PhD studies, career spinning in control

By Janis Wallace
May 09, 2013

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Music doctoral candidate Daniel Rosen is making himself – and his sound – heard thanks to his work popping up on pop charts, songwriting contests and recording awards.

Remix EPs, EDM and FACTOR grants are not usually terms used in connection with university music programs. But, Western’s unique Popular Music Studies is anything but the usual course fare.

Its faculty, students and alumni are making waves on pop charts, songwriting contests and recording awards. And doctoral candidate Daniel Rosen is one of those making a name.

Under the name Lance Romance, he is an EDM (electronic dance music) producer whose upcoming release Hey has been signed to Champion Beats Records.

“This is my personal venture as an artist, on top of my pop writing/producing/management,” Rosen said. “You can frequently see me headlining Cobra in town, the No. 44 club in the world voted by DJ Magazine, and playing the Hoxton in Toronto. I’ve opened for heavy-hitters such as Alvin Risk, Destructo, Popeska, Stereotronique, Gareth Emery, Art Department, Ken Loi and more.”


When he’s not spinning, Rosen turns his attention to writing, producing and managing. Singer Danyka Nadeau, a third-year jazz vocal student at York University is an artist Rosen assists in all three capacities. Nadeau was featured on Tonight, by Stereotronique and Sebastian Ivarsson, on the label Monstercat, one of the world’s leading independent EDM labels.

As of April, YouTube views of the song passed 135,000.

A remix EP, called Tonight (The Remixes), was released April 8. Rosen co-wrote and produced Nadeau’s earlier hit Second Best, which was in heavy rotation on MuchMusic during Fall 2012. She won the first MuchMusic Coca-Cola Covers MMVA in 2011.

“I just thought she was really talented,” he said. “It has now turned into a great business relationship. Her voice is unique. It’s hard to find great vocalists with a unique timbre and style. That’s what drew me to her. We’ve grown together over the two years.”

The two write a great deal together. “It’s never the first song that’s the best,” Rosen said. “It’s the 100th or 500th. A lot of time Danyka brings an idea and it’s a matter of helping her mould that into a coherent finished product. Usually she initializes it because it’s her emotions she wants to express.”

She is currently working on Heartbeat, a song co-written by her and Rosen with producer/songwriter Chris Perry. Heartbeat was funded by a FACTOR grant, and the video by MuchFACT. Rosen has received four grants for his work with Nadeau. He releases independently and owns the label DRM Records.

“We release independently when we’re finished and we use mostly social media to market albums.”

Nadeau is big on social media, more than three million views on YouTube, more than 1,000 Twitter followers, 3,000 Facebook fans and 500 Instagram followers.

“It’s more accessible and where a ton of the music listening is done today. It’s also the cheapest way. You can spend to hire radio promoters and services for online blogs and newsletters, but the rate of return at this stage in a career, does not make sense. It is also rewarding to do it yourself.”

Rosen studies with Music professor Jay Hodgson. “Jay is still my biggest inspiration. He is brilliant and his research is groundbreaking for the field of musicology and popular music studies,” he said.

Rosen also teaches the introduction to desktop music production to undergraduates. “While teaching I saw myself improve as a producer. I was forced to relook into concepts I hadn’t looked at since my own undergrad. The students are inspiring. They push me to be better.”


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