An alternative singer/songwriter and producer with a versatile style, Canada's Danny Michel has revealed the influence of '80s college rock, '90s alt-rock, indie folk, classical music, and adult contemporary singer/songwriters on varied releases beginning with 1997's Before the World Was Round. His fifth album and MapleMusic debut, Tales from the Invisible Man, led to a nomination for New Artist of the Year at the 2004 Juno Awards. He returned to issuing albums independently before relocating to Belize in 2011 to work with Afro-Amerindian group the Garifuna Collective. The resulting Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me earned Juno and Polaris Music Prize nominations in 2013. Michel was named Producer of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards for his 11th full-length, 2017's Khlebnikov. Active in causes including education and the environment, Michel performed at the 85th birthday party of conservationist Jane Goodall.
A multi-instrumentalist and one-time member of bands including Rhinos and Starling, Danny Michel's first solo album, Before the World Was Round, saw release in 1997. Among other accolades, it was ranked in the year-end Top Ten by the CBC's Radio Sonic. His second LP, 1998's Clear, was similarly well-received and followed by tours of North America and Europe with Skydiggers' Paul MacLeod and folk-rock artist Gwen Swick. Third album Fibsville arrived in 1999.
The songwriter kicked off the 2000s with the self-released In the Belly of a Whale in 2001. Moving to MapleMusic Recordings with distribution by Universal Music Canada, his fifth album, 2003's Tales from the Invisible Man, led to a Juno nomination for the year's best new artist. The label issued Loving the Alien: Danny Michel Sings the Songs of David Bowie a year later. Featuring production by Michel and João Carvalho, he returned with Valhalla on MapleMusic in 2006 before self-releasing 2008's Feather, Fur & Fin. It featured MacLeod among its guest musicians. The environmental themes continued on his eighth full-length, 2010's Sunset Sea. That year also brought the release of the solo concert album Live in Winnipeg.
In 2011, Michel moved to Belize and recorded his next album with the Garifuna Collective. Issued on Six Shooter Records, 2012's Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me was nominated for a Juno Award for World Music Album of the Year and longlisted for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize. Michel went back to Canada to track his tenth album of original songs, Matadora, which arrived via Six Shooter in 2016. Written and recorded with composer Rob Carli during an expedition through the Northwest Passage, 2017's Khlebnikov won Michel two Canadian Folk Music Awards: Pushing the Boundaries and Producer of the Year. He contrasted the collaborative LP with 2018's White & Gold, an entirely self-recorded mini-album. ~ Marcy Donelson