It might have been a dull April mundane morning had it not been for the beaming smile that greeted me as our Skype cameras flickered into focus. Sat before me bright-eyed, poised and ready for my barrage of questions was Singer, Song-writer, Model, Dancer, X Factor Finalist and Youtube sensation Daniel De Bourg – wait, is there anything this guy hasn’t done?
Since his departure from the X Factor a few years ago, you’d have expected Daniel’s starlight to wane and for him to eventually fade away as most other contestants do – but not this cheeky chappy. Instead he took to Youtube to showcase his talent, through a multitude of covers songs, receiving recognition from fellow artists and love from an army of fans, so much so that he’s racked up an impressive 20 million Youtube hits and counting all without advertising, promotion or funding!
MV: 20 million hits Daniel, how does that make you feel?
DDB: Ah man, I have some of the greatest fans in the world! I actually hate using the word ‘fans’ cause they’re more like extended family to me, I feel that close to them. They’ve always been there supporting me, giving feedback on whatever I do, making suggestions on what they’d like to hear me cover. My supporters have molded everything that’s happened on Youtube and I love them for it.
MV: And how would you describe your supporters in 3 words?
DDB: Oooo (scratches his stubble thinking) Oooo I have to get this right, I’d definitely say Honest, Incredible and very Soulful, can I add Phenomenal? (erm, no you can’t I said 3) oh OK but they are – I did a Kickstarter campaign last year to raise funds for the ‘She Know How’ video and they funded that, so I’d have to say phenomenal too.
MV: So how would you describe yourself to Musicvein readers?
DDB: Honest again, Passionate and Foolish, no Gullible (Mr De Bourg! you can’t change it! – he lets out a huge laugh) well, foolish and gullible are the same things, definitely foolish then (he winks)
MV: I appreciate that your army of supporters may already know all of this but to new supporters, let’s take it back and tell me about the artists that have inspired you?
DDB: Prince (he quickly pipes up) in actual fact I’ve been singing a Prince song this morning, it was quite a naughty one but I love it – Do you know the song ‘Darling Nikki’? (he slowly nods with a knowing smile and glint in his eye that says, you know what I’m talking about, THAT song!) Prince for me was something fresh and different to what was going on out there. He was doing all kinds of funky beats long before everyone else. Timberland took a whole bunch of Prince’s beats and sampled them, even Justin Timberlake went there, Prince is just such an incredible musician. Then there’s MJ who was the King, there never was and probably never will be anyone ever like him again – he could have been an alien, he was just that amazing! Stevie Wonder is another artist whom I’ve been inspired by, he has one of the greatest voices ever, D’Angelo too and from the female side (he leans back and lets out a long yeaaaaahhhh) it has to be Aaliyah. Oh man Aaliyah, she was just so laid back and probably one of the coolest persons ever to live. Her music was laid back like herself, she just didn’t need to try hard. You know me and my mate always have a debate over who’s greater at singing and dancing, J-Lo or Aaliyah? I’m like ‘Man get outta here, it’s Aaliyah hands down’.
MV: Yeah boy – high 5 there! Aaliyah was great. So how do you think those artists have influenced your style?
DDB: Prince definitely gave me the funk, Michael taught me how to sing, Stevie gave me Soul and Aaliyah taught me how to be cool.
MV: Nicely done. Tell me what’s your favorite song of all time?
DDB: No way, that’s an impossible question to answer I love so many! I think I’m going to have to say D’Angelo’s song ‘Untitled – How Does It Feel’. I can play that song anytime, anywhere and just think ‘Wow’ what an incredibly beautiful piece of music. Raphael Saadiq was one of the producers, you had Questlove on drums, Pino Palladino on Bass, D’Angelo of cause on vocals! You just had some of the best musicianship in the world at that time on that track and it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. My supporters asked me to cover that song and I swear I’ve never been so terrified in my life, I was like ‘Please God Don’t let me mess this up!’ it went down OK – but no where as good as D’Angelo’s version.
MV: Over 148,000 views, I’d say the DDB Army love it. Now a lot of people remember you from X-Factor, what drove you to audition and would you do it all over again?
DDB: Do you know what? It all came about by a bit of a mistake. I never meant to go for X Factor. I was living near Arsenal at the time (raises his arms in the air, showing off his team shirt and chanting ‘Arsenal‘ at which I have to make the sign of the cross to rebuff those demons) I was living near the emirates and had been out on the tiles the night before. There was a burger stand and a massive queue of people waiting for something. I got a burger and went to be nosey. People were excitedly waiting to audition so I thought ‘what the hell’ and queued up with them! At this point (he cringes) I hadn’t slept, hadn’t changed my clothes – I don’t know what I was thinking! Anyway after blagging my way in, the rest is history. Would I do it all again? Yeah, I have no regrets in my life and that’s an important thing that I live by. Doing it again there are some things that I would change, in that I’d enjoy the experience more and not fight so much against the judges about what they wanted me to do – what can I say, I know my own mind and can’t be a puppet. Simon Cowell is a great guy, he knows what he’s doing and I have the utmost respect for him but ultimately he’s the puppeteer, he pulls the strings – if you read his book, he actually put my quote in there hahaha.
MV: What do you think the future holds for programmes like the X-Factor and Voice?
DDB: Hmm I’m not sure what will happen. I feel that they’re getting a bit tired in format. The thing about these shows is that they’re just a way for the music industry to make quick money. There’s always someone who will buy into the show and the contestant, so maybe they’ll be around for a little while longer. Muso’s like myself don’t watch them, well I say that but I did support Lee Glasson who was on The Voice, he did really well.
MV: Do you think it’s harder for mature people to make it in the music business?
DDB: Mature people? hmmm, you know what, I don’t think so. In the past there was a pre-conception that you had to be captured as a teenager to get popping but with thanks to Youtube and other platforms for showcasing talent you can get yourself heard and noticed. People want something to get their teeth into, something that moves them and it doesn’t matter what age you are, colour etc. I mean look at Ed Sheeran, he’s no average poster boy, he completely bucks a trend but he is a great, great song writer, beautiful vocalist and everyone loves him. Listen if you feel it in your soul, just go for it and you will succeed.
MV: So what’s next for you Daniel? Do I get an exclusive?
DDB: Hahahaha I don’t want to say too much cause I want it to be a surprise (oh seriously man, come on, I try fluttering my eyelashes but I’m sure the screen just pixelated, he laughs at the attempt anyway) well there’s a new line of merchandise coming very very soon. I’ll be touring the USA, Europe and UK AND…I’m going to release 3 EP’s this year, each with 4 or 5 songs on them, there you go a Musicvein EXCLUSIVE hahahaha. I’ll also be keeping the Youtube supporters sweet with more videos!
Tomorrow the Daniel De Bourg interview concludes with him talking about how he finds inspiration for his songs and his fantastic debut album London Bread, stay tuned!