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  • Victoria Applegarth

Meet Dan Aura, the Up-And-Coming Pop Star Poised To Conquer Hearts All Over the World

“Representation is much more important to people than we think” - Dan Aura is reflecting on queer love, loss and relationships in his latest EP, ‘Where It Hurts.’

As a kid, Dan was constantly surrounded by music. His dad’s huge vinyl collection opened his eyes to an eclectic mix of genres and artists, including Nirvana, Chaka Khan and Prince. Despite this, singing wasn’t always something he wanted to pursue. From gymnastics to tennis to trampolining, it wasn’t until he picked music as a GCSE, did his passion flourish. It was then that he began writing songs and filming videos; “Which were all awful by the way,” he admits. Then, at the age of 16, he courageously moved to Brighton to commit to his craft full-time. Seven years on, the twenty-three-year-old, now London-based artist has established himself as one to watch in the UK pop scene. 

Bursting into the industry with dreamy pop singles, “Changes” and “Hate It”, he has since gone from strength to strength, and on May 17th released his highly anticipated new EP ‘Where It Hurts’. Speaking on the EP, Dan remarks that he is entering new territory, one that is more mature and deeply rooted in his love for self-expression and unbridled authenticity. Since the release of his last EP, ‘Plastic’, in 2021, “I’ve learned a lot about myself and the type of person I am…I’m grateful I get to share my growth with the world because everyone starts somewhere,” the singer explains. 

The four tracks deliver sonic excellence and reveal the young artist’s innate ability to evoke emotion in his listeners by candidly sharing and reflecting on his own experiences of heartbreak and adversity. “I hope some people can take something from those songs, and hopefully make them feel less alone and heard.” It is clear to see that he is already developing an eclectic sound, enhanced by his soothing vocals that convey a maturity beyond his years. 

Below, we catch up with Dan about all things authenticity, networking and collaboration.

How do you hope listeners connect with your EP on a personal level? What emotions or experiences do you aim to evoke through your songs? 

I think it’s important for me to have a mixture of songs. I want people to feel something, but I also don’t want to make them sad for the rest of the day. I think this project has such a good balance of songs you can shout to, dance to and cry to.

What does your EP cover represent? 

I’ve always been quite visual as an artist because for me personally the art that is tied to the music can completely change how you hear the song. For the EP, I wanted the art to represent fortitude and I’m really happy with how it turned out. For me, ‘Where It Hurts’ is about pulling the plaster off and wanting someone to hurt you now before it hurts even more in the future.

You've collaborated with SAKIMA, known for his work on the certified platinum song "You" by Regard featuring Troye Sivan and Tate McRae. What was it like working with SAKIMA, and how has that collaboration influenced your approach to music? 

I love SAKIMA! We got along well from the first time we met actually, and then we started to work together shortly after that on a number of different songs. He's got something special that just makes me super comfortable. I’ve learnt that it’s not always so black and white. I usually write verse, and chorus with set chords, but when we’re in the studio he’s always thinking of somewhere interesting to go, and what we can try to make it really stand out. I’ll say that implementing this in my songwriting has really helped me push my music to the next level.

Your music has addressed important topics, such as gender stereotypes and what it means to be an LGBTQIA+ person in today's society. How do you believe music serves as a powerful tool for addressing social issues and what role do you believe musicians and artists have in promoting inclusivity and acceptance within the industry and society at large? 

It’s always been a fine line for me because, for many, music is a place where they can escape from everyday issues that we face in our own lives, and a lot of people say it shouldn’t be political for numerous reasons. I try to bring my own queer experience into my music because I know that's what young me would have loved to see in the charts and mainstream media; representation is much more important to people than we think.

I don’t believe there should be pressure on artists, but I do believe that if you have the space to promote something close to your heart, or even share your experience, if it can help people or make them feel seen you absolutely should.

Your music is rooted in self-expression and vulnerability. How do you navigate expressing yourself authentically through your music and songwriting and how do you balance sharing deeply personal experiences with maintaining a sense of privacy, particularly in the online world? 

I’m usually quite a private person when it comes to relationships and my personal life, as I’ve had public relationships in the past and it has really affected me. I try not to look at comments and forums, but sometimes I slip in and it’s really not good for your brain to read random people’s opinions of you on the internet. 

I’ve found that expressing myself through my lyrics really helps me, and I think part of the reason I became a songwriter is because it’s like free therapy, you should try it.

Being an up-and-coming creative can be so challenging, both due to external factors but also internal struggles such as imposter syndrome, feeling constant pressure etc. What obstacles do you face, and how are you overcoming them? 

Honestly, I struggle quite a lot, especially being independent. It can feel quite overwhelming and lonely and I’m still trying to figure out how to battle it. Being creative is a blessing and a curse until you become super successful - shows where people don’t show up, creative blocks, spiralling, but I genuinely believe it will all be worth it in the end.

How do you navigate networking and building connections within the music scene in London, which can often feel quite competitive? 

I feel like it gets easier the longer you do it. I've been doing it since I was about 17 so I definitely feel more comfortable introducing myself and telling people about my music, and I genuinely believe it can be one of the most important parts of building your name/brand. It’s really competitive, but you have to remember that there is not one person in this world who does exactly what you do.

As a young artist in the music industry, what advice would you give to others who are striving to express themselves authentically through their art and navigate their own journeys of self-discovery? 

Fail faster and harder, it sounds cliche but the more things you do that are completely out of your comfort zone, the quicker you’ll find what you really excel at, think of it as trial and error but with your own life.

How do you see your music evolving in the future, and are there any particular themes or messages you're excited to explore in your upcoming projects? 

More queer, high energy, and silly! I think I take music too seriously sometimes so the next era is definitely about being hot and living life to the max (and maybe a smidge of heartbreak).

I think over the next year my music is going to completely change. I'm at the point where I think I’ve found what really makes me happy as an artist, and I need to remind myself that it’s okay that it’s taken me this long. Expect some big music from me next…

Poised to conquer hearts all over the world, Dan infuses his tracks with vivacious energy and honest lyrics that offer an insight into his adolescence growing up in a conservative town and his experiences of queer love, loss and relationships. Seamlessly blending euphoria and melancholy, ‘Where It Hurts’, reveals a message rooted in self-empowerment, emphasising that you are not defined by what you’ve been through in the past. What is undeniable is the charged energy permeating his new body of work and we, certainly, cannot stop listening to the dreamy pop melodies

Follow Dan on Instagram, Tiktok and Youtube and listen to his EP, ’Where It Hurts’, on all major streaming platforms.


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