We get to know a rising London-based star who found his sound thanks to some help from his violin instructor
Name: Denis Coleman
Location: London, England
Style: Modern synth-pop with catchy and compelling lyrics
Look out for: Recently released single, pillowTHOUGHTS, and a new EP out later this year
At just 18 years old, Denis Coleman has already established his place on the international music scene. After being born in New Jersey and moving to the U.K. when he was six, Coleman began learning to make beats from a violin instructor who opened the door to his artistic expression through mixing disparate sounds.
“I just really fell in love with the creative control and the creative freedom that comes from being able to choose your own sounds, and fit together all sorts of different things that people wouldn’t necessarily assume would work together,” Coleman says of his approach. And it’s one that is already paying off, earning accolades such as winning the 2018 Open Mic Future Music Songwriter Competition and having an original piece of his performed at the Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms. Coleman also studied at the Royal College of Music, where he was further able to hone his craft.
Experiences like these have brought a sense of control to his songwriting, which he now approaches with a clear command over his emotions. “When I was a kid, I think that my emotional experiences and emotional feelings were channelling me to become the music,” says Coleman. “Then as time went on and I started to compose more and more frequently…it became more a case of me channelling the emotions rather than the emotions channelling me.”
Recent song releases from Coleman include Wrong Reasons and Tangerine. He wrote and directed the former track’s music video, and describes the song as a representation of the desire for, “A sense of danger [and] excitement” amidst the COVID-19 lockdown. The latter arrangement sought inspiration from Coleman’s surroundings to elaborate on personal relations.
“I was looking around the room and my eye happened to glance upon a tangerine,” he says of penning the song’s titular lyric. “I started to see that a tangerine had all these different elements; the bitterness of the skin, the sweetness of what’s inside,…and [that brought a] deeper metaphor about…human connection.”
Coleman’s newest track, pillowTHOUGHTS, was released on 27 August and carries a dreamy theme mixed with a powerful sound that serves as a culmination of his developing vocal and writing abilities. Never one to rest his ambitions, an EP will follow later in the year. The collection will highlight the dual nature of escapism prominently sought out in a social media-driven world healing from COVID-19. Coleman’s next phase will consist of further focusing his creative vision while spreading his music to an even larger audience.
“Over my whole life, it’s been a process of building up not only…how many people are following my music, but also on a personal level, trying to improve my sound and trying to create a solid identity for my sound,” he concludes. “That’s something that has become clearer and clearer over time, and it’s always getting more and more definite…as I change as a person.”