Daniel Harvey: From streets to stage

Recording: Liverpool artist Daniel Harvey who also goes by D Minor and singer Alli Simpson, sister to Australian pop sensation Cody Simpson. Picture: Daniel Harvey
Recording: Liverpool artist Daniel Harvey who also goes by D Minor and singer Alli Simpson, sister to Australian pop sensation Cody Simpson. Picture: Daniel Harvey

Liverpool resident DanielHarvey is completing his first university degree in composition and production at AIM and the rapper has released a new single, Concrete Pillow.

The song debuted on Australian radio two weeks ago and a music video is set to be released on November 13. 

It features fellow Australian singer Alli Simpson who has a social media following of 1.4 million and is sister to artist Cody Simpson.

Daniel told Fairfax Media about his single.

“Our mission is to raise awareness of homelessness with proceeds going towards nonprofit organisation Musicians Making a Difference, which hold programs in refuges and for foster children,” Daniel said.

The artist, 23, said his lyrics were inspired by his own experiences of struggle.

“I’m known by my rap name - D Minor. It’s one of the saddest chords out there and it highlights my past. It became my nick name when I was a kid and it stuck.

“I want to write lyrics which inspires youth. I write about my life experiences and turn it into a song. When I was going through homelessness I’d chuck on my headphones and start writing lyrics.

D Minor: The rapper lives in Liverpool and travels to LA every year to perform. Picture: supplied.

D Minor: The rapper lives in Liverpool and travels to LA every year to perform. Picture: supplied.

“It was an escape from all the pain of trying to survive on the streets and being put into different foster homes and refuges.”

Before Daniel and his twin brother were abandoned by his parents, they were in a home filled with violence and neglect.

“We got kicked out and in my song I speak about how I used to sleep by chicken shops and bakeries for warmth. 

“Being on the streets gives you a sense of independence and makes you street smart but no child should have to endure it.

“My brother and I used to steal food and eventually we got caught by police. After we were arrested they had no where to put us – so they handed us over to the department of community services.”

Then he faced the challenge of being separated from his twin brother – a problem which remains to plague the foster care system.

“Most foster homes would only take one person so without them telling us we got put into different homes and after years I accepted it was normal. 

“We got separated at 13 and lost contact for years. I thought I’d lost him but when we were 16 I was in a refuge and someone new moved him and it was him.

“From then on we stuck together.”

Daniel was placed in about 8 foster homes and 20 refuges. 

“Their ideal situation was to find us long term accommodation but I guess there’s a high demand for young kids.”

Despite being a teenager surrounded by unhealthy influences, Daniel made a conscious decision to focus on his health and creativity.

“So many of these kids are fighting their own battles and get pulled into this other world. I saw the first-hand affects of what would happen once these kids touched drugs and alcohol so it never enticed me. I’ve never touched drugs and I became a personal trainer.

“You chose what to do with your life. You can keep going in a bad direction or you can pour your energy into something positive and that’s what I decided to do. 

“A lot of people think I’m older than what I am. I don’t know if it’s because that’s the way I am or if it’s because I was forced to become independent at a young age. I wasn’t given any option – you’re chucked into deep water and you have to learn to swim.”

Another achievement was when Daniel represented Australia at the World Championships of Performing Arts in 2015.

“When I was 20 I went to LA and represented Australia for the vocal rap category and won gold.

“At that time I was living in Parramatta and became ambassador for Parramatta City.

“That’s when I started to take rapping more seriously and that year I started my degree at AIM, the Australian Institute of Music.”

Other than working full time on music, Daniel has also worked as a youth worker and has helped carry out music programs in youth centres.

“I feel like it’s rewarding to give back to those youth centres that helped me.The only role models I had were the youth workers in refuges and centres.”

Daniel and his brother live together in Liverpool and have a healthy relationship. They never rekindled ties to their family and are focusing on their careers. 

“Ever since my brother and I came back into contact at 16 we haven’t separated. We’re here for each other and he’s a big supporter of my music.” 

He said so far there’s been positive feedback from his new single Concrete Pillow. 

“My social media has been flooded by people sharing their stories of homelessness. It reinforces why I do what I do. The feedback and messages have been amazing. It’s been a dream to perform for such a great cause and raise awareness.

“Liverpool has homeless people, but that’s the case Sydney-wide. There are lots of young children who are homeles when they shouldn’t be.

“I don’t think the problem’s improved that much but I’m hoping this single Concrete Pillow will raise awareness and lead to more action.” 

  • Homeless Stats: According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the 2016 Census: There were 3071 people who were homeless on any given night in south-west Sydney. This includes 603 homeless people in Liverpool.
  • D Minor official website: dminorofficial.com