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Local Austin musician Daniel Fears talks musical inspiration and SXSW performance

Local Austin musician Daniel Fears is gearing up to perform at South by Southwest next week.

AUSTIN, Texas — Local Austin musician Daniel Fears is not defined by one genre of music, thanks to one of his former music teachers.

"I had a teacher who would play with the Houston Symphony," Fears said. “He would play with salsa bands, he would play with churches or Broadway-type shows and it could be with any one of those groups, at any night.”

This became an inspiration to Fears in his process of creating music.

“I just saw that and was like, 'That looks cool. He gets to do what he wants to do and he's not held back by one style. He gets to play whatever he wants to.' And I think that really inspired what I do now,” he said.

Now Fears has some inspiration of his own for his new music.

“I think from my recent stuff, music from the '70s,” Fears said. “I was really listening to a lot of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder and people who've come from that, people like John Legend, people like D’Angelo.”

Fears is getting ready to play at South by Southwest (SXSW) next week with his quartet of bass, guitar, drums and himself on keys, trombone and vocals. Although he isn't new to the SXSW stage, this will be his first time performing his own music.

“It’s really exciting,” Fears said, "And not just to play the music. I think that's what gets you in the door, but to show people what I’m working on and allow people to like come on board and help if they want to."

Fears is even in the process of reimagining his original songs with a string ensemble. The idea came almost a year ago when someone approached him after a performance wanting to write strings for his music. After talking, they decided to make that music and show a reality.

"What if we just do a whole song with just strings, like reimagine my music with just strings?" Fears said. “And then, well, what if we made, like, a whole show out of that? And so that's what we're doing.”

But in everything Fears creates, he is driven by his passion for music.

“When I’m making it, when I’m performing it, it's giving me life,” Fears said. “When I’m sharing it with other people, I can see it's bringing them to life too, and that feeling is really addicting. It's like, some kind of positive force. It's a small thing, but it's a positive force in the world, so I got to keep going.”

Fears’ SXSW performance will be on March 16 at 8 p.m., and the strings event will be on April 8. You can find more information on Daniel Fears' website.

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