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The best kept secret in music


"Local Singer Earns Right To Sing At Fenway"

Local Singer Earns Right to Sing Anthem at Fenway
By Amanda McGregor/ Chronicle Staff


Danny McClain remembers the day as an 8-year-old when he slid on his knees into his family's living room and spontaneously belted out a ballad.Now 23, Danny McClain still knows how to please a crowd, although he's had a chance to hone his skills. The Cambridge vocalist won the 2004 Boston idol, or NEXT, competition last month, and will subsequently sing the national anthem at Fenway Park on Tuesday. "I'm glad they put Boston idol together, to say the least," said McClain. The NEXT competition began May 6 and drew artists from throughout the Boston area. Mclain advanced through the rounds, and won the title on May 27 when he wowed the crowd at the competition, springing up onto the tables at a Faneuil Hall bar and melting the audience with a rendition of Johnny Gill "My My My." He then switched gears and then poured his heart into the national anthem and he knew he had won, he said. "You've got to give them a little eye candy," he recounted with a laugh as he sat a Central Square café on Friday. "Some people just sing it because they can, but you can tap into the emotion of it," said McClain of the national anthem. "As I sang '...home of the brave,' everyone began clapping, and I knew right then [that I won]." He hopes his recent success will bring him notoriety, and help springboard him into a successful recording career, mainly as an rhythm and blues artist. He also sings gospel and jazz. "It was such a great opportunity. I was networking, meeting all these cats," he said. McClain, who has lived in Cambridge since the fifth grade, graduated from Berklee College of Music in May with a degree in music business management. "It's something to fall back on just in case the music [performance] career doesn't work," he said. But he's hopeful it will. "I'm hungry, don't get me wrong. But I'm not so hungry that I'll sell myself out," said McClain. "I want to be considered not only an entertainer, but someone who sings about human experiences and feelings and opinions ... That's what I write my songs about." After graduating from the King School, McClain went to Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, graduating in 1999. Practice made perfect, he said, as he remembered vocal lessons with his manager, Tahanee Shabazz, at her Cambridge home as many as four times a week during high school. McClain also won at the Boston Music Awards in 1999. His parents and little brother moved to Georgia two years ago, but McClain plans on staying in the area, working to "put Boston on the music map." - By Amanda McGregor/ Chronicle Staff

"Swingin' 60th: Happy Berklee To You"

Swingin’ 60th: Happy Berklee to you
By Sarah Rodman
Sunday, January 29, 2006 - Updated: 12:43 AM EST

Berklee may be turning 60 but it still swings.
Last night at the Wang Theatre the Hub music college invited some alumni, friends and students to celebrate its landmark anniversary with “Three Score,” a jubilant three-hour concert that was an excellent advertisement for higher education.
Paul Simon, Gloria Estefan, Herbie Hancock, Juan Luis Guerra, Michel Camilo, Gary Burton and emcee Bill Cosby were the marquee names that led an equally esteemed group of musicians in the 63-person orchestra and band through a superb melange of pop, salsa, merengue, jazz and classical music.
The night opened with a lively overture spanning the last 60 years of music, including popular tunes by artists like the Beatles and original compositions by Berklee grads Rob Mounsey, Phillippe Saisse and Victor Vanacore.
Several vocalists - including Donna McElroy and Daniel McLain - and saxophonist Walter Beasley joined in for a spirited medley, including the sassy vocalese of “Birdland” that mostly overcame the distraction of a loudly popping amp.
’04 honorary doctorate recipient Cosby appeared in a “Berklee Football” sweatshirt, joked with musicians between sets and even joined in on a tune on vibes.
It was the kind of night where you were still forming the last “w” in “Wow!” when another act would come on to dazzle you even further.
Recent grad Esperanza Spalding blew the room away with a gloriously scatted and elegantly picked version of “Autumn Leaves” on her upright bass alongside Camilo and the outrageously gifted drummer Steve Gadd. Chiara Civello sent shivers with her sultry torch song “The Wrong Goodbye.”
Camilo - who also played with Guerra and Burton - astounded with his digital dexterity as his hands flew over the keys in his furious jazz-classical hybrid. Burton was equally impressive with his precision mallet work, zig-zagging over over his vibraphone like a magician.
Guerra got the sold-out crowd up out of its seats with his zesty merengue rhythms. Hancock explored two of the many sides of his musical personality with a contemplative jazz piece and the funkified classic “Chameleon.” Estefan also switched it up, performing her choir-backed ballad “Coming Out of the Dark” and the spicy “Mi Tierra.”
Apparently time constraints scuttled an all-hands-onstage finale, but Simon capably closed it out betraying no trace of the flu that afflicted him earlier in the week. His downy tenor was in fine form as he ran through classics like “Mrs. Robinson,” “Graceland” - joined by Hancock on piano - and “Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard.”
- Boston Herald: by Sarah Rodman

"Sunday With Liz Walker"

Sundays with Liz
Jan 21, 2006 3:22 pm US/Eastern
Response -- For January 22

(CBS4) BOSTON RESPONSE- To reply, answer, react. The way we respond to challenges can define the course of our lives or the lives of others. Today on SUNDAY we take a look at how people and communities respond to the call for involvement.

BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC- Celebrating its 60th year of preparing its students in the business of music, graduates of Berklee have become some of the industry’s greatest success stories. But the college also responds to the needs of the greater community, and the needs of its students. The NOVA Program (New Orleans Visiting Artists) provided displaced musicians from the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, the opportunity to live and work at Berklee until they could return home. Berklee also provides a number of full scholarships to students each year, many of which will be funded by proceeds of the anniversary benefit taking place on January 28. We talk to Rob Rose, Special Programs Vice President, and hear a performance from Dan McClain, a recent graduate and talented vocalist who came to Berklee on a scholarship through the City Music program.

TIMBERLAND AND THE SUDAN—A recent segment we did on the situation in the Sudan, and Liz’s visit there, got such a response from our audience, we thought it might be time for an update. Gloria White-Hammond, who recently returned from that troubled region, and the CEO of Timberland Boots, Jeffrey Swartz, join us. Swartz will tell us about his company’s commitment to supporting the people of Darfur, Sudan.

THE GREATER BOSTON INTERFAITH ORGANIZATION-- The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) is a broad-based organization which works to coalesce, train, and organize the communities of Greater Boston across all religious, racial, ethnic, class and neighborhood lines for the public good. The organization is leading the fight for affordable health care in Massachusetts. How close are we to coverage for all? We will talk to an organization leader, and meet a family struggling with the decision of paying for rent, food or prescriptions.

SUNDAY PRESENTS-Danny McClain '04, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, graduated from Berklee in 2004 with a degree in music business/management. McClain came to Berklee in 1999 through a City Music SYSTEM 5 scholarship to attend the Five-Week Summer Performance Program. An outstanding singer and performer, he was featured several times in Berklee's popular Singers Showcase concert. McClain is currently a member of the group Radiance. He also performs professionally in New York City, Atlanta, and Boston. - MMVI, CBS Broadcast Inc.


DANIEL: The Demo
Time Away
Deeds Of Love
Lucky Girl
Individuality (rough mix)


Feeling a bit camera shy



Recording artist Daniel McClain’s voice radiates mastery of R&B as it’s supposed to be heard. Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Daniel recalls the first time he acknowledged his gift. “While my aunts were listening to New Edition’s “What’s Your Name” in the living room, I came out and slid on my knees singing the song to them and this is when I realized that there’s a chance for me as a recording artist.”

With influences including Mint Condition, Guy, Michael Jackson, The Stylistics, Keith Sweat, Whitney Houston, Glenn Jones, Freddie Jackson, Luther Vandross, Bobby Womack, he set the bar high in his own singing. He holds a special place in his heart for the New Jack Swing era, and carved out a legitimate career in R&B on his own.

Daniel appeared for high profile events including Black History Month at the Massachusetts State House, The NAACP Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast Conference, The NAACP ACT-SO Program, New-Day Associates Designer of The Year Showcases (publishers of Black Men, Black Women, & Hype Hair magazines) The Diplomat Club for Tahanee’s Fashion Review Showcase, The Park Avenue Lounge, and prominent Boston venues Johnny D’s, The Enormous Room, and Slades. He also sang at the legendary Fenway Park.

Daniel, a graduate of the esteemed Berklee College of Music, has won several competitions, including WILD Radio 1 Karaoke Contest, NEXT New England’s Boston Idol Competition, and The Discovery Award at the 1999 Kahlua Boston Music Awards.

Throughout his career, Daniel has performed at events with Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler, Motown artist Latif, Lalah Hathaway, Richard Smallwood, Neena Freelon, JT & The Dirty Truth, Matt Cusson, Capitol records recording artist Javier, Tha Dead Poets, Ryan Leslie, Darcel Wilson, Gabrielle Goodman, Donna McElroy, Armsted Christian, David Balfour (keyboardist for Anthony Hamilton,) Robin McKelle, and Dennis Montgomery, III, to name a few.

With Daniel’s smooth vocal and engaging delivery, it’s no surprise he was invited to perform at the Berklee College of Music 60th Anniversary at The Wang Center; sharing the stage with legends host Bill Cosby, Herbie Hancock, Abe Laboriel, Sr., Gloria Estefan, Gary Burton, Juan Luis Guerra, Phil Ramone, Paul Simon, Steve Gadd, Walter Beasley, and many more. He was also invited to sing at the Jazz Q Festival held in St. Petersburg, Russia with fellow musicians David Fiuzenski and friends as the Heavy Groove Ensemble, emulating rock fusion and funk with songs from Me’shell Ndegeocello and Screaming Headless Torsos. Performing along side George Duke and Stanley Clark, Maceo Parker, and many more. “It was a great experience for me because they were in open arms to us and the music without any social barriers. They just wanted good music.”

Connecting with listeners of all ages, Daniel’s latest solo release features top-level performers/ producers including Mateo Laboriel, Dawaun Parker (from Dr. Dre’s camp) and Jordan Orvosh. Daniel, who wrote and produced the songs, offers a stunning and sophisticated portrayal of life’s realities and his innermost expressions. While Daniel is radio ready for today’s market, and honing a classic Rhythm & Blues taste, his music is timeless and exemplary. Along with his SOULTRON comrads (JT & The Dirty Truth, The Dead Poets, Chuck "Ducci", and Hoopla) with tireless humility and dedication, Daniel “Sky High” McClain forges a path of musical excellence and limitless potential. In his words “ It’s about the art of story telling with real "sangin’, real life, real love… Soultron music.”

(617) 223-7560