Previously attending Royal College of Music and winning Open Mic UK, singer-songwriter Denis Coleman is now part of The Power of Muzik as a brand ambassador supporting mental health and has recorded original music including his newly-released single, Imperfect. Recently supporting The Vamps on their Four Corners tour, Denis is heading out on his own headline shows next month after touring Europe with New Hope Club starting next week. Catching up with Denis, we talk about touring with The Vamps, his single releases and his upcoming headline shows.
When did you start performing and who did you grow up listening to?
I started performing when I was five on the violin, initially to friends and family and small groups and then as a student at the Royal College of Music Junior department to large audiences. I only really started performing as a pop artist about a year ago, before that it was all classical violin recitals and having other people play music I had composed. As a kid it was a combination of golden age hip hop (1990-2000s), classical music and a lot of soul and Motown, people like Marvin Gaye and the Gap Band. I definitely feel like I’m influenced by all of these genres and artists.
How long have you been writing your own music and do you remember the first song you wrote?
I started making beats and writing violin melodies when I was seven and wrote my first song when I was twelve! I definitely remember it – it was a really special moment for me, as it was the first time I had directly put something that had happened in my life into music.
What do you remember about winning Open Mic UK?
I just remember being so grateful and blown away by what was going on! Each time I got through a round I was like, this is amazing, I’m super happy about this and would be satisfied if this is where I finished. Somehow, I kept on going and giving my all at every performance and I managed to win. When I won I was thrilled and everything that’s happened since then has been amazing!
How long did it take to write and release Imperfect and what feedback have you had from your listeners?
I wrote Imperfect in about three hours and then the subsequent recording, producing, refining and general polishing took place over the next two/three months. So far, I’ve had absolutely incredible feedback from fans, so many saying it’s helped them through tough times and just that they generally vibe with the song, which is so amazing to hear and I really appreciate all their support!
How was it releasing your debut single YOU last year?
It was a really exciting time! It was the first proper piece of work I shared with the world and really had no idea how it would turn out so it was a little stressful but overall really exciting! I remember staying up until early morning making sure all the pieces were where they needed to be and that everything was ready to go in the week leading up to release!
Where have you studied music and what instruments can you play?
I used to study at the Royal College of Music, a music conservatory in London, and it was incredible to be surrounded by so many talented and inspiring people. There I studied violin, viola, and composition and over the years I’ve taught myself ukelele, guitar, bass, drums and piano!
What was it like opening for The Vamps on their Four Corners tour?
It was a dream come true! I had seen them play at The O2 Arena the year earlier, before being in the music industry at all really, and then to perform on that same stage with them just one year later was crazy! Even better, The Vamps, HRVY, New Hope Club and everyone else on tour were so nice which was great!
What can audiences look forward to for your upcoming tour?
My old tracks, some exclusive previews of new ones, a new cover, and possibly me playing some other instruments as well!
Have you already planned your setlist for these shows and will you be including songs you haven’t performed to an audience previously?
I’m still finalising some lists, as I’m in the studio a lot right now and a new track could be written any second! Otherwise, though it’s almost finalised, and there definitely will be AT LEAST one never heard before track in there!
What do you enjoy about touring?
Performing is one of my passions and so that’s amazing for me. I like the company as well, and the focus and drive everyone on tour has creates a really inspiring environment to be in. I also get to meet so many incredible people and see a lot of the world!
Apart from your tour, where will you be performing during the summer?
I’ll be performing at Also Festival and Wellies and Wristbands Festival and as a support act on New Hope Club’s tour.
You are part of The Power of Muzik, can you say more about this?
It’s a really great campaign about spreading awareness for mental health issues through music! This is something really important to me, especially as several of my friends have gone through some of these things before, and I think it’s so important to make people more aware of it and how to deal with these issues.
What does being a brand ambassador for the company involve?
It means that I speak to people all around the country about mental health and music and I’ve also spoken about it on radio as well!
What advice would you give young musicians wanting a music career?
I would say to never give up, it often takes a lot of time and effort before any results show, but it’s important to put in that effort because eventually, it does pay off. Also, get your voice out there!! Do competitions, post on Soundcloud, post on Instagram, do anything and everything you can to get your voice out there!
Do you have any music releases planned for the next few months?
Yes, my next single is coming out very soon, and an EP will be released this fall!
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