Sounds & Stories: An Interview with Danny Godwin
Updated: Sep 6, 2019
Music is a gift from the Lord and 5 Solas Publishing & Editing deeply supports the release of God honoring music. Therefore, we recently contacted musician Danny Godwin for an interview. Godwin is a Boston based musician, producer, and audio engineer who recently released his debut EP entitled, 'From Dust', in January 2016. Steve Lukens, of 5 Solas Publishing, recently spoke with Godwin about his life, upcoming projects, and what inspires him in his work.
SL: How did you get into music? What age were you?
DG: Growing up, my dad was an avid record collector and played guitar. My grandpa (his dad) was known in the family, back in India, as the talented multi instrumentalist who played almost everything and sang. The first digital Casio my dad got for him back in the 80’s was passed down to me. I think I was two or three years old when I started messing with it and learning melodies by ear. Fast-forward to age seven and that was when I took my first formal piano lesson. After that, I started playing in church.
SL: What things from your childhood helped to make you who you are today?
DG: The first couple of years of piano lessons were quite brutal to be honest. I really wanted to quit because all my friends were playing sports, while I was at home practicing classical music composed by people who no longer exist. When I stopped caring what those friends thought, I realized that I secretly loved and was gifted in music so I started pursuing it more intentionally. When I picked up guitar and started singing and writing songs in high school, I was far behind in terms of ability when compared to my skills on the piano. It definitely taught me to not trust just in my natural abilities but to be persistent.
SL: What influence did your family have on your life/music?
DG: My dad led worship in church when I was younger and really got me into music. I would play at church and at different events. Both my mom and dad pushed me to keep playing and taking lessons. My dad would always play records at our house and be learning songs on the guitar. There was always music playing in the car and around the house.
SL: Did you ever think that God had other plans for you, something bigger than you imagined?
DG: Definitely. I don’t think it necessarily involves fame and fortune like everyone thinks in the music business. If I were to rephrase it, I definitely believe that it’s “better” than anything I would have imagined. I think dreaming to perform in front of thousands and being heard all over the world is great and all but I believe God has clearly taught me that being faithful in the mundane and small things goes a lot further than being recognized by the masses. So far, God has provided many opportunities, big and small to simply do music and I do my best to not take it for granted.
SL: Did you always plan on following music?
DG: If you asked a younger version of myself, I would have told you not in a hundred years. In the schools that I attended, music was never the “cool” thing to pursue. It was only in high school after a concert that I realized that this was something God was calling me pursue. When I was in ninth grade, I took a break from music to focus on sports and school and it was one of the strangest times of my life. I knew I was good at music and that I enjoyed so it was only a matter of time.
SL: What made that time in your life so strange?
DG: I think it was strange because I was trying so hard to pursue something that wasn’t meant for me. Music came so natural but I was so ashamed of it because all my friends played sports. I was also so used to having a weekly lesson. I almost tried to quit music that year but I simply couldn't picture life without it. It was almost like holding your breath for a long time and forgetting to breathe.
SL: What inspires you in your music?
DG: My inspiration is a mixture of my life-story, past and present, what I believe to be true and the music that I’ve listened to over the years. I grew up singing hymns and playing in church so it comes natural to me to write about things that I believe are true. At the end of the day, I want to serve people, tell stories and make art that’s meant for something more than a purchasable commodity or fad.
SL: Why did you choose a music school?
DG: I really believe in the importance of being educated and trained in a skill/craft and to delve into a community of artists, some of whom or better or behind your skill level. During the renaissance and classical period, artists, musicians and creative people studied with a mentor whom they could trust to bring them up to the next level. I think there is something unique about being self-taught but it’s usually a guessing game because no one’s gonna tell you you’re wrong. You wouldn’t perform surgery without completing medical school, right? Therefore it’s always good to know all the rules and be able to break them artistically.
SL: What projects do you have coming up?
DG: Aside from Godwin, I play keyboards in an alternative rock band called Valleyheart. We just came off of a tour recently and are working on new material. The solo thing is still new to me and I would say that I’m still learning in a lot of ways. I just released a new song called “Stay Home”. I did the entire thing by myself at my home studio including the production, mixing and mastering. I was aiming for something warm and natural to represent the season.
SL: Do you ever have times of drought where you don’t want to write or play?
DG: Oh yes. After recently graduating from school, it felt very strange to not have a routine or not be in a community of musicians all the time. Also, music isn’t the most financially stable career so there’s always a cloud of doubt looming somewhere. Regardless, I don’t believe giving up and not playing is an option. I can’t imagine my life without music; it’s almost become akin to breathing for me. In times like these, I definitely believe it’s God showing me to rest in His grace and not in my own abilities. Another thing that helps is being on the lookout for new music to listen to. I listen to a lot of music and I’m always on the hunt for new records and artists to enjoy and study.
SL: What were your goals for your EP? What actually happened/what were/have been God’s plans so far?
DG: My goal was to put out something on my own that artistically and lyrically represents me at the moment. So far, most of my contributions as a musician have been as a sideman working for others, which I love and want to keep doing. But for this project, I wanted to be invested in every aspect of the record from the writing and recording to the artwork. I had these songs that I was working on for my senior production project so I decided to make it into something I could release. As a producer, I also wanted to show people what I was capable of creating, in case they ever wanted to collaborate. So far; the feedback has definitely been encouraging. Honestly, I don’t really know exactly what God has planned in a grander sense but I’m trusting that it’s better than what I could wish for.
Danny Godwin graduated from Berklee College of Music where he studied Music Production and Engineering.
© 5 Solas Publishing & Editing
© Danny Godwin