It seems like it was only yesterday when I met Dan Paul on the ferry to Fire Island Cherry Grove last summer. I remember asking him about his glasses (a lame excuse to flirt with him). #truestory
We started talking and he told me he was a singer. I immediately told him we should get together and talk about his music career for GuySpy. Hot and talented, what else could you guys ask for?
The summer is long gone and Mr. Dan Paul has a great new album out, The Make Up. Here, then, is my exclusive interview with the Texan native, in which he talks about his passion for music, his magical experience in New York, and of course, the boys.
JG. It took five years to make the album. Why so long?
DP. The Make Up came together on its own. As I had experiences during my first five years in NYC, I would write new songs. As I wrote each song, my good friend and collaborator Jeff Cook would help me record the bare bones in his studio, Linden Street Underground. Once we realized we had enough tunes for an album, we began to work with other musicians to flesh the tracks out.
JG. What was your inspiration?
DP. It’s truly autobiographical – the emotional landscape of my New York adventure. One way I process strong feelings is through writing songs. Anything romantic in my life typically inspires songwriting as well.
JG. Speaking about NYC, what was your first impression of the city?
DP. My dream world, the place I was meant to be… at least for this part of my life. There’s a rumor that New York City is built on top of a giant subterranean cavern of crystals and that the energetic force of that crystal cavern is what draws so many creative people here – it intensifies our energy. That’s just what I hear anyway…
Crystal cavern or not, I love it here. Compared to my quiet life growing up in Wichita Falls, Texas, the noise, the crowds, the smells – it’s still exotic for me, the stuff movies are made from. Often, I’ll see a view from a dilapidated rooftop or a steam-filled alleyway and think, “This looks just like a stage set about New York City”! My decision to break free of the Lone Star State was, for me, one of the best decisions I ever made. I was meant to be here. I’m still inspired every day by living here, and oh so grateful. How exciting, to be an artist of your time living in the Big Apple!
JG. Do you miss some things about Texas?
DP. I miss driving down the highway with the stereo blasting, singing at the top of my lungs.
JG. What was the most powerful personal experience you shared in the album?
DP. The song “Catalyst” was written about an attack that happened in my neighborhood in Bushwick when I first moved from Dallas to NYC. Two brothers were coming home from the bar, laughing with their arms around each other. They were mistaken for a pair of gay guys and beaten by a group of men. One of them died as a result. Even though the brothers were straight, their victimization was catalysts for change in LGBT hate-crime legislation.
JG. What do you think about the New York boys?
DP. My NYC dating experience was rife with disappointment (as you can hear when you listen to The Make Up). Everyone here is moving so fast, especially the gays. Seems like most guys are on to the next thing, even as they’re trying to hook up with you. It was sort of tough for me to find another romantic in this intensely egocentric environment.
JG. Did you talk about any personal love stories in the album?
DP. Like on every track! Ha! Actually, maybe half the album involves my romantic misadventures.
JG. Are you dating someone?
DP. Yeah! I’m in love with a wonderful guy; he’s a sweetheart. I even wrote a book about our supernatural relationship called The Rabbit and the Dragon.
JG. How would you describe The Make Up?
DP. It’s like an auditory stolen look through the personal memoirs of a wizard in his youth.
JG. How did you come up with the idea for the video “Come Clean”?
DP. I knew that I wanted the video to have water as a dominant theme, and when I told my ideas to the super-talented photographer and director Teresa Nasty, she was like, “OMG, let’s do a shower scene! People need to see all this BODY!” And the “Come Clean” video was born. It took us an afternoon to shoot, was literally the easiest video I’ve ever made, and it’s quickly becoming everybody’s favorite.
JG. It’s definitely my favorite so far… I can’t get enough of your body. Damn! Too bad I missed my opportunity with you. Wink.
DP. Aw! You’re so sweet!
JG. Okay, sorry, back to business. What can we expect from Dan Paul in the near feature?
DP. Well, I’m rehearsing my new band so I can start playing the New York live music circuit and promoting the album. It’s also been extraordinarily inspiring to have these songs living out there in the world. They’re truly pieces of my heart. Plus, I’m in love. So I’m writing like crazy. The next album most certainly won’t be five years in the making.
Thanks for putting up with me, Dan! You’re da best… Brilliantly talented with an enchanting personality and a body to die for… I’m pretty sure we will be seeing a lot more of you. I can’t wait.
The Make Up is now available on iTunes http://itunes.com/danpaul. If you want to learn more about Dan Paul’s music check out his Facebook page and follow him on Instagram @SirDanPaul – He’s a terrific illustrator! (Ugh, is there anything this guy can’t do?)