Many incredible singer-songwriters come from the streets. Multi-talented Daniel Docherty (25) from Glasgow is one of those. We’re not talking about being streetwise but about growing up in public, mastering your skills while busking in the streets, parks and shopping arcades. Docherty has ‘seen it all’ and has earned his stripes.
If it would still be the sixties now, you would have encountered him in the coffee houses at MacDougal Street in New York, where Dylan and his peers learned their craft. But he’s no longer a rough diamond. He’s ready to take the next step. Docherty is clearly experienced performing live to crowds of all sizes. He is equally happy to play for a small crowd or a packed Carré Theatre in Amsterdam, where he is signed to the [PIAS] label. [PIAS] discovered him at the annual Eurosonic international showcase festival in the Netherlands and instantly recognized his enormous potential. The lowlands have quite a reputation as a test market. It has served as launching platform for singer-songwriters like Gavin James and Ben Howard before.
‘I do still love to busk, but haven't busked much at all this year,’ Docherty says. ‘For me, it's one of the most comfortable and enjoyable places to perform! I always want to busk in every new city I play in. For me, it's a great way to write songs and immediately try them out in public. I get an idea and start improvising. Having the freedom to be so creative and spontaneous is something I love. Meeting people like this, is one of the most rewarding experiences.’ Hold Me, the first single from the EP Life Is What We Make Of It is a prime example of this method. ‘It began as an idea I had while busking, and developed from there,' he confirms enthusiastically.
And it’s certainly not the only track with that history of origin… Garden In The Snow which was featured on his 2015 self-released 4 track EP This Holy Fire is another example. As a full-blooded storyteller Docherty shares the history of that particular track: ‘It was written about a woman I met busking, who had lost her husband. She had come over to thank me for playing the song Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton, and explained that the song meant something to her and her late husband.’ Music as consolation, isn’t that wonderful? Well, isn’t that what artists are for, to give us a little bit of hope and inspiration in our lives?
Apart from his songs and his great vocal delivery, Docherty also deserves credit as a great instrumentalist. He has one extra ‘weapon’, his guitar. He is not just a singer-songwriter, he’s also a mean fingerpicker, a true virtuoso on his guitar. By his songwriting and guitar playing, it is obvious he’s a big fan of the late John Martyn and Australia’s Tommy Emmanuel. His breathtaking percussive guitar style is reminiscent of US guitarist Andy McKee.
In the Netherlands, the profile of Docherty is quickly rising, having supported popular local bands like Racoon and HAEVN.