It’s impossible not to feel the heartstrings get tugged when listening to South East London’s Dayo Bello’s debut EP, 360, which came out last October. We caught up with him to find out about a few songs that have influenced his latest works.
Dayo Bello is a Singer-Songwriter aged just 20, who started out playing the drums in church and singing in the choir. After experimenting with his own music in his bedroom it all grew to form his first online release, Mine & You. He spend a lot of his early life moving homes bumping into different music influences along the way like Soul, RnB, Grime and Gospel music. His own, unique writing style of poetry into melody allows him to produce music that is very personal to him and relatable to others.
The EP features 6-songs that bookmark Bello’s first moves in the music industry since leaving Croydon’s famous Brits School. If you’ve already been following his movements you will have already fallen in love with with his soulful croons on Mine, You & Something To U. Looking ahead to today’s release you’ll bump into new single Echo, which like the tracks released before, feature the newcomer’s same fragile vulnerability he inputs into his songwriting.
“Echo is a song I wrote with my good friend Darryl Dodoo and it is about displaying my vulnerability and battle with depression” explains Bello, continuing “The song is about feeling alone and feeling so helpless that no one can get to you positively. I use real life examples like even when they called for me and told me words that could help, it all sounded like an echo and all their words just bounced off a bubble I have around me. Shielding me. Often holding me back.”
We caught up with Dayo to find about a few tracks that have influenced his new EP 360.
John Mayer – Slow Dancing In A Burning Room
This song is sensational. I first heard this when I was 16 years old and from the very first time I heard it, it influenced my sound and created a foundation for how I wanted to deliver my songs. I love the space in the whole track. The vocals are spaced perfectly and so are the guitar riffs and solos. Everything about all the parts in this song are delivered with such intention. The backing vocals are so gentle and have a spaced out reverb that adds to the peace atmosphere that the tones of the guitars provide to the song also. I love the way the band play together to create a smooth and gentle song where they all sit in a steady pocket that just feels right. I don’t know if John Mayer, Steve Jordan and Pino Palladino recorded the song all at once together but hearing this song inspired me to capture a live experience throughout my songs like in my song “Something To You” where my band played all at once and we went with one full take.
Frank Ocean – Chanel
Frank Ocean is an artist who I respect so much. I love and enjoy his songwriting, melodies and delivery more than 99.9% of artists I’ve ever heard and will ever hear. In “Chanel”, I love all the layers in his vocal and the creativity of the instrumental. Every part is well thought out. In my EP, across all the songs, I also play around with many vocal layers. I love how the main lyric is a play in words/simile, “I see both sides like Chanel”. I remember when I first heard it I just thought again about how much I love Frank’s writing. He can say something so simple, but his delivery and the context in which he says it just resonates, and you just feel like you get him. I love how whenever I hear that line it’s so visual to me in many ways. Whenever I’ve heard Frank’s writing, since Nostalgia Ultra, I picture his lyrics as visual poems as they paint pictures in my mind and each lyric is so intentional. When writing songs I actually write them down as poems first. Most of my songs started out as poems without an instrumental then I made an instrumental around the power in order to really put a focus on what message I’m trying to deliver.
Coldplay – O
Coldplay are one of my favourite songs. I first heard this song when volunteering at St. Christopher’s Hospice which is an home for the elderly and my friend Rhyan sang this song to entertain the residents. When I heard it, it took me to weird place. The simpleness of the lyrics and the perfectly shaped and rich melodies made me feel calm and emotional. I really felt the lyrics through the beautiful melodies and just the fact that it was just piano and vocal for the majority of the song. This led to me focussing on writing simple, emotive and heartfelt lyrics with strong yet gentle melodies that would touch the listener. This song is a close link to my song “Echo” on my EP where I sing about my struggle with sadness – a huge chunk of the song is just my vocal accompanied by an upright piano.
Kendrick Lamar – Element
Kendrick Lamar is one of my favourite artists of all time. I respect his artistry so much and Good Kid Maad City was the first rap album I ever listened to from top to tail. When DAMN. came out, this was the song that I had on loop. He was so vulnerable in the battles that go on in his mind in this whole album but the way he delivered his thoughts on this song touched me the most. The instrumental is quite dark yet has a head-knocking bounce and the lyrics are so catchy. This has influenced my sound in a way that I like to deliver my pain and thoughts in my songs in a way that’s not sad and dull but creative.
Labrinth – Jealous
I love how Labrinth uses his vocal abilities along with sweet melodies and heartfelt lyrics to paint such a strong feeling that I feel like we’ve all felt before (jealousy). I feel like this song includes aspects from all the songs I’ve spoken about above in many ways like the fact that the instrumental used a bunch of live instruments, the various effects on the vocals combining with the wet layers of the backing vocals along with the dryness of the lead vocal and the subject of the song being very passionate. This is one of my most favourite songs. It’s so complex in many ways yet the message is so simple to the ear. It includes many aspects about what I love about making music and I feel like has helped to influence my sound.