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Danny Michel: The Country’s Most Interesting / Invisible Man

There are lots of great reasons to be a Danny Michel fan. He’s a prolific songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, clever lyricist, charismatic performer, multi- talented creative super force and compassionate humanist. Here are a couple of short interesting tidbits to help you discover (if you haven’t already) the man behind the music.

Khelebnikov

Hand-picked by Canadian Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield, Danny Michel embarked on an 18 day expedition in 2016 through the Northwest Passage aboard the infamous Kapitan Khlebnikov (the 24,000 horsepower Soviet icebreaker and first ship to circumnavigate both the Arctic and Antarctic). He set up a make-shift studio in his cabin to record the album Khlebnikov which captured “the indescribable beauty and magnitude of this adventure through song.” Michel, Hadfield and composer (and childhood pal) Rob Carli went on to perform the haunting atmospheric suite live with symphony orchestras across Canada.

Garifuna Collective

After years of travel in Belize, Danny Michel found this unique Afro-Amerindian cultural group and convinced them to make an album together. Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me was quoted as “One of the finest musical works of our time” by Billboard and landed Michel his third JUNO nomination and a coveted Polaris Prize nomination.

Ocean Academy

Education is not free in Danny Michel’s adopted second home of Belize. Ocean Academy high school provides academic and job skills programs that enable children to break free from systemic poverty. Michel motivates and works alongside students in everything from school repairs to talent showcases to scholarships. To date, over $77,000 has been raised by Michel and his friends and fans.

Dan’s Space Van

Michel also hosts, films and produces a mobile web-series in his all-original 1978 Chevy Vadura van/ Star Trek themed time-capsule. The show boldly travels the world and features musical performances in the van’s crushed red velvet interior. Space Van alumni include Bahamas, Joel Plaskett, Alan Doyle, Blue Rodeo, Barenaked Ladies, Fred Penner, 54-40, Barney Bental and Mark Lalama!

A peek behind the curtain

Michel sparked a lot of buzz and necessary dialogue about the current state and economics of the music industry with a Facebook post this past November. His song “Purgatory Cove” had been in the Top 20 charts (CBC Radio 2+3) for 10 weeks, climbing to #3, yet his income for this success via streaming services was a whopping $44.99. His post has drawn almost 9,000 shares, likes and comments and has “sparked a heated cross-country discussion about the viability of music as a profession in the “pennies per play” Spotify era”, writes The Toronto Star. Reluctant to be the poster boy for this debate, Michel says the outpouring of feedback and stories from artists and fans has been “revealing and concerning. Don’t feel bad about using streaming services. That’s not the issue. How little they compensate the creators of the content is the problem. Music fans deserve to know how this all works and why the artists they love may soon be gone.”

The invisible man

“By this point, singer/songwriter Danny Michel must be a bit weary of being ranked as one of this country’s undiscovered musical treasures. But it’s true” – The Toronto Star.

Be sure to check out Danny. He’s one of the good ones. And if you can look me in the eye after the show and tell me I was way off, I’ll personally refund your ticket! (Sorry for the pressure Danny. Knock em dead!)

Danny Michel performs with Begonia at the Partridge Hall in the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on March 21.

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