Award-winning songwriter Dan Ferrari is the exceptional finish to our year here at Band of the Week. We decided to finish this year with a clear winner, the next big thing. Ferrari is the winner of the Abe Olman Songwriting Scholarship Award 2007 and a finalist in the New York Songwriters Circle Songwriting contest, for his song “Heard From You”, which also features on his new album Don’t Let it Fall. This 25-year-old New Jersey native’s sound is both pop and rock. His newest offering is filled with catchy tunes, plenty of harmonies and melodies and honest, intimate lyrics that make the listener feel they are getting a glimpse inside the heart and soul of this passionate, multifaceted young singer.
On your first listen to Ferrari’s Don’t Let it Fall, you’ll be struck by his ardent, emotive, engaging voice, however it’s his compellingly emotional lyrics that will keep you listening. Ferrari’s talent lies in painting a stirring and deeply personal portrait of his life, mostly his love life, that is all at once libidinous and winsome, passionate and friendly. Don’t Let it Fall is like having an intimate talk with an old friend, about a recent heartbreak. You get a glimpse inside the painful heart of someone coming to terms with their loss with lyrics like “I wish I was the smile dancing on your lips/ I wish was the t-shirt lying across your skin/ I wish was the button on your favourite pair of jeans/ so close to you, there’s nowhere I’d rather be” (from title track “Don’t Let it Fall”) or “I’ve tried so hard to break free, but I’ll never not want you/ I wait for you to come back to me, I’ll never not want you/ I reach out for help but I’ll never not want you/ I’ve tried to love someone else but I’ll never not want you”.
Love songs so filled with fresh pain, longing, and sensual loss that you would be forgiven for thinking it was just yesterday she walked out; however, according to Ferrari it’s not recent but a college break-up, many years ago, that inspired many of his heart-wrenching intimate portraits. Recently this charismatic, witty, intelligent man sat down for a chat with me. His magnetic, flirtatious personality made him a fun interview subject and we spent a lot of time discussing everything but his music. Eventually we made it to the subject at hand but still his answers were tinged with the unmistakable characteristics of sarcasm.
When and why did you begin writing songs and singing?
I picked up the guitar at age… I’d say somewhere around age ten, started to realise that the ladies in grade school would pay a little more attention to me if I was walking around with a guitar case. They might get a little more curious about me, so you know it was always about the girls from day one. (laughing) So it started with the guitar, then started singing in high school, realised I could do both at the same time…
Sing and attract girls?
Do all three at the same time, sing and play the guitar and attract girls. I wrote my first song the summer before I left for college. It was a song to, hopefully, hold the attention of the high school sweetheart, and to give her something to remember me by. The songwriting process, I wouldn’t say came easily. I would say it’s something that definitely I struggled with. Even to this day you’re always trying to get better and what not. You have your times when it doesn’t come as easy as other times. I wouldn’t say the songwriting process felt natural, I would say it just felt good to perform something that was from me and that’s what I love. There’s a quote that says “I hate writing but I love having written”, I can say I definitely relate to that.
Yeah. I do, I write basically the skeleton of the song, the rough chord progressions and the lyrics. I do co-write on some of the lyrics and melodies. There are four songs on the new album that are co-written. Two with a woman named Janice Fitzgerald and two with John Lardiere, my producer. John actually wrote the song “Blanket” himself, so track five is John’s. It was kind of like, doin’ John a favour, he was producing the album for me. He had this song that hadn’t been recorded, that I loved.
John Lardiere is sort of your mentor, isn’t he?
When he was with his band Twin A I was going to see him perform before we even knew each other. I was going to his shows, buying his records without even ever saying hello to him face to face.
So working with him is like working with an idol for you?
Yeah, definitely. It turned out that he had someone on his street team that I eventually came to know and through that connection… I was opening for Twin A for their farewell show, and that was just such a tremendous opportunity to open for this band that I loved and that I had in heavy rotation playing in my car. Then I met John at that show and from then on we stayed in touch and then eventually had the idea to work together on this album. John’s just a great, talented and amazing producer and I’m fortunate that I got that opportunity.
Tell me about the track “Heard From You”.
That’s a big favourite. That’s the free download that is available on the MySpace right now. I love “Heard From You”. It’s just such a emotional song, a song that captures what I interpret my best friend Mike would say to his father right now, who walked out on him at age 10. It got into the finals (in the top 12) in the New York Songwriters Circle Songwriting contest. It enabled me to perform at the finals in front of a panel of industry judges – which was really cool – with the 11 other finalists that all were amazing. It was such a great opportunity to be a part of that.
And for the song “Heard From You” to be the song that they picked, out of all my songs, was cool. Cause that for me was the song where I really became the representative for my best-friend Mike and said everything that he has always wanted to say to his father. That is something that really means a lot to me.
Your lyrics and songs have a very intimate, sensual feel to them. Is that intentional or just a reflection of who you are?
I would say it’s definitely a reflection of who I am. I am a very sensitive person and I like sharing that in my songs. It may not come across right away when you meet me but when it comes to something so personal as a song written by me, from my heart, I definitely incorporate the sensitivity in there.
Well right now there is a management company that is interested in me and I have an agreement on the table that I am looking over. So I feel like at this point I have really done a lot on my own, as far as honing my songwriting, and getting my name out there and networking and meeting people in the industry, and getting this album together. Now I kind of need some help. Someone who can see the big picture and help me decided the next steps to take in my career.
Really you have to hear his music to understand. Amazing lyrics, fabulous musicianship, and great energy. What more do you need? To listen to Dan’s music you can visit his MySpace space or purchase Don’t Let it Fall from CDBaby or iTunes.