Since 2014, Austin Classical Guitar has worked with young parents in challenging circumstances to help them write personal songs for their children. The Lullaby Project has brought us some of our most challenging and rewarding experiences. We’ve partnered with Any Baby Can, Annunciation Maternity Home, Austin Center for Women and Children, LifeWorks, Livestrong Cancer Clinics, People’s Community Clinic, Dell Children’s Hospital, and Travis County Jail.

Daniel Fears, a local Austin singer and songwriter, began working as a Lullaby Artist last spring. We recently had the chance to hear about his work and why he enjoys creating lullabies, and we’d love to share his interview with you.

The Lullaby Project

Daniel is intrigued by the moments we create through sharing music together. He’s inspired by the Lullaby Project because it allows him to build real connections with people he might otherwise have never met, and to collaborate on music with people who don’t consider themselves ‘musicians’ in the traditional sense.

Through Any Baby Can, Daniel connected with a couple who wanted to write a lullaby for their new baby. He and Claire Puckett, another one of our Lullaby and Healing Artists, met with them over the course of several weeks.

The mother hoped that the father would be able to open up about his feelings for his son, because according to her, he was “a man of action and few words.” Daniel and Claire asked about his musical tastes to find out what could influence the lullaby they’d help the couple to create. Although the father was initially reserved, gradually he was able to vocalize some emotions that had been concealed. As the two Lullaby Artists continued to meet with the couple, Daniel describes a transformation that took place when he began to experiment with some stylistic elements in the music the father shared.

“He showed us some 80s crooner rock and some Indian music with piano, guitars, traditional drums, strings, sitar, some interesting chord progressions – it was really cool music I’d never heard before. I was trying to figure out what the music was doing. I had an idea and tried to pluck it out on piano, and from that point, the father started to open up a bit more.”

“I think music is able to help people express whatever is on their minds, especially when it’s being made right there. We were giving him space to express that.”

After a few weeks of meeting with Claire and Daniel, the father had written a sweet and beautiful poem to his son. Daniel told us his favorite part of the Lullaby Project is the opportunity to make real connections, and to work with others who are trying to figure out their voice.

“Musicians tend to emphasize, ‘I’m a genius, I’m the best,’ and it becomes about the individual. We think vertically, moving toward a goal as if the only thing you can get from music is fame. What really excites me about the Lullaby Project is that you have an opportunity to get outside your comfort zone and meet someone you’d never run into in real life, an opportunity to create and learn together.”

“It’s great to use music as a tool for connection, as a tool to serve other people.”

This experience with the Lullaby Project speaks to Daniel’s philosophy that music holds inherent value for both the performer and the audience. Working with the couple allowed the lines between recipient and producer of music to blur, causing a mutual exchange of ideas not possible in a traditional concert setting. For Daniel, the value lies in the moments we share while listening to or creating music together, the moments “of capturing lightning in a bottle.” The Lullaby Project allows us to remember the roots of music: a method for communicating complex human emotions.

“I find that with folk music, it’s about the moment, the people there listening, as opposed to the people who are going to hear it out of popularity. I enjoy music that invites real connection and real understanding. This lullaby broadened my worldview, and I hope it broadened the worldview of those who listened to it as well.”

“It’s all interconnected. In America, we emphasize the individual; cause and effect are this isolated thing, but in reality all the things we’re doing are extremely connected. As soon as coronavirus hit, we found out how closely connected everything is.”

Daniel just released first single, ‘No Substitutions,’ in April, as his solo artist debut. It was recognized by KUTX as the Song of the Day. “Canopy,” his first EP, is set to launch this fall.

He’s been working on Canopy with a friend. “It feels like a dream project, I’m able to make things in the way I’ve always wanted to. He’s an awesome musician and friend and I think he just gets me, I’m excited to put that out into the world.”

Personal Work

Although Daniel holds two degrees in Trombone Performance and spent much of his music education playing others’ music, after moving to Austin he began to explore his own musical ideas and to figure out his own voice. Although music is all about connections to Daniel, he also views it as an intensely personal experience that is informed by, reflects, and responds to larger truths of existence.

“I think self-exploration and reflecting have been my inspiration these past few years. Most music is romantic – you write about love and heartbreak. But for me, it’s about getting to know myself, it’s about figuring out how what I’m going through is reflected in the world, and what my own place is in it.”

Hey Jay

What’s your smile trying to say
You’re up and about every day
Let’s get ready to play

Hey Jay
Seeing you brings us joy
As parents we evolve
As a family, grow in love

Learn and grow together

Hey Jay
Share the world every day
On the path that you find
There’s a million ways to be kind

Learn and grow together
It’s time for bed now, tomorrow will come more quickly.
Good night good night Mr.Reddy
close your eyes and sweetly dream

Ommmmmm Ommmmm

Goodnight  Goodnight, sweetheart, well it’s time to sleep,
My dear sleep well tonight
Sleep baby sleep all throught the night

Ommmmmm Ommmmm