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Saturday 24 August 2019

Daniel and the angel sister he lost so young

LIFE AND LIVING: Anderson and his innermost thoughts
LIFE AND LIVING: Anderson and his innermost thoughts
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

His sister was an angel. She worked at the Sunday Independent for 20 years. When on June 9, 2013, Sharon died, aged 42, peacefully, surrounded by her family in Our Lady's Hospice, Harold's Cross, I imagine that everyone who knew her, even briefly, was shocked and saddened at some level.

Sharon had a huge passion for music (Paul Weller in particular, if memory serves).

So it is almost fitting in a way that her little bro Daniel - known as Anderson - has gone on to make such a success of being one very cool singer. His debut album Patterns is sheer class. She would have been proud that his music had such integrity.

When the 35-year-old Finglas troubadour sang Alex Turner's Piledriver Waltz for the Windmill Lane Sessions on Independent.ie, the words were wracked with poignancy for some of us watching the wings:

"I heard an unhappy ending/It sort of sounds like you leaving. . . You look like you've been for breakfast/At the heartbreak hotel."

"I didn't really cover Piledriver Waltz with any emotion in mind, I just admire Alex Turner's grasp of his craft," Daniel said after he sang that song.

Daniel's music - as hinted at by titles like The Morning's Never New, The Twilight is Folding, The Existential Vacuum and Through The Night - takes quite a long and inward look at life and existence. Looking back on what and why brought him all those years ago towards the realm of the creative, he looks into the middle distance to compose his thoughts. . .

"I do have a vivid memory from my childhood," he says, "of being sick and delirious and looking in on life as opposed to being part of it, a brief disconnection of sorts from the sanctuary of childhood."

Asked about the creative process for him of writing songs, Daniel - who is to measured introspective thought what Roy Keane is to 1000 yard glares - answers: "When working I tend to lock myself out of everyday life.

"So much so, the only thing that gives each day its individual colour and texture is the progress I make on songs.

"At different stages in the process of working on the record I felt completely at odds with whatever ability I have to write songs - and in those periods of time, the days seemed extremely ill-defined and repetitious. Until that period passes," he adds, "every day begins and ends in an almost identical fashion."

"The Mornings Never New is an attempt to articulate the frustration that comes with being unable to get what you want when you want it."

I ask him what The Existential Vacuum is about. "The Existential Vacuum is perhaps the most misleading title on the album, Patterns," he begins.

"The song is a playful reflection on the difficulty we sometimes have with facing reality.

"I initially thought it was about someone else but I think in retrospect it's about seeing myself in someone else.

"We tend to see our own faults more clearly in other people," Daniel the messenger says, adding that next year he will begin work on his second album.

Overall, he says, summing up his raison d'etre perhaps, "I'm about trying to find the most interesting and expressive route through life while maintaining all those delicate relationships that make it so compelling."

Sharon would, I think, have approved.

To watch the full interview with Anderson, plus two exclusive performances, see The Windmill Lane Sessions on independent.ie. You can now also watch independent.ie's Windmill Lane Sessions on TG4. Anderson plays The Button Factory in Dublin on December 9. www.andersonsongs.com

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