Danny K: A Good Look at the future

SA musician Danny K. Image courtesy dannyk.com

Danny K (full name Daniel Koppel) has stood the test of time as a South African artist. The singer has reinvented himself musically time and time again, remaining relevant and managing to refrain from elaborate and undignified marketing ploys.

While often regarded as just a pretty boy with slick hair, the singer has come to prove there is more to him than meets the eye. Producing hit after hit, from pop to his latest dance funk sound, he’s kept his name in the headlines. When he arrives for this interview, dapper as always, he struts into the Fire and Ice Hotel in Melrose Arch, casually dressed, coffee shake in one hand and car keys in the other.

Slouching into a comfy sofa, it’s only a moment before we are chatting like we’ve known each other for years. With all the media coverage over his long career, you’d think you know everything about him, but Koppel is full of surprises.

Looking back, the singer admits that getting started meant selling his soul in some ways.

“I had been trying to break into the market for years,” Koppel explains.

“I started messing around with the different styles and genres of the time, but it wasn’t an accurate representation of who I am. Some artists get it right from the beginning. For me, it was a little bit harder to find that groove, but I eventually did, and it’s been great. Plus, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for that pop-rock phase.”

It is Koppel’s creative direction that has kept him in the public’s eye for so long. Inspired by artists such as Madonna, Elton John and Michael Jackson, Koppel always ensures that his music remains appropriate for the times, never forgetting that “you’re only as good as your last hit on radio”.

SA musician Danny K. Image courtesy dannyk.com

SA musician Danny K. Image courtesy dannyk.com

“My job is like any other and it takes 10 000 hours of hard work to make a difference,” he says.

Since starting his own record company J23, Koppel has been involved in every aspect of his brand, from concept to final product.

“Forming my own label gave me the opportunity to really express who I am,” he says.

“I have 100% creative freedom to do what I want.”

This, however, comes with its own set of challenges. Although having a substantial team behind him, which includes numerous family members, Koppel has to play a variety of different roles.

“You’d think because of my status that I’d have it easy, but as a musician it’s difficult to get corporates to take me seriously as a businessman. I spend so much time organising budgets, arranging business deals and marketing my product that when it comes time to go into the studio, it becomes difficult to step out of the business realm. It all gets blurred,” he says.

Still happy to fight for his place, Koppel continues to work hard, with his latest album Good Look crafted to showcase his extensive vocal range.

In a local music first, Danny K has announced an exciting collaboration with Samsung SA. Setting the bar for new relationships between the smartphone and music industries, the singer and Samsung will be giving away 20 000 albums to download.

today in print