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A Star is Born: Trevor Daniel, The Brightest Breakout Act On The Block

Every few months, the music industry witnesses a bright new act – one that draws all eyes to them, holding the room’s attention, effortlessly. But, with fresh talent popping up across every corner of the globe, what’s the secret ingredient that makes some artists stand apart from the others? Is it their style? Their distinctive voice and tone? Or perhaps it’s the themes they choose to build their craft around? It’s tricky to try and narrow it down to just one aspect because some stars turn out to be multifaceted. Some stars make their way to the top in the blink of an eye. Some stars are destined for glory. And, one such sparkling figure is the young Trevor Daniel.

Trevor Daniel Finds His Footing

Now, being a newbie to the industry can be quite daunting but Trevor Daniel has managed to navigate the streams of fame quite well. Like many aspiring artists, Daniel first began making music within the confines of his bedroom, uploading fresh tracks to SoundCloud. Interestingly, while developing his style, Daniel often found himself see-saw-ing between his dreams of making it as a rapper and as a singer. In fact, in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, when asked whether he’d call himself a good rapper, the young star laughed and exclaimed, “No. Not until probably, I would say, 2015.” Citing The Weeknd, Dua Lipa, Kanye West, Kid Cudi and more as some of his biggest role models, Daniel often found himself imitating their styles.

Cut to 2017, the artist’s passion for music burst through his buttons. And soon Daniel decided to solely focus his energy on developing his musical journey. And exactly one year later, he made his descent with the debut EP, “Homesick”. After inking a deal with producer Taz Taylor’s Internet Money Records in conjunction with Alamo Records, his debut EP arrived. It nursed a good 6 tracks. And among these 6 tunes, a gem lay just waiting to be discovered. One that would skyrocket the young Daniel to fame. The song in question? ‘Falling’.

The Swarm of Success Following ‘Falling’

‘Falling’ served as the lead single to the star’s debut EP. The song was conceived in “a matter of hours” during Daniel’s first studio session with record producer, Taz Taylor. The tune also got treated to its very own music video which Daniel described as “more of a short film to me than just a music video, and I’m excited to share my visions with everyone.” But it wasn’t until 2019 when ‘Falling’ really started gaining momentum. 

So, what makes ‘Falling’ so much more than your average funky pop song? The song creates a layer of intrigue as it opens with a catchy guitar hook and Daniel’s warped vocals floating in the background. I would argue that it’s Daniel’s moody tone, reminiscent to that of the late Juice WRLD, that strikes a chord with listeners. With lyrics like, “Come closer, I’ll give you all my love/ If you treat me right, baby, I’ll give you everything” the songwriting treads familiar territory, proving to be sweet yet simplistic.

But string these lines together with an infectious melody and suddenly, Daniel’s got quite the exquisite dish. Further, it’s worth noting that ‘Falling’ sees the star under two lights: as a rapper and as a singer. Despite his brief tug of war between the two forms, he’s done a fine job in proving his ability to master both with ease. 

So, it was no surprise when ‘Falling’ soon went viral on platforms like Spotify and Tik Tok. In fact, the track also became Daniel’s first charting single on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, peaking at number 17 – which is impressive for a debut effort. And with this lucky tune catapulting Trevor Daniel to stardom, only good things lay ahead. 

Trevor Daniel Lands with ‘Nicotine’

March 26th, 2020, saw the birth of ‘Nicotine,’ Trevor Daniel’s debut studio album. Nursing a good 10 tracks, with this record, Daniel proved that he was so much more than a one-hit wonder. For starters, the young star began crafting the album in October of 2019, in a rented Airbnb. In an interview with Rolling Stone India, Daniel further broke down the theme running through this album, “There definitely is a common factor within all the songs in the sense that they all speak to the storyline of where my headspace was with someone at a certain time in my life… from the moments before we met, when we met, and through the end of our time together. I really wanted to bring everyone along that journey.”

There are many ingredients on this album that poke their head out, and demand attention. Perhaps the most prominent ones being the brilliant production elements observed on each track. Interestingly, with some tracks, the soundscape actually mirrors work by Post Malone – another star who’s mastered the art of rap and vocals. ‘Nicotine’ also gives us a solid taste of Daniel’s impressive vocal range as he juggles between dreamy falsettos and raw, melancholic verses. The young star’s vocals tell a thousand stories, all propelled forward by a swarm of emotions. This in fact, allows the listener to pick out every mood stitched to his songs, as Daniel’s vocals make him an open book. And sometimes, it’s this that allows an artists’ music to resonate with an audience. 

The Birth of ‘Past Life’

Now, ‘Nicotine’ certainly made heads turn and there was one particular song on the album that really aided with this. It was none other than, ‘Past Life’, crafted alongside Billie Eilish’s close collaborator and older brother, Finneas O’ Connell. The song can be defined by its strong songwriting and infectious melodies. Trevor Daniel himself cited this number as one of his favourite tracks on the album. “ ‘Past Life’, I feel, will always be a standout for me because I was able to be in the studio with Finneas (O’Connell, co-writer and co-producer) and I learned a lot from him when working on that record,” he shared. 

Daniel went on to address the topic of mental health, observed not only in ‘Past Life,’ but also in some of the other tracks sitting on this album. “This subject is very important to me. Overcoming toxic things and taking care of your mental health is crucial. And I feel blessed for having a platform to voice that,” he articulated. 

Daniel Notches A Starry Collaboration

In late June, Daniel had the opportunity to bask under the spotlight for even longer when he scored his first big collaboration with Selena Gomez. The former Disney star hopped aboard the remixed version of ‘Past Life’. And this catapulted the song to the top of charts world over. In fact, the official music video for the track stands at a whopping 25 million views on YouTube.

Speaking of his experience working with Selena Gomez on this record, Daniel confessed, “The experience was amazing, collaborating with her was a dream come true. I remember telling Finneas when working on the song that she would be perfect on it.”

Gomez herself went on to heap praises on Trevor Daniel, lauding him for structuring such a poignant, important theme for this track. “When I heard the song the first time, I loved the fact that it was kind of like a story about all the things that we tend to hold onto and the patterns that we have,” Gomez explained, “And I’m very, very vocal about my personal experiences making decisions that aren’t necessarily healthy for me.”

It’s safe to predict that a whole lot more fame and stardom will continue, hot on Daniel’s tail. And perhaps the young star does indeed check all the boxes: a moody, distinct tone, themes that resonate with the youth and the ability to combine his love for both rap and vocals into one unique cocktail. Trevor Daniel is currently taking a break from social media as he’s working on his next album and something tells us that this one’s going to make quite a prominent dent on the music landscape upon landing. 

By: Nina Karun

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