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Dan From Downingtown: Connecting to something bigger through music

31 January 2023

Dan From Downingtown – Photo Credit: Dominic Delore at Delore Studio

Art is about connection. It puts the human experience into words and feelings to help us feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves. And that’s exactly what Pennsylvania-based artist Dan from Downington hopes listeners take away from his newest single, “Without You,” and its accompanying music video.

Dan is a mysterious figure, depicted with a black bar across his face in photos and videos. That anonymity allows the artist to work his way into our brains. Growing up in Downingtown, PA, Dan felt like he met people from all walks of life. In and out of bands for a while, the pandemic made it possible for Dan to explore his own songwriting and home recording. Through his songs, he is able to act as a conduit; a translator between our own battered souls and the world outside.

“Without You” is an aptly-titled and potent song about loneliness. As a drum machine provides a steady beat and guitar chords pad alongside washy synths, Dan’s voice provides us with a fervent appeal for a better world; one where we keep our promises and love sticks around. Dan sings, “It’s been so long since I forgot you / and my life has fallen away.”

The listener can interpret “so long since I forgot you” in a myriad of different ways, and it’s in simple lines like these that Dan excels as a writer. There’s worlds of interpretation available, as if Dan is expressing something from his own life but also allow you to fill in the blank. And the video, directed by Dominic Delore, adds a visual despair to Dan’s loneliness. Pacing around a carport, Dan really paints a picture of someone at the end of their rope.

But, this is not where the story ends. Dan says the song, “is about the feeling of hopelessness and all being lost, as told by a person who has isolated themself. My goal is to have a listener who is feeling this way to hear the words that I am saying, feel the music in their chest, and realize that they are not actually alone.”

This shared catharsis is a worthy goal from this new artist, who I hope continues to grow and write more songs. Look out for the EP coming soon, and for now let the catchy despair of “Without You” serve as a salve for these final winter months.