Darren Sims, better known as Daz released his charity single 'Sunshine Girl' earlier this month, before watching it soar up the Amazon UK singles chart. We got the chance to chat to Darren about the single, the charities he's raising money for through it and much more in a new and exclusive interview.
For those who might be new to your music, how best would you describe yourself as an artist?
I'm an entertainer that plays guitar, bass, piano and sings. I love playing upbeat songs which make people happy and in my career have played gigs to as many as 30,000/40,000 and also to as little as two people. I give 100% however big the audience and love my job very much and also my fundraising.
What is it about the world of music that you love?
I love the fact that each day is different. In my career as a professional musician I have performed to all ages, walks of life, situations, I have been lucky enough to have gigged extensively around most of Europe and the UK. I hopefully have a stint in Australia and America lined up which is exciting.
Where do you draw influence or inspiration from for your music?
Every day life is an inspiration and I think that people relate to that easier.
Your latest single 'Sunshine Girl' was recently released, how have you found the response to that track?
I have had an amazing response to 'Sunshine Girl', it has been a joy to work on the song, to have a sold out Colston Hall in Bristol sing the words back to me was spine-tingling, and I also performed the song on the pitch at half time between matches at Bristol Rugby and Bristol Rovers to a total of 16,000 people.
We also have a charity video which is on YouTube and in the video there are such celebrities as Dean Edwards, the chef from ITV's Lorraine, Jake Sims from X Factor group Stereo Kicks and several others who make cameo appearances.
The single raises money for Variety, the Children's Charity and the Darren Wright Foundation - why is charity so close to your heart?
I have since being a young lad, raised money for different charities as I always wanted to help people less fortunate than myself. My family have always been massively supportive in all I do.
Through your Rock4Charity concerts you recently raised over £200,000 - how did that feel?
It feels amazing and I'm pleased to have reached such a figure and want to raise as much as I can to continue helping many different deserving and worthy causes. I get to meet the people and places we help and it makes you think about what they go through in their daily lives, struggles and what they have to face.
You also recently cycled between Land's End and John O'Groats - what was that experience like?
It was an experience I will never forget, a life experience. I was lucky to have a great support driver in my good friend Richard Hudd who was also my mechanic, motivator and friend throughout the journey.
My son Harrison and wife Maria joined me for a day as co-pilots in Windermere and for the last six days of the 11 day adventure my daughter Scarlett joined as co-pilot, and it was lovely to share the finale with her and Richard at John O'Groats.
The journey had ups and downs as most people would expect, but I had outstanding support from people all over the UK and worldwide sending me messages and, in particular my hometown of Bristol were massively behind the ride.
As well as supporting Variety, the Children's Charity and Darren Wright Foundation, we also were supporting two families who unfortunately have a missing family member - DJ Derek Morris from Bristol and Allan Bryant Jnr from Glenrothes - please Google and check out their stories.
We had several thousand double-sided leaflets printed, which we handed out all the way from Land's End to John O'Groats at cafés, truck stops, pubs, clubs, hospitals, travelodges, police stations and to passers-by. Also the support van had their posters on the front, back and sides.
Conditions were gruelling at times, weather-wise and hill-wise, but I constantly thought about the two charities we were helping and also the missing people which made me get stuck in and do my best.
The last day was very emotional, I found myself crying nearly all day, and the last three miles were very hard but, just before the last hill I turned and looked behind me and the sun was setting beautifully, wind farms on the horizon and there was no noise anywhere, it was quite a moment, which I savoured for a few moments as the support van went ahead and then battled onto the victorious finish post at John O'Groats.
Do you have any definitive aims or goals for your career going forward?
I would love for 'Sunshine Girl' to get into the UK top 40 chart, if it did achieve top 40 status then the two charities would receive massive bonuses as TV and radio royalties would pour in. Any royalties for 'Sunshine Girl' will be donated to Variety, the Children's Charity and the Darren Wright Foundation, so please pop to Amazon, Google Play, iTunes and download on all three if possible. It's only 99p and will help many people less fortunate than ourselves and please pass the word on as well. Maybe encourage your work colleagues to download it and family and friends and also share through Facebook, Twitter and so on.
Or people can also donate to the Land's End - John O'Groats charity page www.justgiving.com/dazlejog - any amount small or large will be appreciated. I have several crazy plans for the future, if anyone wants to keep an eye on future concerts which I will be doing I have a Facebook page called Daz's Rock 4 Charity. I'm on my way to a quarter of a million raised for good causes and will keep going until I go to the gig in the sky.
Finally what's next for you?
On Monday November 2 at the Fosse Way Special School in Bath, we will be presenting a 17-seater minibus along with Variety, The Children's Charity with the monies raised from the Daz's Rock 4 Charity Grand Pier Weston-super-Mare concers which I've organised the last two years. Legendary comedian Eddie Large will be attending.
The next Daz's Rock 4 Charity Grand Pier WSM concert is on Friday April 1, for tickets please contact Daz on 07976629132 - always a fun night for all the family with a fabulous atmosphere and great music for all tastes.