New single from Margaret River artist, Brightsider, aka Dan White, ‘The Best Things In Life Come Easy, Right?’ is built on a woozy, laid back melody and lyrical delivery overlaying a trippy RnB beat. White makes it sound all so very easy while he sings about the struggle and pain we’re born into and wishing he could quit his daily grind. In his Brightsider incarnation we have a latter-day Michael Franti, spinning funky musical webs while hitting hard with the lyrical content. Instantly memorable, this single is a must have for the soundtrack to summer 2021.
If one has to be addicted to something, there are worse things to choose that the draw of creative endeavour.
Around The Sound spoke to songwriter and producer, White, who formerly made music and waves with Blue Child Collective and is Director of the WA Guitar Festival, about the new single and what we can expect from Brightsider.
White wound up Blue Child Collective in January this year, posting a loving farewell on the band’s Facebook page to the outfit he started in 2014, the colleagues he created with and the good times had along the way. White opened his post by saying, “This last year has been a massive time of reflection for me, as it has been for many, and a time to open up to new things. I’ve been working on heaps of new music, learning new instruments + skills and exploring new sounds, which has been super exciting and fresh for me.” So, it seemed fitting to begin our conversation looking back for a moment and also reflecting on White’s urge to create.
“I think we just have to keep it fresh you know,” said White, “especially being a self-managed artist. If you’re not driven or you’re not feeling the froth then who is? We’d (Blue Child Collective) been going six to six and half years and I felt I needed to take things in a different direction.”
You get a strong sense of restlessness when you talk to White. This is an artist with his eyes constantly focused on new horizons.
“I was never one to take things slowly,” said White. “Even with Blue Child Collective, we put out those first EPs in the first 18 months. I just wanted to content out there for people to listen to, you know? That’s my job.”
Announcing that, with Brightsider, he will be releasing a new song on the first Friday of every month this year, White wasn’t just bigging himself up when he said he’s never been one to take things slowly. This is a man on a high-octane mission to bring new music to the world.
As an independent artist, that means White currently plays most of the roles required to bring new music to the masses himself, including gauging audience reaction: “Yeah the response so far has been great,” as well as distribution and public relations: “I’m just working on jumping on a bunch of playlists today and kind of doing the PR thing to really get the ball rolling.”
Having relayed to White our admiration for his new track, we asked him for his thoughts, zeroing in on the title. Did he mean it, or was he being ironic?
“There’s a question mark after ‘Right’, it’s kind of like I’m still trying to decide,” White replied with a bit of a chuckle. “I wrote it when I was on a holiday about a year ago, I’d been going pretty hard at it with the first [West Australian] Guitar Festival and it was kind of this moment that I had where I wasn’t actually doing any work, I was kind of finally putting my feet up and all these things that I’ve been trying to make happen all year long were kind of starting to fall into place. It’s actually really good to just stop for a second to take stock of what you have achieved and then kind of, I don’t know… because I’m not one sit around and twiddle my thumbs.”
What White meant to say, of course, was just get your head down and keep creating, keep putting out new music.
And, how’s he feeling about that? “I’m really excited,” said White. “I think I’ve shifted my view on [my work], you know. I’ve got the balance a lot better in terms of being glued to my laptop to do the things that I have to do is a self-managed artist, festival director, etcetera, but at the same time I think I’m getting that balance. It makes it more fun and you kind of learn to prioritise the good bits and delegate the bits that you don’t enjoy as much and find people who want to do that because it’s their jam. It’s hard to achieve, because, to be honest, I’m a bit of a work addict, so it’s kind of hard to stop.”
If one has to be addicted to something, there are worse things to choose that the draw of creative endeavour. Given White’s previous body of work and the buzz around Brightsider, we can only strongly encourage him to nurture his particular addiction and keep his output levels high. The world will continue to be a better place for it.
Based on the first single, Brightsider will bring us sunny grooves wrapped around insightful lyrical content. There’s a certain familiarity about ‘The Best Things In Life Come Easy, Right?’, which is inevitable given that it is deeply rooted in soul and R&B, but there’s also a uniquely Aussie flavour to the music. Reflecting on this, White said, “I can’t run from my roots. I’m just trying to do something a bit different and, you know, keep it very personal and craft my own sound that’s somewhat unique, but I guess not being too far left field.”
That’s quite the balancing act White is aiming for, but based on what we’ve seen so far, he’s more than capable of pulling it off.
Listen to ‘The Best Things In Life Come Easy, Right?’ here.
Brightsider will start lighting up stages around WA with appearances at Denmark Sundowners (Feb 21), The Quarry, Perth (March 5) and The River, Margaret River (April 3).