Dan Hannaford looking like star material.
Dan Hannaford looking like star material.

Ballina musician on way to stardom

A BALLINA musician has managed to catch the eye of Madonna’s career guru, win a prestigious music industry award, and launch a new EP – all in the space of six months.

Dan Hannaford, a former Ballina High student, has spent the past few months touring the Northern Rivers’ live music hot spots, as well as making a name for himself on the Gold Coast.

Moving on from his days working for the Ballina Shire Council ‘cleaning toilets to pay his way through Southern Cross University’, the blues, roots and folk solo musician recently won a Sony Star Development Deal in Melbourne.

Mr Hannaford was invited to a music workshop where he was hand picked out of 300 other singer/songwriters by a panel of influential industry figures, including American Seymour Stein, who is responsible for launching the careers of Madonna and Fleetwood Mac, and he was awarded the development deal.

The 32-year-old admits it wasn’t as hard as he thought.

“It happened a lot quicker than I thought it would,” the father-of-one said.

“It is just all about ringing venues and hassling them for a chance – that is the hardest part. Playing the gig is easy.

“When I won the Sony Deal I got a week in the recording studio where I got to do whatever I wanted. I got my new EP out of that and Seymour Stein asked me to send it to him in New York.”

Growing up with a father as a preacher, he was no stranger to playing the organ, singing in the choir and listening to a lot of ‘church music’.

More recently, Mr Hannaford has formed an acoustic duo called Hannaford and Clay, which performed at the Byron Bay Blues Festival this year after winning the Byron Bay Busking Competition.

A keen fisher and seasoned surfer, Mr Hannaford has recently moved into an ‘A-frame cottage with awesome acoustics’ on the Gold Coast with his wife and three-year-old daughter Imani, who is his inspiration.

“I can spend half an hour with her and have all the material I need,” he said.

“She is amazing.”

Dan Hannaford will be playing at the Australian Hotel in Ballina on Saturday from 7pm.

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