“I sleep, eat and breathe music from when I wake up until I go to bed.” You would think a great artist like Betheoven mouthed and counted these syllables, but in fact, this quote was spoken by no other than modern day Canadian pop artist Danny Fernandes. Perhaps Betheoven said it in other words, but Danny couldn't paraphrase or improvise that thought better. And he does know and live music. After all, Danny has been dancing since the age of 6 and singing since before we've ever heard his first (or only) single that famously mentions "morning after" pancakes. So, yes, in this case, Danny is what he eats: (and that's) music.
As the middle child in a musical Italian/Portuguese family - with an opera singer for a grandfather and a pop sensation for an older brother (Shawn Desman) - it's no surprise Danny was already dancing at the mere age of six. By eleven, he was represented by an agent and dancing in commercials. By the time he was 16, Danny rightfully earned so many gold medals, medals that symbolically foreshadowed his transformation into the youngest member of the Toronto Raptor's Dance Pak. Shortly after, he was regularly featured as a backup dancer in various music videos. Unlike many parents, his were supportive of such a cutthroat dream; even though in 2003, a beautiful mistake was born by a common mishap with internet privacy.
"Curious" was somehow leaked online and found by a DJ in Germany who pressed it to bootleg vinyl. But, Danny is grateful for whoever could've screwed him over, because it turns out that became his debut infamous hit in first Europe and then Canada. After all, who could forget the original line “Tell me who wants pancakes...we want pancakes,” a line that was rapped by no other than Juelz Santana, all because Danny sent the "rough draft" to New York in late 2007. Even without any label backup, the song hogged the radio spotlight. Once the song resurrected into top 20, CP Records let Danny Fernandes join their club of fresh Canadian talent, whom of which included Belly. Belly literally wrote Danny's first album Intro, which snatched #1 on iTunes.
His first two singles “Private Dancer” and “Fantasy” have both dropped gold and blasted airwaves. Along with his hit singles, Danny came out with three back-to-back #1 videos, which owed him 5 nominations at the 2009 MuchMusic Video Awards. Danny won Best Pop Video Of The Year for “Private Dancer” at the 2010 MMVAs and was also crowned the Best Male Artist of the Year at the 2009 Top Choice Awards. Danny has toured with the likes of Akon, Flo Rida, Sean Kinston, and Girlicious.
For this year's MMVAs, Danny's nominations include "Video of the Year,""Post Production of the Year,"and "Ur Fave Video" (for his single "Automatic"). Check out our exclusive email interview here!
V.B. How did you get started?
D.F. I started out a dancer at the age of 6. By the time I was 18, I had experienced it all, so I decided to take on a singing career. Seems like it worked out pretty well (laughs).
V.B. You were a professional/competitive dancer for years, performing as a backup dancer in concerts and dancing in music videos. If you had to choose between dancing and singing, which one would you choose, and why?
D.F. That's a tough one. Dancing is a passion I have always had and I've done it my entire life! Singing, on the other hand, was just a hobby that turned into a profession from my love for music.
V.B. Your first track "Curious" somehow leaked online and was found by a DJ in Germany who pressed it to bootleg vinyl. And then your MySpace was bombarded by fans and professionals alike. How do you utilize the internet now as an artist? Do you prefer using the internet over traditional methods of advertisement, promotion, etc.?
D.F. The Internet changed my whole life! I owe it to the net.. No, with Twitter and Facebook and all these blogs, it's kind of hard to stay away from it... Anytime of the day, I can grab my Blackberry and tweet or promote any show I'm doing. You know what I mean? I feel like it's more intimate.
V.B. You have 3 MMVA nominations for "Automatic." What stands out to you most about making that video?
D.F. What stands out to me is that I haven't seen any other video come out of this country that's like it. My crew was amazing and fun to work with.
V.B. Some of your songs - "Private Dancer," "Automatic" and "Fantasy" - have suggestive undertones. Do you draw a line as to how explicit you want your lyrics to be, or are you opposed to censorship? Drawing from specific examples in the media, what do you think is crossing the boundaries of being too sexual or inappropriate i.e. music video, song, tv wise, etc.?
D.F. Honestly, I don't have any boundaries.. This second album was a little more explicit, as you say. I'm getting older, and so is my music. I don't think it's wrong to be sexual in a proper manner.
V.B. Do you feel like you're a mentor to younger children? What advice can you provide to youth who aspire to be like you in the entertainment industry?
D.F. I do feel like I'm a mentor, and children do look up to me. I'm always happy to work with kids and give advice... I tell them if you have a dream - either it be music or anything, - follow it! When you put your mind into it anything can happen.
V.B. You're related to Shawn Desman and Tyler Medeiros. Do you think having your family in the music business with you makes you or breaks you?
D.F. I don't think so. I am my own artist, and what they do doesn't affect me at all. Yes, we are related, but we are different people.
V.B. You've collaborated with many artists - Shawn Desman, Juelz Santana, Benny Benassi, Mia Martina, etc. - but you work most closely with Belly. Describe Belly to me. What do you guys bring to the table individually and/or as a team?
D.F. Belly is like the other half of my brain. We are always thinking alike, and I work with him the best out of anyone else. We have become so close in the last few years it's hard not to have him around. He is a lyrical genius! You give us anything, and you are promised a hit record! I'm living proof.
V.B. Your quote (you said) "I sleep, eat and breathe music." If this is true, give me a typical day-in-the-life of Danny Fernandes for me.
D.F. Well it varies; everyday is different. I could have a show. If I don't, I'm in the studio, or I'm doing vocal training, writing, etc. Music is an all day thing for me; it's my job!
V.B. What's coming up for you?
D.F. Were planning a European tour this summer. Also, my brother and I have a few things in the works for all the fans too! More videos, more music, more Danny! Stay tuned :)