With the ever-changing trends in music, sometimes the purest form of the medium is simply a guy with a guitar. But how does such a guy emerge from the pack and attract attention? After all, artists like Ed Sheeran have proved that recently you can succeed, and emphatically so, by writing nice songs on an acoustic guitar. The man is now widely known and the temptation of copying his formula is great, but you would imagine most people would be wise to this and be put off as a result.
For artists like Mitchel Dae, emerging from the pack has been a mere formality. With an active YouTube account featuring original material, comedy skits, and covers, Dae has patiently crafted a fun-loving, down to earth persona which shines through in his music.
2018 has definitely been the icing on Dae’s cake. With magazine features, shows, and EP releases, Dae now has something to show for his efforts and a decent foundation with which to build on. I sat down with Mitchel to discuss the success of this year and his career in music thus far.
B.GM – Hi Mitchel! With the release of your debut EP and the feature in Tremblay magazine, 2018 has been one hell of a year for you. Is this what you anticipated when you first started making music?
Mitchel Dae – I definitely had no idea what to expect when I started making music. Of course everybody has a vision of what they would like their musical journey to look like when they begin, but I never could actually imagine anybody (but my close friends and family) caring about the music I made!
What made you decide to focus on music once you graduated?
When I was in school, I never really resonated with the same motivations that my peers shared. Everybody around me always displayed such a strong sense of urgency for things that seemed very insignificant to me.
‘Everybody seemed so concerned with setting up their lives in a way that would ensure security, or make their parents happy.’
This never made much sense to me. I wanted to chase something that was worth risking everything for; including my reputation. I figured if I had a Plan B, then Plan A would most likely not work out!
Moving back on to your EP Bare, the whole thing sounds so clean and well produced. Is it entirely self-produced or was there a little help along the way?
I produced and demoed most of the EP myself in my little bedroom studio and then re recorded everything with my good buddy Dan Knittle at Anthemic Recording Studios!
I absolutely love your latest track “Wayside”! Was the change in sound from your previews work intentional or did it just happen naturally?
The change in sound was intentional! I have A LOT of music that I have not released that sounds completely unlike what people may expect from me. I feel like “Wayside” was a huge step in the right direction for me un-apologetically taking a stance on the type of music I want to make! That isn’t to say that everything I put out before “Wayside” was not authentically me, I just think I really found a special side of my voice in this song. I didn’t write this song with anyone in mind except for myself.
I’ve noticed you use a picture of a hand a lot in your artwork. Is there any symbolism in this?
Yes! When I was deciding what I wanted my visual to be, I wanted something that captured what it means to build something, what it means to connect something, and what it means to sustain something. I went with the hand because I feel like it has the ability to do those three things really well! Above all of that, its representative of God’s work and involvement in my life! I think of it like a “stamp” declaring that something really cool and significant happened here!
How was your recent Rhode Island show?
It was a blast! I loved every minute of that show. Everybody really brought the energy and was super engaged which is always so fun!
How has it been trying to establish yourself as a singer-songwriter in Rhode Island? Is it generally a welcoming community or do you feel you’ve had to really push yourself?
It’s been so great! People have been nothing but supportive and helpful! I think it’s a great city to test the waters!
Are there any crazy covers that you like to bust out at a live show?
I have a couple. I absolutely love doing “Riptide” by Vance Joy and “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons! Anybody who has seen me play more than a couple of times is probably super sick of hearing me sing those songs! Especially my friends!
Your ‘Cash Me Outside’ video on your YouTube channel is one of the funniest things I’ve seen. How did that even happen?
Oh boy! I’m glad you liked that (I’m blushing as I write this)! My cousin (and first producer) Melvin Darrell and I were super bored one day and thought it would be funny to do our own spin of the Cash Me Outside challenge. We went to this basketball court near us, danced very poorly, got stuffed by a 12-year old, and the rest is history! Very little planning or thought went into that video! I think people can tell that within the first 20 seconds of the video!
What are your plans for the rest of 2018 – Play a few more shows or work on new material?
For the rest of 2018, I’m going to be writing and releasing some new material as well as playing shows! I’m currently working on trying to get a small tour going, so stay tuned for that!
What advice would you give like-minded songwriters trying to get noticed?
As cheesy as it sound, BE YOURSELF! Everybody has someone that influences them and that’s totally fine, but the world doesn’t need another rip-off version of one of those artists… They need to hear what’s going on within YOU! (motivational rant over)
What are some of your favourite musicians at the moment?
Hobo Johnson (he’s so weird, and so unapologetic about it…. I LOVE IT)
Lewis Capaldi (that dude has got some soul, and the voice of an angel!)
Dermot Kennedy (I would love to sit down and drink tea with this dude and just pick his brain about songwriting!)
Billie Eilish (Another artist who is just so good at being unapologetic and authentically herself! I think her music is soooo dope!)
Mitchel Dae Links:
Freelance writer still stuck in the 90’s.
Favourite albums; Young Americans, Hours, Out From The Vein, In Utero.