I wrote a tune when I was around 20 for a girl (shocking). Just acoustic guitar and vocals. I started taking an interest in production about 15 years ago. I quickly took a liking to layering piano, guitar, vocals and more. I have some awful recordings collecting dust on a hard drive. I did eventually re-work a few of those raw demos and release them. ‘The Penman’ being one. I started having music available for streaming, etc. in 2016.”

You mentioned that you’re most fulfilled when you are playing all the instruments yourself. What instruments can you play?

“I am most comfortable on the guitar, but I play bass and keys well enough to produce tunes. If I have a song that needs drums, I program the parts or bash them out on a keyboard.”

What made you want to become a musician?

“The Beatles.”

You are also guitar teacher. Did you have music lessons growing up? What lessons did you learn that you still use today?

“I took 4 or 5 lessons when I was a teenager, but I’m more self-taught. It is easy to catch great tips on line now with so many amazing teachers offering advice on YouTube. I’m a lifelong student so I take advantage of this. Teaching music certainly helps you grow as a musician. I didn’t consider theory until I started teaching about 7 years back.”

“The guitarists I look to for inspiration or tips include John Mayor, George Harrison and Paul McCartney for his acoustic stuff.”

From guitarists to guitars, do you have a favourite guitar?

“No particular favourite, but I seem to enjoy playing other people’s guitars. They always seem to sound better. I have a Fender Strat that is a total workhorse. I enjoy it and it’s been on plenty of my recordings.”

Which skills have you gained that helped you perform effectively as a musician?

“Well, I record and mix my stuff like many independant musicians. I do okay, but there is always things to learn and try out in the production/mixing realm. It’s like playing guitar or keys. There are endless possibilities in the DAW world. I enjoy that part of it though.”

What is it about music that makes you feel passionate?

“I love the way music brings out emotions in people. Sometimes you hear a tune and it just grabs you. Any genre, doesn’t matter. Happy, sad and everything in between. It’s all there. It’s hard to picture a world without music.”

What interests or hobbies do you have outside of music?

“Fitness, nature, home improvement and food.”

What are your fondest musical memories?

“I was quite excited in 2017 when one of my songs ‘Things We Hang on To’ landed on Spotify’s Discover Weekly – one of Spotify’s very nice algorithmic playlists. It accumulated about 68K streams from that placement and is still my most streamed song to date.”

You released a new song ‘There for me’ today. What was the inspiration for this song?

“I was thinking ‘old friendships’ when I was noodling around with it but it’s pretty abstract. It’s interesting how one can see things in a new light after say… 10 or 15 years have passed. That was the thought behind it. It’s a simple ditty and it came together fairly quickly.”

Can you describe your creative process?

“I often just sit at the keys or pick up the guitar. Then, I grab a chord and start humming something. Once in a while, I think ‘that could be something’. Sometimes I start with a drum beat and play guitar or keys to that. Lots of ideas become nothing but I guess that’s part of the process. Lyrics tend to come a little later on for me.”

What are you excited about for 2022?

“I’m excited to reach new listeners (hopefully). I use Cubase for recording and they have a new version coming out this year. I am always interested in seeing what creative tools it brings.”

What’s your most anticipated new release for 2022?

“Jeff Lynne mentioned on Twitter that he was working on new songs. I very much enjoy his productions and style.”

What are you most proud of?

“My son.”

What’s your favourite song from the Cool 20?

“There’s lot of nice ones. I like ‘Devil With No Name‘ by Abi Nav.”

What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?

“Lucy, Raquel and Me have lots of good music. ‘Weeping Willows’ is one of many lovely arrangements. They also support other indie artists.”

twitter – @scarsellamusic1

instagram – @danielscarsella