Joel Daniel wants to help local musicians get their break—and, in turn, break Davis into the list of cities around the country known for its local artists. “Our goal is to raise public consciousness … to create a space where musicians can get better. And a space for local music to thrive.”
After receiving a grant from the City of Davis himself in the fall of 2019 to record his album, Daniel founded the Davis Independent Music Initiative (DIMI). Its mission is to work with the City of Davis Arts & Cultural Affairs office to ensure that funds will be designated each and every year to support an artist or band residing in Davis who is looking to further their career.
The city took him up on his proposal for the Initiative and has made $6,500 available to the grant-winning artist or band who will write, record, and present a new, original musical work for the community and world to appreciate.
Might that be you? Or someone you know? Daniel is hoping to get the word out: Applications are due by March—from which point a committee consisting of members of the Davis community will evaluate all applications and announce a recipient. The successful applicant will then have two years to complete their work. (Download the full application here, or find more information on the DIMI website, https://www.davisimi.com/.) Beyond the funding, the opportunity brings with it invaluable opportunities to connect with others involved in producing and promoting music in town.
Daniel received the first DIMI grant in the fall of 2019, and is well on the way to producing what he calls his first “grownup” solo album. Working with producer Max Hart (a DJUSD and UCD alum who is on hiatus from touring with Melissa Etheridge), Daniel expects to deliver a new work, hosted for free for the Davis Community, by next summer.
While he has been writing and performing in bands for much longer, Daniel is perhaps best known locally for the children’s songs he has written and performed since 2007 with The Hoots. He credits those years of experience writing for and performing in front of kids for an understanding of execution—what it takes to start a project and see it to its completion—as well as a helpful level of humility when it comes to asking for help.
He went to the city with these years of experience and the thought that he could help other artists and, in the process, give back to the community by fostering more music coming out of Davis. “This was something I thought of that I could pull off alone—writing and overseeing the making of a new work, and teaching folks about the process—but also something I felt could lead to something longer lasting…what I hope is a viable path forward to having more new and better quality music come from town.”
To further support its mission, DIMI hosts a communal songwriting workshop called “Song Dr.” every first and third Wednesday of the month, at 8 PM, over Zoom. “There are artists working in a range of genres,” says Daniel, who says the group draws newcomers every month and who hopes others will not be intimidated to join.
These workshops, along with the new grant—which specifies that the recipient should make their final album available to the community and endeavor to perform their final work live—are all part of the Initiative’s effort to create the conditions for a thriving local music scene.
To this end, the Davis Live Music Collective has agreed to work with any successful applicants in promoting live shows once they can happen again. Daniel is hopeful that there will be a “renewed energy” for live music when the pandemic is subdued, and the combined network of DIMI and the DLMC, with this funding from the city, will be exactly what is needed.
“Musicians come from a place and are an important part of a city’s culture,” says Daniel. They need our community’s support.
How to apply: Grant applications are due by March 1, 2021 by 5:00 PM PST to firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more information on the DIMI website, including a downloadable application with a list of eligibility requirements: https://www.davisimi.com/dimi-grant
Join the DIMI facebook group for further updates on this and the Song Dr. workshop.
Thank you to DIMI and the City of Davis Arts & Cultural Affairs for their support!