New Danny Fernandes single spotlights fame’s grisly downside
Here in the cheap seats, it’s easy to be cynical about celebrity. Really, all that bellyaching about paparazzi and pesky autograph hounds? Seems like a small price to pay for the perks: entry into exclusive clubs, bills that take care of themselves, instant upgrades and so on. Yet Danny Fernandes is one celeb who will tell you straight up that it ain’t all roses, especially if you have a hedonistic streak.
The heavily inked 27-year-old’s dark new single, “Fly Again (Broken Wings)” – and especially, its companion video – shows that being a famous pop singer/songwriter and dancer, while brimming with hot chicks and chilled sauvignon blanc, can be ugly. Fernandes should know; a serious relationship tanked, he says, because of his excessive partying.
Cue the sharp intake of disbelieving breath – a famous person actually admitting to being out of control and not copping some “exhaustion” euphemism? Yup, and the goods will keep on rolling straight through to summer when Fernandes drops his hotly anticipated third album based on said meltdown. On the phone from Toronto hyping the new single, Fernandes candidly talks pain and redemption. Just don’t leave any stray coins lying around.
So the new single, “Fly Again (Broken Wings)” tips the hat to – nay, borrows a chorus from – the 1985 hit by the L.A. band Mr. Mister? How’d that happen?
I was in the studio and I had a bunch of producers playing me some records. They actually played me the “Fly Again” song but the chorus was already there. I was like, ‘I know this song’ and they were like, ‘Yeah it’s Mr. Mister.’ So I just said, ‘I’m taking it.’ It was one of those things you hear and just know is a definite hit. So I wrote the rest of it and that’s what came out of it.
There’s always a danger of messing with people’s memories when you cover songs… maybe not so much with your younger fans but older listeners might feel proprietary about that song.
Possibly but so far I’ve been getting great feedback. I feel like I am bringing the song back to life. And getting permission to make the song was easier than I thought it was going to be. Plus I understand that Mr. Mister heard the song before I released it and gave it the OK. Apparently they were impressed.
The video for the single is pretty damn dark, exploring breakups, betrayal, paparazzi on the hunt and, I think, touching on a possible overdose of drugs. What’s up with that?
I really wanted to show people that this life [celebrity life] isn’t all about glamour and money and cars. It can ruin someone’s life. When you are in a position like I am, things are given to you very easily, like going to clubs where they give you alcohol and women are hanging out. It’s easy to get caught up in these things. I got used to it and took advantage of situations. But I wanted to show people a different side of me. Plus I went through a hard time.
About two years ago I was engaged to be married and I went through a huge breakup and honestly, it was probably one of the worst times of my life. I was going out partying, drinking and doing things I shouldn’t have been doing but it was a time in my life and I guess I was going through a stage. Thank god I got out of it and had people around me who loved me enough to tell me I was doing wrong.
So why not keep that private?
Because you really have no privacy. With all the social media, everywhere I go I get spotted and people will Tweet about it or take my picture. It’s hard, so I am trying my best just to stay put. I mean, I was out getting wasted and people were documenting that.
On a brighter note, a new album is coming out in July. What’s the 411?
It’s finished. I took a year off from everything and focused on this album. I wrote the whole thing and honestly I wrote it about this whole experience, this breakup and the two years I was in a mess. Just being able to write was amazing. My label sent me away to Los Angeles and said, ‘Don’t come back until you’re done writing a whole album.’ So it was great just to get away. And there wasn’t much collaboration; most of the producers were friends of mine in Los Angeles.
Any fans in unexpected, faraway places?
Yes, Japan. I seem to have a huge following even though I’ve never toured there, though my second album, AutomaticLUV, was just released there. So I expect I will be there very soon.
Do you have any secret talents?
Actually (laughs) I am a great magician. I don’t know why but I seem to have a way with magic tricks. I can make a coin disappear!
Your background is Portuguese… have you played there and did you get a king’s welcome?
I haven’t played there yet but I know it’s coming. I have heard that (fellow Portuguese-Canadian entertainer) Nelly Furtado is treated like Michael Jackson when she goes there and I have a huge Portuguese following in Canada. Plus I speak the language.
Tell me a song you’d swap a kidney to have written yourself?
“Don’t Judge Me” by Chris Brown. Great song and he’s probably one of the best dancers in the world.