Meet the Rising Indie-Folk Artist: Daniel James McFadyen

Born in the hustle and bustle of Canada’s busiest suburbs, rising indie-folk artist Daniel James McFadyen prefers the simplicity of Canada’s quieter eastern coast. Whether Daniel is touring solo or with his band his interactive shows have sold out across Canada, filling large venues including Toronto’s iconic Great Hall and the Marquee Ballroom in Halifax. Amidst a year of remarkable growth, McFadyen released his award nominated EP, Songs to Show Your Friends in late 2023. A musical departure from his previous “Stomp and Holler” folk music, the 5-track offering introduces intricate melodies and compelling instrumentation — a result of his creative partnership with Montreal-based producer Quinn Bachand. With a renewed approach guiding his sound, McFadyen explores topics of love, loss, adventure, and feelings of home, all of which have defined his presence in the Canadian folk and indie scenes.

McFadyen rose to stardom in the Canadian music scene with the release of his debut album “August, I’m Yours” in 2021. Nominated for prestigious awards like ECMAs and Nova Scotia Music Awards, including Folk Recording of the Year and Entertainer of the Year, McFadyen is a talented musician making a big impact. When not on tour or creating music, he enjoys the peaceful life in the Annapolis Valley.

We had the opportunity to chat with McFadyen. Join us as we dive into his creative process, influences, and more!

daniel james mcfadyen headshot
Singer-songwriter, Daniel James McFadyen

What artists, movies, books, anything; inspires the band and members to make music?

I find the most inspiration to write music is when I am procrastinating something else I have to do or I am just really bored. It’s hard for me to make time to song-write and just hope that inspiration strikes in that moment. If I am looking for inspiration I will try to listen to something new that I have not heard before. Watching a movie with a really good soundtrack also works sometimes.

Your favourite bands, artists, or musicians?

Right now I have been listening to a lot of Courtney Barnett, I love the ease of her voice and the honest lyrics she sings. Other favourites include: Gregory Alan Isakov, Susto, Kieran Campbell, The Wiggles.

For those who don’t know your band, how would you describe your music?

I am like The Lumineers if they lived on the East Coast of Canada, and if they never got famous.

How has your musical taste changed from when you first started playing to your latest release?

I like to think that the songwriting and production has become a lot more polished, but I think there’s something charming about the old recordings, like a really out of tune piano, or my friend Taylor laughing in the background.

What is your creative process for new songs?

These days I have to turn off my phone and pretty much lock myself in my room. Recently I travelled to Cape Breton to my friend’s cabin for a week. That still was not quite enough isolation.

What is your favourite venue to perform at and what is your most memorable moment during a show?

I love the Marquee in Halifax. It’s loud and feels kinda dirty and I think that’s fun. The Great Hall in Toronto is the opposite but may be my new favourite. Honourable mention: Ironwood in Calgary.

What other band, artist, or group would you love to collaborate with?

Joel Plaskett or Rihanna.

Are you familiar with other bands in the area? If so, which are your favourites?

Yes 100%, Nova Scotia bands are the best. Rankin Macinnis and the Broken Reeds, Sleepy Kicks, Steel Cut Oats, Alex Coley & Afterlove, Callum Gaudet, Atay & Jax, Braden Lam, Izra Fitch ….lots more I probably forgot.

What is your favourite song you have made and why?

I would have to say “Find My Way to You” I wrote with my good friend Darragh Jessome. It brings me back to camping and simpler times.

Where can people find your music and do you have any shows or new releases coming up?

You can find my music anywhere you would expect to find my music AND I have a new song coming out in March. If you love relaxing in a hammock and drinking warm beer from an overpriced cooler you will love it. 

Thank you Daniel for taking the time out of your day to answer our questions. We wish you the best on your musical journey and hope your dreams of collaborating with Joel Plaskett see the light of day!

Check out McFadyen’s Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date with him and be the first to hear his new releases! McFadyen’s music can also be found on his website, YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music.

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