One ongoing question that I have to ask myself when meditating on new music, or any art project for that matter, falls under the same umbrella as the chicken/egg debacle. Can artists honestly say that our original creations are entirely ours? What if ideas are merely a culmination of one’s past artistic influences (synonymous to one’s muse), and is that so bad?
How else might a student of jazz develop scatting ideas, without echoing some of Ella Fitzgerald’s? I wonder how different our cultural fabric might look, if it weren’t for Madonna’s, albeit, controversial music video for “Like a Prayer.” Frida Kahlo drew inspiration from her ongoing fight against polio and Mexico’s political climate – all in the name of creating self-portraits.
The zeal of Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life, the unabashed sexual energy of Bruno Mars’ “Versace on the Floor,” and the fiery passion in Prince’s “Raspberry Beret,” all come to mind when listening to Joe Daccache’s pop/R&B jams. I dare say, his music was made to address the elephant in the room through a compassionate, positive lens. With astonishing vocals similar to Sam Smith’s clean riffs, a vocal agility akin to Demi Lovato’s, and a resonance much like Zayn’s, it’s hard to believe Daccache is from this planet.
During his time at Belmont University, Daccache refined his songwriting and music business skills while also competing in the top four of Belmont’s Urban Pop showcase. More recently, he was a featured artist in a Warner Music Artist showcase and was asked to partake in an LGBTQ show right here in Music City.
Incorporating his nuanced take on religion, sexuality, and culture to his music, Daccache delivers in his latest single, “Better Days,” available everywhere as of this article. Born in Lebanon and raised in North Carolina for most of his childhood, Daccache is now thriving in Music City. With an emphasis on the story of his mother’s fight with cancer (spoiler: she is now in remission!), “Better Days” has a jump-out-of-the-pew rhythmic beat from the electronic organ and adds a whole new meaning to pop/gospel music. Daccache’s crystal clear riffs float gracefully over top the horns and piled-high background harmonies.
On top of the release of “Better Days,” keep your eyes peeled for Daccache’s tentative 2020 tour dates with Sofar Sounds and his EP release!
Stay tuned to learn more about Joe’s muse behind the EP, his touching story about leaning on his family and music in the darkest of times, and how he’s continuing to look forward and look up.
What inspired you to write “Better Days”?
Back in August, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Through this difficult season, we’ve all tried to stay strong. So strong, that my entire family hasn’t even cried together yet. My mom stays strong out of fear her tears will make us weak, and we stay strong out of fear our tears will do the same to her. A few weeks ago, I was standing at a self-checkout in Walmart when I got a text from my mom that said “Cancer Free.” She is now officially in remission!
A couple weeks before hearing the news, I wrote this song with my good friends, Autumn Buysse and Tony Chetta for my mom and for anyone who is experiencing a difficult time in their life and is unable to express their emotions. Hopefully this song helps you find peace and positivity amidst your struggle.
Love the film-oldies aesthetic on the single’s cover. Can you tell us more about the artwork you chose for “Better Days”?
Growing up, I loved hearing my mom, dad and teta (grandma) tell us about their upbringing. They grew up in Lebanon during the time of the war in the Middle East. Yet somehow, all of their stories are full of light, hope and positivity. There are so many heartbreaking stories which I won’t go into, but through all that heartbreak, they remained faithful. This song is about continuing the faith and belief that everything is going to be okay even when it feels like the world is falling.
When it came time to choose the picture, I knew I wanted it to be a picture of my mom, because after all this song was written for her! This picture was taken when my mom was living in Lebanon; during all of the heartbreak of the war, yet she was happy. She remained full of faith and hope that everything would one day be okay, and that’s the ultimate message of “Better Days.”
I took this picture to my good friend, Kendall Brower who is an incredible graphic designer, and she blew it out of the water. Kendall also did the artwork for my previous singles “2 Hot.” And “Sevy7n.”
What was your mom’s reaction like when she first heard the song?
My original plan was to play this song live for my mom at my Sofar Show in Charlotte, NC, but due to the coronavirus, that show got canceled. So, I decided to play it for her on FaceTime. I prefaced by saying to my mom, “you know I’ve been in the studio a lot lately, but I keep telling you I can’t send you what we’re doing.” Then I continued to briefly tell her about the project, and then played the song. She immediately gasped and put her hand over her mouth. We both got teary-eyed together for the first time since hearing the news. It was such a special moment we shared, especially since it came after the news that she is now in remission!
I saw that you got to perform in an LGBTQ+ night at the Mercy Lounge. What was that experience like, and how do you feel Nashville measures up compared to other cities when it comes to important cultural matters such as this?
I was honored to get to perform at the LGBTQ+ night hosted by Tyler and RNBW. Nashville is one of the most welcoming cities I’ve ever seen. From the moment you get here, you’ll be welcomed with open arms. Nashville celebrates its LGBTQ+ community in so many wonderful ways, and I’m blessed to be able to live in a city that only promotes love and positivity to its locals and tourists.
How might your writing process have differed when it came to writing such a fragile, yet uplifting song such as “Better Days” compared to some of your other work?
Honestly, when in the session, I said to my co-writer Autumn, before we begin writing, I need to explain how I feel and talk through my emotions. We closed our laptops, and I just started word vomiting everything that was going on with my mom. Autumn picked up on a passing phrase that I had said “I just can’t wait to find out my mom is cured so that I can finally be vulnerable and cry with her.” She stopped me right there and said, that right there is our main idea – “I can’t wait to cry with you.” In the session with us was the extremely talented, Tony Chetta. He is a prodigy on the piano, and began playing these beautiful uplifting chords. I started singing the melody on top of the chords, and from there everything is history. We cut all the final vocals that night after writing the song. When we played it back and heard what we had just created, we were mind-blown. We all joked saying we blacked out in the session and woke up to this. The energy in that room was crazy, and there was definitely a special bond all three of us shared. They understood and believed in my vision for the song, and I appreciate that so much.
Given how timely the release is for such a bright, take-me-to-church song in times like these, had you drawn any inspiration from the lockdown and overall state of society?
We actually had finished writing and recording the song prior to the COVID-19 crisis. It does, however, feel really nice that the timing of this release is now, because now more than ever, it’s important for us all to keep the faith and the hope alive, and to remember that better days are coming!
What can fans expect from the rest of your EP, and are you still planning on releasing it at the end of June?
Due to COVID-19, the EP has been pushed back to Fall 2020, however, there will be a single from the EP releasing in June! Without giving too much away, I have a LOTTTTT more to say. The entire EP is centered around my mom and is written for her. My hope is to deliver to the fans the light that my mom is in just 4 songs!