DJ Jay Daniel at Movement Festival
By Steve Furay
Special to the Michigan Citizen
Detroit is well known for producing some of the best electronic music artists in the world. Its tradition continues with up-and-coming artist Jay Daniel. At age 23, Daniel has been a DJ and producing music for the past four years, quickly gaining notoriety and respect among his peers. On May 24, he will be featured at 1515 Broadway as a part of an after-party for the Movement Electronic Music Festival.
Daniel was exposed to electronic music at an early age through his mother, Naomi Daniel, a house music singer who recorded the song “Stars” with Detroit techno/house legend Carl Craig.
“That record was my introduction to electronic music, it really set the foundation,” says Daniel. “My mom had an eclectic ear.”
Now, he has released his second solo EP, “Karmatic Equations,” on Kyle Hall’s Wild Oats record label and is preparing to go on his second tour overseas — visiting London, Copenhagen and Munich before playing four cities in Australia. In the past, Daniel has been able to play in Tokyo, Japan at Club Module, experiencing the love Japan has for Detroit music. Still, he most values his performances at home in Detroit.
“I like playing at home,” he says. “Sometimes it feels like going over there, they don’t always understand the music, so it’s out of context for them. Playing in Detroit, it’s a different vibe, playing around people you’re family with, you’re friends with.”
Jay Daniel experienced his first breakthrough in 2012, playing the main Detroit stage at Movement in front of thousands. “That was the breakthrough point, I had never played in front of that many people. I was super nervous,” he says. “Once you do that, you’ve pretty much conquered it all.”
As a young artist on the rise, Daniel says he has moved beyond the possible intimidation of following in the footsteps of so many great Detroit electronic music artists.
“At first, I felt like it was a bit daunting, being in the same lineage as all these other people,” he says. “It’s inspiring, you travel all around the world, there’s so many opportunities to express yourself.
“At first I was thinking about all the older techno and wanting to continue that, but now that I’m in it, I’m trying to make my own lane. I don’t want to sound like Juan Atkins or Derrick May or any of them dudes; I want to have a different sound. That’s what I’m going through, my artistic journey, trying to find my sound.”