By Laura Latzko, April 2017 Web Exclusive.
He’s a family man, a veteran, a doctoral student and an emerging local singer/songwriter. And, no matter how much of his time his three children, his partner, his full-time job, his studies demand, Daniel Diaz always finds time for his music.
As a native of New York, he’s used to always being on the go, but it’s his dedication to and passion for this creative art form that will lead him to the Pride stage for the first time this year.
Diaz will hit the Phoenix Pride Festival’s Bistro Stage from 4 to 4:45 p.m. April 2. (For Echo‘s complete Pride weekend coverage, click here.)
Echo Magazine caught up with Diaz ahead of his performance and here’s what he had to say.
Echo: Tell me a little bit more about yourself and your musical background?
Diaz: I’ve been playing guitar since I was about 14. I taught myself [by] just looking up different chords [online] and buying DVDs. I’ve been singing since the same time frame. I was in the New York City Harlem Boys Choir … for a while when I was younger.
I’ve always been interested in music and always wanted to do it, practice it and learn more about it. I’m always trying to involve myself in some shape or form. Even though life gets busy, I still want to achieve my goal of completing an album, even if it’s at my own expense … even if it takes 10 years. I want to be an example, especially for my kids.
Echo: Is your job music-related?
Diaz: I’m a trainer with Nationwide [Insurance]. I’ve been doing that for almost three years. Before that, I was with the Arizona National Guard. I was working with them full-time for about four years, and I have 12 years of military experience as well. Even with the military, whenever they’ve done talent shows, any chance that I’ve gotten to sing and perform, I’ve done it.
Echo: What did you grow up listening to?
Diaz: I’m a big ’90s kid, so Britney [Spears], Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, O-Town. Anything ’90s pop and ’90s rock. Creed, Pearl Jam.
Echo: As a songwriter, what has inspired you?
Diaz: One of the recent things that has inspired me is my family, of course. Not everything is always hunky-dory with them. Sometimes you have the hard times, and sometimes you have the good times, but there’s always a little bit of hope and inspiration, even in the darkness.
Echo: Do you consider your music spiritual in nature?
Diaz: I do consider myself very spiritual. The first through eighth grade for me was [going to] Catholic church, so I know all of the Catholic songs … I’ve even tried out Wicca a little bit and Buddhism … I just try to go into everything with an open mind.
Echo: When did you start writing your own music?
Diaz: I’ve always written my own songs. I’ve always wanted to write, so I started playing with the intention of writing. As I was learning chords, I was trying to pick out melodies in my head.
Echo: What do you hope that audiences at Phoenix Pride take away from your performance?
Diaz: Definitely hope. We don’t know what kind of darkness is coming and what other things the future might hold that might be negative or that might change. As long as we have hope to hold onto, we’ll find a way.
Echo: With the album you are working on, does it have a similar theme of hope as the music you’ve recorded so far?
Diaz: It’s not so much [just] a message for others, but it’s also a message for myself. Because I have many doubts, too. I have times when I don’t think I’m good enough for anything, and I have to find the hope in myself to move forward and push on.
For more on Daniel and his music, visit reverbnation.com/danieldiaz623?profile_view_source=header_icon_nav.
Phoenix Pride Festival’s Bistro Stage
4 to 4:45 p.m. April 1