Sometimes if you want things done right, you have to do them yourself.
Daniel Hardin, a senior at West Forsyth High School, recently released his self-titled debut album and had a hand in just about every step. Hardin not only wrote the lyrics and music, but produced the album.
“It’s nine original tracks and one B.B. King cover,” Hardin said. “I played all the guitars, I played the bass and I sang on all the tracks. It took a year and a half to make, and I produced everything. I mixed all the songs; I mastered them all at the studio in my house.”
In addition to the musical side of the album, Hardin even made instruments appearing on the album, meaning he produced songs that he wrote on instruments he made.
“I worked with a luthier, and he walked me through [building an acoustic guitar],”he said. “I’ve built electric guitars before on my own; I built two guitars, and I built a bass because I didn’t have one and I wanted one. That’s all the bass you hear on the album, from one I built.
“It’s interesting … It’s kind of mind blowing.”
The CD bounces through several genres, ranging from hard rock to acoustic to instrumental. Hardin said he counted Joe Bonamassa, Foo Fighters and the song-writing ability of Mumford and Sons as influences on the album.
“I like a large range of music, and I don’t really like homogenous CDs, because one person doesn’t listen to [just] one kind of music,” Hardin said. “You don’t go to a blues concert and just listen to blues, so I thought if a CD’s like that it doesn’t matter as long as it is all centered.”
He said the response to the album has been great, even if some was unexpected.
“I got a fairly good response, especially from friends and family; there was a large variety of people who responded to it,” Hardin said. “I have no idea how, but through Apple Music I got 85 streams from Japan – all different parts of Japan – not just like a little clump where someone’s obsessed with more or something.”
Hardin described himself as a guitar player who sings rather than a singer that plays guitar – and for good reason. He first picked up acoustic guitar at 8 years old and electric at about 12, and he only started singing within the last few years.
In addition to Forsyth County and surrounding areas, Hardin has also played in Connecticut, Florida and at the historic “The Bitter End” music venue in New York City’s Greenwich Village.
Though he has taken his talent elsewhere, he attributes the ability to make an album to Jeff Keegan’s music technology class at West Forsyth and said he plans to continue making music through college.
“He taught me the basics of just working through the programs and getting a feel for a good sound,” Hardin said. “I kind of went home with it and just started practicing. I started out making electronic music, and I really didn’t have a passion for that … then I started making rock.”
Hardin’s album can be found by searching his name on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon and CDbaby. More information can be found at DanielHardinmusic.com.