As with many musically inclined children Daniel Richard Powter's early introduction to playing a musical instrument came with the violin, although he rejected a classical path in favour of the piano and began writing his own pop songs when he was just ten years old. After his dyslexia forced him to quit studying music at Edmonton's Grant MacEwan College he concentrated on songwriting and recording demos that would eventually turn up on his first record, the independently released I'm Your Betty in 2000. Although the record was unsuccessful he was undeterred and he continued to write and perform and later teamed-up with Jeff Dawson, a producer and songwriter based out of Vancouver who helped him shape his new recordings with a little more fairy dust. Signing to Warner Brothers Records, Powter and Dawson went into the studio with veteran producer Mitchell Froom whose credits include Suzanne Vega, The Bangles, Crowded House, Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney and Randy Newman amongst many others. With several songs completed, the anthemic 'Bad Day' was heard by executives at the Coca-Cola corporation who requested the track for their European advertising campaign and with such high visibility radio stations started playing the whole track in 2005. The song entered the UK charts at No 2 and went on to be a huge international multi-platinum success, particularly in the USA where it occupied the number one spot for five weeks and became the first song to sell more than two million digital copies. The songs ubiquity was assured through extensive radio play and featuring on the TV show American Idol where Powter performed it live on the 2006 season finale.
Powter's self-titled debut album was released in October of the same year and revealed him to be a fine piano based singer/songwriter in the tradition of Billy Joel and Elton John and while his lyrics hardly rival either Joel's or Bernie Taupin's his self-assured songs, lead by the catchy and melodic 'Bad Day' found the album entering the UK Top 5 and the US Top 20 where it sold in excess of half-a-million copies. In the 2006 Juno Awards ceremony in Halifax, Nova Scotia Powter walked away with the award for New Artist Of The Year. Despite the album yielding more hit singles with 'Free Loop (One Night Stand)', 'Jimmy Gets High', 'Lie To Me' and 'Love Me Lately' none of them came anywhere close the success of his debut single although the latter peaked at No 5 in Canada. Hitting the road with Alphabeat and Lil' Chris as part of the 2008 Wolfbaggin' Tour Powter released his third album Under The Radar and while several tracks were released as singles ('Next Plane Home', 'Best Of Me' and 'Whole World Around') none of them cracked the US, UK or Canadian charts. The album was similarly unsuccessful and despite co-writing with songwriting heavyweights Rick Nowels, Kara DioGuardi and singer/songwriter and producer Linda Perry its commercial failure resulted in the singer parting company with Warner Brothers and signing to both the Japanese label Avex and EMI Records. After a gap of almost four years during which time he played keyboards on 'Gin And Money' from Weezer's 2009 album Leaving Wonderland ...In A Fit Of Rage, performing 'O Canada' at the National Hockey League's Winter Classic and receiving the dubious award of the decade's 'Top One-Hit Wonder' by the US Music industry's Billboard magazine, Powter returned with the new album Turn On The Lights in July 2012. While the record shared the same fate as it's predecessor, neither charting or providing any hit singles, it received much better reviews from critics who recognised the Howard Benson (Kelly Clarkson, Gavin DeGraw, All-American Rejects) produced album and songs such as 'The Best Of Me' and 'The Day We Never Met' as being much closer to his successful debut.
Despite the record's commercial reception he presently describes his life as being much better following a difficult period that saw him tackling drug and alcohol addiction, going through a divorce and the birth of his second child. Many of his challenging problems sprang not only from a troubled childhood but also the unprecedented runaway success of 'Bad Day' and it's attached fame, so much so that he felt began to define him in the eyes of both the public and the media. Turn On The Lights is also his most personal and yet positive album to date and while most tracks are love songs, the record's closing track 'Tell Them Who You Are' could be seen as being particularly autobiographical; 'You can say what you want, you can say what you feel, you hide in your mask, but you know it's not real, you can lock all the doors, and pretend you're not home, you can stand in the crowd, but you still feel alone'.
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