No more bad days

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 October, 2007, 12:00am

You may not know his name, but you've almost certainly heard his song Bad Day, a piano pop tune chosen by Coca Cola for their ad campaign and voted Billboard Song of the Year in 2006.

This debut catapulted Canadian songwriter and pianist Daniel Powter to fame. Unlike many overnight successes, however, he modestly credits his success to his mother's passion for music.

'It was music that chose me rather than my choosing music. My mother is a piano teacher and she showed me the world of music. I started playing piano with her when I was four. She played classical piano pieces, as well as the hit songs of famous singers such as Elton John,' Powter says.

Interestingly, Powter wanted to be a police officer rather

than a musician when he was little. But music has always been his favourite way of communicating.

'The first time I wrote a song was for a girl that I liked. I was 16 then, but she didn't like it,' says the 36-year-old singer.

Music later became a crucial part of Powter's life, rescuing him from eight years of serious drug addiction. He wrote Bad Day as he recovered from his addiction, pouring his bitter but hopeful feelings into the music.

'I desperately needed something to make me feel better and look for positive sides. Music was my only outlet. I wrote [Bad Day] honestly because it was all for me.'

Powter never expected Bad Day to be such a huge success, but he thinks part of the reason is that it strikes a chord with listeners.

'People facing their own difficulties can relate to the song ... It's kind of self-duplicating.'

Now Powter is working on his new record, due out next spring, with famous producer Linda Perry. This time he has been inspired by other people.

'I isolated myself and avoided people when I produced the last album, Love You Lately. I thought people didn't like me then, so I composed the songs entirely based on how I was feeling.

'Now I'm completely the opposite. I love to interact with people and listen to their stories. It's the people I've met who inspire me to write songs.'

This change is mostly attributed to his intensive travel over the past two years. It is also what he likes best about his job.

'It's amazing to go on tour and meet people in different places. I wouldn't have had a chance to come to Hong Kong like this if I wasn't a singer.'

Powter has only one complaint about being a super star: 'You easily become self-absorbed in your own world. Everyone revolves around you, and you're too busy to working tightly-packed schedules. It's hard to squeeze in time to share with or care about others.'

Powter has some crucial advice for anyone hoping to get into the music industry: write your own songs.

'Your music contains your message and your spirit. It comes from your soul. Let the instrument guide you and be your voice. Distinguished singers are those who are able to write their own songs.'