Friday, 25 July 2008

Daniel Bedingfield

There are two types of pop star. The first, sadly, is the one we know all to well, the mindless puppets at the beck and call of their corporate masters, their creativity the slave of supply and demand. The second is the rarer breed. Blessed with a singular vision, the courage of their convictions and the power to grab your soul and then hold it with an electric zeal, they understand that pop is not simply a product but the gateway to a better place.

Daniel Bedingfield is the personification of the latter, and what's more he always has been. 'What made me want to write songs? I can't even remember,' he explains. 'It's like breathing, my world has always been music, it's all about having a creative expression.'

It may have taken the world a bit of time to catch up with this pop pioneer, but as the buzz accompanies Bedingfield's debut single Gotta Get Thru This proves, the delay is over. Straightforward yet irresistible, Bedingfield's pure vocals are reminiscent of Michael Jackson, as Gotta Get Thru This blasts along with an urgency that is compelling and also boasts a deep emotional edge. Played by long-term supporter UK Garage supremo EZ, Gotta Get Thru This effortlessly became the undisputed anthem of Ayia Napa this year, while its place on club and radio station playlists the length and breath of the land is already cemented.

With this overwhelming grassroots' reaction, a record company bidding war was inevitable. 'It basically blew up on the streets and then I found myself called straight in to all the MDs offices,' explains Bedingfield. 'It was really exciting. I've been planning for something like this to happen since birth, so it's nice to finally be almost achieving your goals, I'm on the verge of something really exciting.'

Born in New Zealand 21 years ago - 'That gave me my pioneering spirit. I love the otherness, it adds an extra dimension' - Bedingfield grew up in South East London, educated at home by his parents, taking his first musical steps aged nine with sisters Natasha and Nicola in progressive R&B group The DNA Algorithm before graduating on to garage. 'I took a break from the band and thought I'd mess around with garage,' he explains. Since then Bedingfield has not looked back, an exceptional rise considering his cottage industry ethics.

'It's all done in my bedroom,' reveals Bedingfield. 'I made Gotta Get Thru This with one computer and a mike, that's all I had, but if you've got a good idea you shouldn't swamp it. If you turn it up loud in the club this track really punches you hard.'

However don't be deceived by the humble surroundings. Despite his youthful years Bedingfield is determined and has filled that bedroom with some interesting influences. Sting, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson all crop up, as does that of a great songwriter not usually cited by garage practitioners. 'Lyrically Bob Dylan moves your soul,' explains Bedingfield, 'with a few words he can express extraordinary concepts.' However for Bedingfield an influence is not simply about sonic syndication, rather inspiration is drawn on a philosophical level. 'The Chinese have a saying,' Bedingfield begins, 'rather than emulate the masters you should pursue the same goals they pursue. That's what I'm trying to do, find out what they were going for then go for the same things.'

With work on an album about to start and a live band to be assembled, don't expect Bedingfield to be blown off course by cartoon pop distractions for his aim is true.

'I want to do something totally new that will fit straight in the pop bracket but will make a real musical statement as well,' he explains. 'I just want to produce a classic album that's going to be around for years.' No small order, but at least Bedingfield has the convictions and belief to deliver.

'I create music from any kind of extreme emotion, that's where my creativity is done. The music I make has to have a really powerful conviction, I can't sing anything I don't feel strongly about,' he says. 'Music is often the only way you can get your feelings down, I really enjoy doing that. I feel Gotta Get Thru This says exactly what I wanted it to say with a few words and I'd love to do that again.'

For now however, Gotta Get Thru This trumpets the arrival of a new talent and from club credibility to a million teenage walls the possibilities for Daniel Bedingfield appear unlimited.

'It really seems the world is my oyster at the moment,' he confirms. 'I feel tremendously blessed.'


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