It has been a ground-breaking year for young singer-songwriter Dan Owen. The 23-year- old has gone from playing to tiny audiences in backrooms of pubs to a run of impressive festivals dates, including Bushstock, The Great Escape and Glastonbury.
Following those early live shows, he went on to win Best Young Artist at the British Blues Awards and a surprising accolade came from another audience member, Mick Fleetwood (of Fleetwood Mac), who hailed Dan "at the forefront of the new wave in British singer-songwriter talent". Now, stepping away from the blues and writing new material, Dan is getting ready to release his first EP late this year – produced by Cam Blackwood (George Ezra).
Dan, who hails from Shrewsbury is now headlining a UK tour which brings him to Newport's Le Pub on November 7. Andy Howells recently put questions to him.
What lead you to becoming a musician?
It all started when I was 9 getting my first guitar lessons at school. I failed music but then started playing guitar for my sister who sings, around the pubs when I was 13. As a profession, it was kind of forced on me when I had a workshop accident involving my eye. I couldn't do any of the fine carpentry work anymore so had to give it up and start singing songs for a living.
Who or what has inspired you most on your musical journey?
More than anything probably the musicians I got to know playing around my home town. The older musicians I got to know and played with on Jam nights and gigs have always inspired me with their crazy stories from the road.
Can you give us some background about your upcoming EP?
It's all about my own stories and experiences that I've been able to write about over the last couple of years, moving away from the blues covers and doing my own thing. I have kept one blues song on there that always goes down well when I play it live. One for the blues fans. The others are mine though and I'm looking forward to getting it out there. I have been lucky enough to work with a producer called Cam Blackwood, who did George Ezra's album. We had an amazing time making all kinds of noise in the studio.
Are you enjoying touring?
I love touring, it's definitely where I feel most at home, having done 150-200 Gigs a year from a young age, it feels great getting out on the road. I'm currently supporting Rae Morris on her UK tour and it is going great.
What can people expect from your forthcoming Newport gig?
Everything from foot stomping, hand clapping to those emotional moments, we're gonna have an awesome time!
What are you enjoying listening to at the moment?
At the minute on the rare days off me and a few mates will sit around with a Spotify account a few beers and play each other music we've discovered from Joe Pugg to run the jewels.
- Stay in touch with Dan online by visiting danowenmusic.com
- A version of this Q&A by Andy Howells was published in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on October 30, 2015