Music to Our Ears: Why Tree & Leaf Matters, and Why Daniel Fox is a Name You Should Know

By August 24, 2016 No Comments

This week we’re doing something we’ve never done before here on the STS blog.  In fact, this entire week has been filled with firsts for us. Let me back up and fill you in for a second. This week, we announced a partnership with up-and-coming recording artist, Daniel Fox. He dedicated his EP, Tree & Leaf, to Stronger Than Stigma™ and promised to donate 100{c89cd7f4fa26d16537b3fe779361f4468ca92e80ef52e309b9ca31cbc1af2626} of the proceeds from album downloads to us. Basically, he is his our hero. I had the opportunity, as Blog Editor-in-Chief, to “virtually” sit down with Daniel and ask him a few burning questions so that we could all get to know each other better. Below you’ll find my interview. But before you read that, go on over to https://danielfoxmusic.bandcamp.com/releases and hit “download,” to check out Daniel’s incredible work and support our mission. It’s $4 and will provide you with endless amounts of musical joy and good karma! Thanks guys! Enjoy.


Emma (E): Where are you originally from?

Daniel (D): I grew up in Huntsville, AL, which is home to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. There’s a big NASA presence there. I’ve been living in Birmingham, AL for the last 5 years.

E: What was the first CD/album you ever bought?

D: Growing up, my family was not keen on rock music. I vividly remember my first rock album purchase, Pillar’s Where Do We Go From Here?, which I bought on iTunes and then covertly snuck to my bedroom and listened to under the covers. The album itself is very benign in terms of content, but because it was hard rock it was a great little rebellion for me.

E: Favorite guilty-pleasure musician:

D: Justin Timberlake for days.

E: Do you remember what song you did your first slow dance to?

D: No – but mostly because I was so mind-blown about holding a girl for three minutes.

E: Name three things that help you with your creative process:


  1. Binge listening – I’ll create myself a playlist of 5-10 hours of a new genre of music and not allow myself to play an instrument until I’m done with it. By the time it’s over I’m itching to write, and I usually have lots of new ideas.
  2. Voice Memos – Anytime I sit down to play an instrument I’ll record two or three minutes of whatever musical idea I’m toying with at the time. I have 30+ hours of these recordings, and I often go to them if I want to spark a new idea.
  3. No judgment – When I’m writing, I’m writing. When I’m editing, I’m editing. I try and never let the critical editing thoughts creep in while I’m writing, as that is a sure-fire way to freeze myself up and achieve creative paralysis.

E: Are there themes in your music that you return to, no matter the goal of the overall album? Why or why not?

D: I can’t say that there is. In each of the albums I’ve written I’ve held to strict thematic guidelines in order to distinguish each work as much as possible from the previous one. I think if there is an overall unitive principle at work, it will probably be for someone else to discover through listening. I may be too close to the whole process to get enough critical distance to make those judgments.

E: Can you tell us what inspired you to write the music for Tree & Leaf and how (if at all) it’s different from previous work?

D: My first album project, which was unreleased, was a country western concept album about an adventurer in the Wild West. The second, entitled Fugitives, was for a rock band I was in called Color Clear. Each of those songs was about a different kind of person running from the law. I think Tree & Leaf is different from these because it’s more personal – it’s my story, so to speak. I was dealing with some very extreme depression during the writing and recording process of these songs. It gives me a lot of hope during dark times to acknowledge that my small story is only a part of the grander cycles of life and death that go on in the world. They happened before I got here and they will continue once I’m gone. Tree & Leaf is, in a large part, an exercise in projecting myself into each of those stages of life – birth, growing up, flourishing, decline, and death. By fitting myself into that greater picture, I have a sense of “closure” about my own life. Mentally situating myself in the midst of a much bigger picture of life and death helps me to tackle my own demons of depression.

E: What is your connection to Stronger Than Stigma™? That is to say, what moved you to consider donating to our organization?

D: I heard about STS through a friend who knew Gabs. I was at a wedding making small talk and mentioned to my friend that I was embarking on recording an album. He actually had the idea of partnering with STS right out the gate. The more I learned about your organization and the work you do to empower people like me who struggle with mental health, the more I wanted to give what I have to help it happen. As it stands, the best way I can figure to give back to people like me is to contribute the proceeds of my record to a good cause. I’m proud to be able to support STS in this way.

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