The Boston-born Producer and Singer/Songwriter Dan Searl releases the soundtrack to our lives with his riff-driven acoustic Pop single, "Mistakes." Raised by two music-loving parents, Dan Searl began building his career after graduating from Berklee College of Music. Releasing his first EP that year, Dan Searl later went on to win the John Lennon Songwriting contest with his forthcoming single, "Hope," judged by Flea of RHCP, George Clinton, Jimmy Cliff, and Natasha Bedingfield.
Expanding on his most recent single, "Mistakes," Searl explained that the single speaks upon the opportunity we have to learn from our mistakes and the delicate tragedy of the wrongs we choose to make. With a driving beat and folk-oriented instrumentation, Dan Searl has our toes tapping with each stimulating and animated element.
As we take a listen to Dan Searl's "Mistakes," we're met with a sense of reflection through the warm acoustic guitar arrangement and Searl's charismatic vocal performance. Once the dynamic drum patterns make their way in, the entire track lifts into this exhilarating and soulful space that gets us grooving.
Diving deeper into Dan Searl's performance and artistic approach, we can hear similarities to that of Dallas Green as he serenades us with the natural warmth and sweetness of his broad vocal range. While singing a realistic and honest message of making our decisions wisely and choosing our own fate, Dan Searl's overall performance keeps us locked into the song's uplifting and dynamic atmosphere.
With a sweet, savory, and sound single like "Mistakes," Dan Searl is not only proving himself to live up to the expectations we have for him but stomping his way through the industry with powerhouse tunes that keep the listener on their toes.
We'd like to start by asking what inspired or pushed you to write a single that highlights learning from your "Mistakes" or sitting in the turmoil they cause?
The whole story behind "Mistakes" is a classic example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I originally wrote the song in 2015 and this older version of the track made it on to an EP I released in 2016 called, 'Love' is the cure for this disease”. At the time, I was writing a lot of songs. Five days a week I would write about two songs each day for over a year. From this process, I learned how much I had a tendency to write about love so I decided to start writing about different topics. I can have an improvisational approach to writing songs so the song pretty much just came off the top of my head. The lyrics are simple yet at the time was digging the guitar riff and chord progression. Particularly how the chorus starts on natural VI-7b5 in a non-jazz oriented manner. After I wrote the song, some months went by, and then that’s when l actually began to go through a tough phase that taught me a lot about myself. This song is talking about life mistakes that people have the opportunity to use for self-empowerment and redemption. Pretty heavy…I Know…but it’s true for a lot of people. For example, I have some friends who have turned their struggles into inspiration for helping others. So perhaps that’s really what the song is about: helping others with your story (Storytelling). And ya I love how you said “sitting in the turmoil”. I think that is necessary.
What was your songwriting process like for "Mistakes" when writing lyrics that encourage listeners to take their past in stride?
“Mistakes” is a riff-based type of song. I always wanted to write a song like “Neon” by John Mayer or “Only Love” by Ben Howard something that has a somewhat intricate guitar riff with a pop-sensibility and form. I had just traded a Fender Deluxe reverb for Taylor acoustic and an fx pedal from a fellow musician on craigslist. “Mistakes” was one of the first songs I wrote on that guitar. The process for this one was experimental in the sense that I had the main riff, some lyrics, and an outline of the melody but didn’t have it completely worked out when I went to track it into Ableton. I like to leave room for new things to happen when I am producing. So I laid down the guitar and started to program the drums and play P-bass on it. Then I grabbed a mandolin I have lying around and just played that simple pentatonic riff and it just worked so I never changed it. That’s a really important part of the song to me, you’ll see that especially when the music video comes out later this year! I love a good folk-oriented drop.
How did you achieve such soulful and gripping instrumentals for your single "Mistakes"? Did you work with any producers, musicians, or engineers?
Thank you! The arrangement and instrumentals are mostly all by me. I guess I’ve spent a lot of time with the metronome lol. I recorded all of the tracks beside the drums in my home studio. I did most of the tracking in 2015 at my home studio when I was living in an attic apartment in Newburyport, MA(A lot of history there). It was where the originally tea burning happened prior to the revolutionary war. This apartment was all old wood and had a cool sound. I ended up adding tracks to it some weeks ago in 2020 and had Tim Phillips remix and master it. Back in 2015, I worked with Tim Phillips of Phillips Sound to record the drums and I had Yogev Gabay play drums on the track. Yogev took the drum part I had written and brought the part to life. I met Yogev through a friend at Berklee. He’s truly an amazing and ultra-professional musician. Seriously check out his youtube channel! He came to the session with Finaled-out drum charts and nailed all of the songs in a few takes. He’s from Israel. Tim Phillips on the mixing and mastering end is so talented as well. He’s always been someone I can go to because he has a vast knowledge of microphones, equipment, and processing and can REALLY do drums. He had a lot of mics on that kit and recorded it at his studio in Newbury, MA. Now he lives in NYC, we text back and forth all the time talking about plug-ins and mixing techniques.
Could you tell us more about your upcoming album, 'Songbook?' How does your single "Mistakes" fit into the album's theme or concept?
Songbook is a project I have been working on for a while now. The concept of the album is basically a songbook of life. All the song titles are basically kind of like virtues or rather life lessons (for example Hope, Glory, Mistakes, Time, Faith) It’s also to be the cream of the crop of my songwriting for the past 2 years. Blood, sweat, and tears have gone into this project(and no not the band lol). So much has happened in music the past 4 years that the songs keep evolving because certain songs like “Glory” on the album I want to be cutting-edge. It will be released this year but I don’t have a release date yet because I will wait if I have to. It has to be perfect to my ears. I want it to be something I can be remembered by. Something my children can play for their kids. Something like a Disney movie in the sense that even if people can’t relate to the musical style and sound design they can at least relate to the lyrics and message. In the Christian faith, we learn that our talents are not for us but rather for our community. If you can imagine me holding a golden book that has my best songs in it, that’s what I am going for. I want “Songbook” to be something I could hand to God. It’s a Pop record or rather my personal spin on Pop Music with a strong Singer-Songwriter aspect.
What has been keeping you inspired to create music?
These days my inspiration has come primarily from God. I will mention I have been fortunate to have alot of work this year producing artists during the pandemic while so many worldwide are struggling in the current global climate. So to me, success is motivating. Becoming a winner in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for my song, “Hope”, all the success and clients I have been blessed with on my record Label, LHP (Lit Honey Productions) has been encouraging for me. 2019 was such a wonderful year for me. I was a winner in one of the biggest songwriting competitions in the world, I met the love of my life who is also an amazing artist, Viktoria Vera, and I got to play one of my biggest shows to date at an amazing venue in Los Angeles called Academy LA. However failure is inspiring too, and Gratitude keeps me inspired as well. Knowing all the sacrifices that my family has made to help me always pushes me to seize the day. Also other artists and songwriters(Past or present) like John Lennon or even someone new like Dermot Kennedy have been super inspiring as well. We have to honor the legacy that legends like John Lennon have left behind. I truly believe the world today would be a different place if he wasn't murdered. I wish I saw more high-level artists doing God's work and helping those on the fringes of society. The possibility is inspiring too. If you can dream it and put in the work it can happen. I truly believe that. I find excitement in the potential of each day and I am learning to find patience in the process. I'm a big believer in Carpe Diem which is another song I am working on for my upcoming album this year.