Lewis Daniel

Award: MOBO Help Musicians Fund

Year: 2020

Genre: Jazz

Instrument/voice type: Saxophone

Location: London

Website: instagram.com/lewisjdan

Lewis Daniel is a Saxophonist/Singer & Composer from South London. Lewis has worked creatively over the last few years as an arranger/session musician for many artists including The House Gospel Choir, Boadi, The Last Dinosaur, Rachel Kerr and Tom Grennan. His career has seen him perform at venues including the Westhoults Stage at Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds Festivals, Ronnie Scott’s, opening for Take 6, and The 02 Arena.

Having studied at The BRIT School, The Guildhall School of Music and Drama and with The Tomorrows Warriors program Lewis draws on a plethora of influences to create his own unique sound.

Now Lewis is ready to take the next chapter and is working on his first solo record entitled ‘States Of Being’. A UK Jazz record blending elements of urban, dance, video games nostalgia and alternative influences. This work received its first, sell-out, live performance at The Matchstick Piehouse in February 2020 and is planned for release in early 2021.

The MOBO Help Musicians Fund is going to be a huge asset to enabling me to complete my debut E.P. Without this support, I was endeavouring to fund it all myself, during a pandemic where the arts are being further squeezed. With this fund I will be able to fully mix and master the record and I will also be in a position to afford the right PR backing so that the record can reach a broad and far reaching audience and garner the right support from influential listeners. The fund will also enable me to complete the planned media campaign which includes art work, social media and video content; which will help promote the record and raise my profile as a solo musician.

Although I’ve been working within the music industry as a session musician and arranger for many years this debut record is very much about introducing me as a solo artist; The MOBO Help Musicians Fund will further permit me the greatest opportunity to introduce the world to my music and myself as an artist.

‘States of Being’ is a concept E.P. where each track embodies an emotion, feeling or human state of being. This is a UK Jazz record which blends elements of dance music, neo soul, hip hop, video games music and alternative music. Lewis uses his talents as a saxophonist, vocalist and composer to guide the listener through this conceptual record and emotional progression.

“A lot of the influences for this record came from people I have been working with from all different genres. I learnt a lot writing for other people and now these influences live inside of me from the spiritual dance floor sounds of The House Gospel Choir to the alt rock production techniques of The Last Dinosaur”.

This record explores mental health issues, toxic masculinity, anger, grief and explores the conversation around resilience. We can always change the narrative of our circumstances or emotions, ‘flip the script’ and use them to our advantage.

‘States Of Being’ is also a deeply personal record which tells the stories of the trials and tribulations that Lewis has faced during his 20s and how he has taken strength from the challenges and the lessons learnt - to enable him to produce this body of work. Before Lockdown Lewis, and his band, sold out a live performance of the record in a South London venue.

“I wanted to write a record which had personal meaning to me. I did this by using specific musical elements which form part of my musical and cultural DNA and evocative samples to tell the narrative from my own personal and poignant perspective. However, I also wanted listeners to be able to retro-fit their own story and experiences into the music and have a visceral emotional response to the record”.

Lewis has recorded with a large band featuring steel pans, a string section and a horn section.

“It has been such a pleasure to be able to record with such a large band and such a high calibre of musician all adding their unique responses to the music”.

The record also features singer songwriter Kersha Bailey; trumpeter and founder of Kokoroko Sheila Maurice and rap duo Makola as well as contributions from Shezar and AVP International.