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Dan Croll

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Mar 09, 2014 Dan Croll Bookmark and Share


When Dan Croll sold out his first show in his adopted hometown of Liverpool, England, he wasn’t so much excited as suspicious. The twenty-three year old singer/songwriter laughs when he recalls night of the performance—when right before the venue opened its doors he checked in with the woman running the box office to see if tickets really were going that fast.

“She said, ‘Yeah, they’ve sold really well!’” Croll recalls, smirking at the memory. “Then an old couple came up to the desk and said, ‘We’ve rushed down! Are there still tickets for Diana Krall?’ It all fell into place. People had thought Diana Krall had come to Liverpool! Even my friend, who’s a photographer in Manchester got the train over, and ran into the venue saying, ‘Oh my God, are you supporting Diana Krall?’ I was like, ‘Think about it mate, Think about it.’ It was good fun anyway.”

A graduate of Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, Croll has approached his career to date with the same kind of good-natured incredulity. From playing his music for Paul McCartney (whose only advice for Croll was to get released), to heavy touring behind his first handful of singles, to traveling to South Africa to record with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a lot has happened to the young musician in a short period of time.

Croll’s CV to date is so impressive that it’s difficult to believe that, before a nasty broken leg at eighteen, his focus wasn’t on music, but rather on becoming a professional athlete. Unable to climb the stairs to his attic room, he was forced to live in his family’s dining room for several months, his mom’s old guitar and sister’s piano within arm’s reach. It was then, says Croll, that music became more than a peripheral interest.

“It was just me from 9-5 on my own in the house,” he recalls. “Out of boredom I started playing the instruments. I found a lot of new music and suddenly realized that if these people made a career out of it, maybe I can.”

There’s a through line from the scene of Croll’s first musical epiphany to his debut full-length Sweet Disarray. The songs feature a grand sweep of Paul Simon-style folk, dotted with afro pop, rock refrains, and the occasional electronic crackle. At the heart of each tune is an intensely personal story—among them, the death of a close friend, a grandparent’s illness, and the return home after a particularly disastrous vacation. It feels natural to write about himself, says Croll. After all, he comes from an open, hospitable family — so, why not share so much of himself with the world.

“We’ve got one of those homes where the door is always open for friends to pop around and stuff,” he says. “It’s really nice going back at Christmas. The fire is burning, there’s a beautiful wooden floor in the living room with a beautiful rug that you can curl up in. My mom’s mom came to visit this year, so we had family with us. Friends randomly knocked on the door. People that I went high school with who I haven’t seen for a long time since I’ve been on the road, they popped over and walked in to say hello. So for me, that sums up home.”

(www.facebook.com/dancroll)



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