Love & War: Daniel Merriweather

Feb. 23 2010, Published 6:43 a.m. ET

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Today, Daniel Merriweather releases his highly-anticipated American debut, Love & War. The smooth Australian crooner was first featured on Mark Ronson’s album Version in 2007 and has since received critical accolades in the U.S.

Raised on a steady diet of Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and Otis Redding, paired with modern artists like D’Angelo, Jeff Buckley and Radiohead, Daniel has created a modern retro-soul sound all his own.

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“When I sat down to write Love & War,” Daniel tells, “I wanted to kind of get all of my influences and put them in a box and sort of shake them up and have songs come out of that more based on that — more wanting to write a great song than trying to find a genre or style.”

The album includes a gorgeous duet with Grammy-winning soul singer Adele, which Merriweather changed from a straightforward ballad to a duet so he could work with Adele. Produced by Ronson, who also produced Amy Winehouse’s debut, the album also features guitar parts by Sean Lennon and plenty of heartbreaking lyrics and social commentary, courtesy of Daniel.

Amy Winehouse

“I’ve packed a lot of experience into my years,” says Daniel, adding that about 90 percent of his songs are autobiographical. “I always like to leave 10 percent for poetic license.”

Next up Daniel tours the U.S. with good friend Corinne Bailey Rae and plans on delivering a stripped-down acoustic set.

He says his biggest career highlight to date would have to be meeting Jay-Z. “I grew up listening to him, so I still get kind of starstruck when I see Jay,” he says. “During our last big conversation, he told me I should drink rice milk, but he almost said it like it was an ultimatum. Like, ‘If you don’t drink rice milk then you’re done.’ Out of all the conversations you dream about having with Jay-Z, you know, I thought we’d maybe discuss Tupac and Biggie or something he has the inside scoop on,” he says and then laughs, “but no, it was diet advice.”

Daniel Merriweather’s Love & War is out today.

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