Daniel Wesley may not live in his hometown anymore, but the thirty something hasn't forgotten where he and his music came from.
The White Rockborn alternative rocker credits the seaside city for inspiring his laidback, easy breezy sound. Growing up, he spent lazy days on the beach with his cousins, enjoying what the sunsoaked sand had to offer.
"I guess early on, it kind of was instilled in me, the importance of the ocean and nature," he said. "It was just a really relaxing environment."
Though he moved to Langley around the age of four, the lifestyle clearly stuck with him through the years. He went through the typical musical phases, going from childhood piano lessons to teenage punk rocking to a more refined and rich sound.
Wesley's mom was influential in distilling that style by introducing him to a wide range of bands from classic eras - anything from classic rock to psychedelia to jazz to reggae and beyond.
"I remember piling into my mom's Volkswagen van and listening to cassettes of music from the '60s and '70s," said Wesley, listing The Beatles and The Doors as bands that received frequent rotation.
He returned to White Rock in his early 20s, after outgrowing the punk aggression. At the same time, his love of music had inspired him to pursue it full-time, and he decided to record his debut album locally.
He knocked on the door of Turtle Recording Studios, then located on Vidal Street, and soon recorded 2006's Outlaw.
"It felt like home," he said. "You could literally walk outside and be on the beach - there's not a lot of studios that you can do that at these days."
He came back the following year for his sophomore effort, Driftin', and has since received critical acclaim and radio airplay, from his 2007 single "Ooo Ohh" to last year's "Head Outta Water."
He's recorded a total of five albums in six years - and he's not done yet.
He plans to head into the studio in October for an album slated to be released in the spring.
"It's going to be like the first few albums," he said.
"A little looser, a little more raw, just a live, off-thefloor sound.
"I'm thinking about doing an acoustic album at the end of next year for the fall, but we'll see what happens. I want to do a live album, too. I think I have enough songs now that I could put a pretty cool live album together."
Once the new album is out, Wesley will take the new material on a national tour. He's set to embark on a mini tour of eight dates this September between B.C. and Alberta, and he most recently performed at this year's Foxfest at Burnaby's Deer Lake Park with ska-punk trio Sublime with Rome and '80s hiphop group Public Enemy.
Even though he'll hit all the major Canadian cities next year, he'd still like to perform more intimate shows locally.
"I definitely do want to hit up the suburbs a little bit more than just Vancouver," said Wesley.
"With (Highway) #1 these days, people try not to come into town as much as they can."
Wesley performed at Holland Park in Surrey during the 2010 Winter Olympics, which he said was an experience different from the typical concert.
There was a feeling of Canadian pride onstage and throughout the crowd.
"It was really special being a part of that because you could feel it in the air," he said. "It definitely had a vibe that was its own."
Maybe that vibe is close to that of the White Rock he grew up in, and who knows? Perhaps there will even be a return to the Star of the Sea to bring this journey full circle.
"That's kind of my love affair with White Rock," he said.
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