Danielle Spencer - “Calling All Magicians”
Song writing is at the core of Danielle Spencer’s new album “Calling All Magicians”. Thirteen stories of observations and experiences, precariously balanced between dark and light. Although there have been a number of facets to her career and profile, Danielle Spencer’s musical career was undeniably destined from an early age. The daughter of Don Spencer – a respected musician and renowned TV presenter in Britain and Australia – Danielle first started to sing and learn the piano from her father at the age of four years old. This natural talent was parlayed into other creative endeavours such as dancing and acting in her teenage years, as she moved into stage shows and acting gigs.
“The turning point for me was when after a few years of acting in TV and film, I really began to miss singing. I was working in a few cover-bands with my brother, and then I was approached about being managed as an artist. We started to look for songs with publishers, but ultimately this lead me to the point that I started writing my own material and finding my own voice.”
Danielle’s debut album “White Monkey” was released through EMI Australia in 2001 to critical approval and radio support. The Australian singer/songwriter then chose to take a break from her burgeoning and creative musical endeavours to undertake the challenging dynamics of her new role as a wife and a mother. The whirlwind of marriage and motherhood may have carried her in a different direction than originally planned, but Danielle now feels it’s time to re-engage with her craft, newly inspired.
Danielle began writing songs on her piano at home in her bedroom; detaching herself from the world outside, she wrote the songs that would ultimately feature on her second album “Calling All Magicians”. “It came in stages, in the sense that I was carving out little bits of time to write and record, and I then sort of felt like I’d got my musical-flow back. By the time I finished the music and the lyrics for all the songs, I realised that I’d got a bunch of songs together that I finally felt sounded like an album.”
“I knew that I wanted to make this album sound different to my last album which was quite electronic, and used a fair bit of programming. This time around I wanted it to be more of band sound and a friend suggested approaching Tony Visconti to produce it [best known for his groundbreaking work with David Bowie in the 70’s].
I’m a huge fan of his work and the way he arranges in a raw, real soundscape. I sent him 4 songs initially in demo form with just vocals and piano and was thrilled when he agreed to come on board to produce the album. For someone with such an amazing background, I couldn’t believe how much commitment and focus he brought to my project.”
Tony Visconti heard of Danielle through a mutual friend. “His description of her was really great. Danielle was described to me as a cross between Kate Bush and David Bowie. She’s not really, Danielle’s all her own person. She sounds like herself, like nobody else I’ve ever worked with. She’s got this beautiful pure voice and I knew I was dealing with someone who was a great writer. The voice captured me, she draws you in, it’s magical”.
Danielle was introduced to the UK record label Absolute whilst on an extended stay in the UK. The independent nature of the deal that Absolute offered enabled Danielle to stay true to her artistic ambitions and this encouraged her decision to launch the album in the UK.
“Calling All Magicians” is a wonderfully inspired and evocative collection of songs. “I love music that takes you away from the day to day experience into a different realm. I’ve always been a great lover of atmospheric film scores, so that’s definitely something I try to inject into my music.”
It seems fitting that the artwork for the project has a magical and almost-haunting style. “I like darker undertones because that’s what I feel captures my imagination,” says Danielle, herself an avid-reader. “I came across a children’s book which was like a dark fairytale, and I collaborated with Australian illustrator Steve Hunt on visual ideas for the album artwork to help create an aura about the work.
Intriguingly – and subtly – the songs on this new album are shrouded in a magical mystery. Whilst the sonic atmosphere of the bottom layer may seem dark and intoxicatingly haunting, the overlaying pop element of the lyrics and melodies grabs audiences by the hand and leads them to another place without ever truly revealing its allegiances. “My writing is a combination of observation, imagination and personal experience. I wouldn’t call it a diary – it’s more abstract than that”.
‘Calling All Magicians’ is an album rooted in the intensely creative energies and expressions of singer/songwriter/musician Danielle Spencer.
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