David Dann, a UCLA Senior, Cracks the Dance Music Charts
David Dann has a DIY approach to making a hit dance album. No band? No problem -- just fire up the midi keyboard. No label or studio support? No problem -- create your own mini-studio in your parent's guest house. No marketing or promotional support? No problem -- work your social media networks and start spreading the news.
Everything came together in April, when Dann's debut album To Each His Own leapfrogged Skrillex, Tiesto and Kaskade to open at number 7 on the iTunes top 10 dance albums chart.
Faced with rejection from all those geniuses, Dann -- who is 22 and a UCLA senior -- made what he now calls an easy decision, releasing the work on his own. "I finally decided I'm just going to put it out by myself and see what happens," he says.
Before long, three of songs were attracting attention: "Last Time," with vocalist Julia Price, "Follow Me" with vocalist Tamara Keenan, and an instrumental called "Solitude."
Dann believes his DIY approach is the wave of the future in house and dance music, with more and more artists realizing that digital technology has advanced to the point where they don't need a label's support -- or even an actual band -- to penetrate the marketplace.
"The label system is deteriorating because everyone wants music for free. It's not about album sales anymore, it's all about streaming music," he says. "But most labels are not ready to adapt to the new technology."
The temptation is to call the young man an overnight success, but he's been working on his craft for a full decade, says Dann, who is the son of Iranian immigrants who left after the 1979 Revolution.