In the early days of Daniel Isle Sky’s music career, which essentially started by playing piano for church functions, he still managed to make time to earn a degree in aerospace engineering. Soon, however, he was making enough money with his band to maintain at least a meager musician’s lifestyle — until the day he was fired in 2010. (“I didn’t smoke and didn’t drink enough to keep up with my bandmates,” he says.) The songs he’d been working on were later woven into his 2012 debut solo album I’m Coming Over.
- Friday, May 12, 2017, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
2930 Roosevelt Street,
After moving from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to San Diego in 2014, the acoustic troubadour spent a week studying with famed Scottish folkie Donovan, attending a master class on composition and guitar style in the Bahamas as one of seven participants chosen by Donovan, based on their song submissions. That experience had a lot to do with influencing the richly pastoral sound of Sky’s 2016 album Waiting for You, especially the title track.
“Donovan told me he liked the song so much, I should go into the studio to record it. The tempo reminded him of ‘I Saw Her Standing There.’ He called it a rock ballad and said, ‘If you play it live, be prepared for girls to throw themselves at you.’”
Sky recently self-published Lyrics and Song Stories, a 200-page full-color book that includes the lyrics and stories behind writing and recording the songs on each of his four albums. Besides his May 12 appearance, Sky plays Friday, May 19, at City Pub in City Heights (formerly known as Last Call).
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
Blind Melon, Blind Mellow. “It’s got its own, raw, honest sound. Everything sounds the same today.”
Donovan, The Essential Donovan. “iTunes has a parental advisory for explicit content on it. Really? What on Earth for?”
REM, eponymous. “Early REM before they got popular. Less commercial.”
ANYTHING YOU WERE EMBARRASSED TO MENTION?
“One of my favorite bands was Abba. I’ve got the Abba Gold CD.”
WHO ELSE DO YOU HATE TO LOVE?
“Taylor Swift. Too many of her songs. But they play them so much, they grow on you.”
EASIEST WAY TO A MUSICIAN’S HEART?
“We’re easy — just tell us you like our music. It’s not hard to be our friends.”
BEST THING YOU EVER HAD TO LET GO OF?
“I forgot her name. It’s in a song or two.”
SCARIEST FAN ENCOUNTER?
“Toothless Native-American woman who wanted to kiss me onstage in a bar in Española [New Mexico]. I kept backing away, not wanting to upset the biker group she was with and start a bar fight.”
“The ability to read minds and send thoughts back. The next time someone cuts me off in traffic I’d get into their head and probably learn that, rather than being a complete asshole, they’re late for work because their kids didn’t get up in time to catch the school bus. I’m sure I’d do more important things with the power but, in the meantime, it would make me less pissed off.”
MOST VISITED WEBSITES?
“Google Maps, for the street view of my next apartment.”
“Musicians Friend, for browsing gear I can’t afford or don’t need.”
“eBay, for stuff I’m selling to pay for another guitar I don’t really need.”
DRINK OF CHOICE?
“Strong coffee. Also my drug of choice.”
STAR WARS OR STAR TREK?
“Star Wars. It’s not as cerebral.”
CRAZIEST WAY YOU EVER MADE MONEY?
“Tell me. I could use some more. I’m a pretty straight-up hard worker.”
EVER COMMIT A CRIME?
“The first and last time I shoplifted, I helped myself to a bunch of candy bars when I was at the grocery store with my mom. Back home, she noticed me eating them and coerced a confession. She drove me back to the store and made me go back inside, by myself, to ask for the manager and tell him what I’d done. From that time on, every time we went to that store, the manager smiled at us and gave my mom a free loaf of bread. I’ve never stolen anything since.”
WHAT REMAINS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
“Open for Tom Petty.”
YOUR BEST DISH (AND WHAT’S YOUR SECRET)?
“Muffins with blueberries — or anything you can pick in the summer in Oregon. I use yogurt instead of butter. Low fat. I don’t use recipes. Mix some flour and oatmeal in a bowl. Add blueberries to liking. Maybe some honey. A little baking powder. The eggs are optional; you can leave them out for vegan friends. If it’s too thick, I’ll add soy, almond, or rice milk.”
THREE THINGS WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
“My age, real middle name, and how old I was when I got my first kiss.”