Interview: Amy Bell
After growing up in a small village in the south of England, Dan Aura soon escaped to the musically populous town of Brighton at the age of 16. After 4 years of experimenting with his sound, the 20-year-old burst onto the music scene during the early months of 2020. With the release of ‘Changes’ and ‘Hate it’ he rapidly stacked up over 100,000 streams within the first few months of their debut. Aura’s vivacious, melodic style of writing, alongside his instantly notable vocals have been compared to the likes of Troye Sivan and Charli Xcx.
Littered with attitude, liberation and vibrance, Aura’s songs are rooted in his love for self-expression and unshackled authenticity. The vulnerability within his lyrics showcases the young artist’s innate ability to evoke emotion in his listeners through sharing his own experiences of heartbreak and adversity.
We got to chat to Dan Aura about his new single 'Straight Boys', the first CD he ever bought and upcoming projects.
Hi Dan, in 3 words, describe your sound?
Unique, powerful and vibrant.
Who inspired and influenced your journey in music?
There have been many people that have inspired me to become the artist that I am today, such as Lady Gaga, Prince, Troye Sivan as they all have something very special about them, unique qualities and music that makes them stand out from the crowd. During the time when I was discovering my sound, Zak Abel made me realise how happy music could actually make me, and he’s absolutely one of the reasons that I am where I am today.
Do you remember what you used to listen to growing up?
I used to listen to a bit of everything really! My Dad always used to play Nirvana, The Killers, Tears for Fears and a lot of Alternative Rock, and my Mother played me a lot of Kylie, ABBA and the Scissor Sisters, I think that’s why my music taste now is so eclectic. Once I had discovered CDs, the first one I remember getting was the Sugababes album, which I had on REPEAT.
Do you remember the first song you wrote?
I didn’t really start writing songs until I was around 13/14, which was when I had expressed an interest in taking music in school, and I think I wrote my first song around then. I think it included the lyrics; “The seasons are changing, the leaves are turning brown, I don’t know what to do, my world is upside down”. Lord knows what I actually wrote that song about, but that was definitely my introduction to songwriting as well as singing.
Congrats, on your new single, ‘Straight Boys’, What inspired the track?
The track was essentially inspired by my need for closure on quite a lot of things that have happened in my past, so this song was very cathartic to write and record. I like to say that it’s my ‘two middle fingers’ to anyone who ever picked on me just for being my authentic self, and I want everyone who has ever felt that way to be able to relate with this song, no matter their gender, race, sexuality or identity.
How long did it take to write and record this track, and what is your recording/writing process like?
It actually didn’t take too long to write and record, as we wrote most of the track in one day, and I came back to the studio a few days after to finish writing it with my producer. The production took a few weeks as it’s a very back and forth process (as it is for most songs).I usually go to my producer's house to his home studio, and we mess around with chords and samples until we find something that we like. After that it’s just a matter of figuring out what I actually want to say, then we track a melody and put lyrics to that. I have about a million voice memos of things that I’ve thought of when I’m out and about, and sometimes I’ll take that into a studio and we’ll turn it into a track.
Has your new single got a personal meaning to you?
‘Straight Boys’ will always be a very personal song to me, and it actually makes me emotional sometimes, as it reminds me how far I’ve come from being an insecure queer kid, to being in my 20s and extremely comfortable in my own skin. I’m so glad that it’s out in the world now, because it will always serve as a reminder that anything can change, and things will get better.
What is next for you?
I’m releasing my debut EP 'Plastic' on the 26th of November, which I am so so excited for, as this project really encapsulates who I currently am as an artist, and also where my sound is heading towards. You can expect big pop choruses, heartfelt lyrics, with a pinch of spice to turn your head, I can’t wait for everyone to get it in their ears!