UK Open Mic

Dan Leader

Meet (Inb)Redhill-born UK Open Mic performer, Dan Leader:

Dan Leader

Hi Dan Leader, thanks for joining us! Let’s get into it:

Do you play solo only, or also in a group?


How old are you?


Where were you born?


Where did you grow up?


How did that place influence your music? (if at all!)

Greatly, the youth centre offered free band practice rooms and I got to be taught to play the drums by a legend! I love writing and performing, and regularly play at open mics in and around Surrey where I live. I am a genuine music enthusiast, I don’t discriminate against any genre of music!

Where are you based now, and why?

Horley Surrey, I am an architect by day but music is my passion, the house is full of instruments, despite having a music room?!?

What got you into making music in the first place?

I’d played the piano for 6 years before I picked up a guitar at 15. I was singing and playing in a band within 6 months, and despite a few years break with divorce and children, I’ve been playing since then. Covid gave me time and focus to start writing and I now have 12 completed songs, and over 70 tunes in various stages of WIP.

What instrument/s do you play?

Singing, Guitar, Piano, Drums, Percussion

Who would be in your top 10 musical influences, and why?

Elena Tonra,
The Prodigy,
Marvin Gaye,
Ed Rush n Optical,
Mumford and Sons,
The Led,
The Kings (O L),
The Who,
Curtis Mayfield,
Dave Matthews Band
Fleetwood Mac … many more

Do you write your own songs?


How many years have you been writing songs for?


What process, or processes, do you often find yourself using when you write songs?

Usually starts with a niggle/idea of a melody, which might not be much, sometimes a sound/note/chord I hear makes me think of something with that as a starting point. More recently: certain scenarios have sparked an idea that’s turned into a song such as a friend’s parent almost passing leading to me learning the harmonica (badly) and writing an entire song, quite morbid but in essence a song saying I’m not ready for you to leave?!?

I have been focussing on upbeat and happy songs recently, which anyone knows is much harder than the depressing sh!t most of us are full of: things like my kids have influenced at least two creations that fit into that category.

… that’s too much info, isn’t it?

Why did you get into playing them in the first place?

Re-picking up the guitar after a divorce and a circa 4 year break from playing…

oh and discovering the band Daughter. I wanted to play some of Tonra’s songs how I wanted to perform them: they have some harrowingly beautiful songs I emplore anyone to try if they are not familiar!

What advice would you give new performers who are just starting out playing their first open mics?

I still get nervous every time I perform in front of anyone, but that is a good thing… it means you care so embrace it!

The good thing about exploring open mics is that EVERYONE is in a similar boat to you, maybe sailing slightly ahead or behind you, but all with a similar destination/goal, so EVERYONE is always welcoming, encouraging, and most likely like-minded!

Go for it.

If it’s not already, are you hoping to make music your full-time career?


What do you currently find the hardest and biggest obstacles to moving your music career forward?

In an ideal world, with money no object I would do it, but ultimately I have a reasonably tough job in terms of hours, but I am fortunate that I enjoy it and it pays well

What’s the one truth about you that people often find surprising?

Noel Sgsllagher once made me a cup of Tea

What’s the most exciting project you’re working on at the moment?

I have 3/4 songs in active progress, I am teaching a friend to play percussion so that we can play as a duo.

Do you have your own music video, channel or playlist you’d like to share?

Where is the main place should people go to find out more about you?

We’re done! Anything else you want to share before we go?

No thanks!

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