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On his first visit to India, 24-year-old Scottish-Persian musician Darius Danesh talks to The Record about music, awards, adventure and how 2004 was the most important year of his life.

The Record: Welcome to India, how are you?
Darius: Iím just excited to be here!

TR: And youíre looking forward to trying an authentic curryÖ
Darius: Yeah how did you know! [Laughs] I canít wait. My favourite food is Indian and Italian. Iíve been wanting to experience authentic Indian food for a long time now because obviously I have a Western idea of what Indian cuisine is like so I canít wait to hit the town and experience something authentic.

TR: The big second album is crucial for every artist who has had a successful debut. But yours is even more significant. Tell us about it.
Darius: When I sat down to write the second album it had been a huge time of looking back and looking at the future all at the same time. And when I look back at the past four years Iíve had so many highs Ė being in the final Pop Idol, breaking away from that, turning down Simon Cowellís record deal, working with U2 producer Steve Lillywhite, signing with Universal, having a number one hit with Colourblind, a platinum album with Dive In, touring, supporting Shakira on her world tourÖso itís been amazing. I was just recovering from one awesome dream coming true to another. And as soon as I got some great news, more great news would come and my head was spinning. It was like living a dream. When I sat down to write the second album I got the good news of being invited to Los Angeles to work with Stephen Lipson, an Academy Award winning, Grammy nominated producer.
Then in February this year my father was diagnosed with cancer Ė terminal cancer. My life stopped in its tracks. My world just shattered. My father is my hero in many more ways than one and I put all thoughts of releasing a record on the shelf. I said, ĎThatís ití. My brother took a year out of university, we both said weíre just going to support the family and be together for Dad. We didnít know how much time he had left, we were told six months, maybe less. And I thought then, for all the success that Iíve had, for all the material things Iíve been blessed with, I would give it all up for the health of my father. Youíd sell your car, youíd walk away from your house, youíd sell the shirt off your back to make a loved one better. With that thought I wrote a song for him called Live Twice and I played it to him in the hospital. And Dad turned around and said, ĎDarius, life is too short. I fight to live to see the achievements of my children and I fight to see you achieve your dream. Tomorrow may be too late, you canít stop nowí. He said ĎYou will give me inspiration if you continue on your pathí. He encouraged me to go back into the studio.
Recording the song was so difficult because it was so intimate, and I recorded it and something burst, like a dam. Lyrics and melodies flowed out of me like Iíd never experienced before and over the next six months I recorded what is now the body of work that I call the second album. It was then titled after that first song.

TR: Balancing all of that must have been really hard.
Darius: I have to admit Iíve felt guilty these last two months when Iíve been on the road promoting the second album because I was away from my family and weíd only have the weekends to spend with my father. But this is the part of the story that Iím still in disbelief about. Two weeks ago, we were at the hospital, my family together, for the news of my fatherís resultsÖit was a miracle that he has lived this long after being diagnosed because it had spread throughout his body. The doctors had news they said they couldnít understand! For all intents and purposes, they looked at my father who is a doctor himself, and said ĎDr Danesh youíve made a miraculous recovery. There is no more trace of the cancerí. They double checked the scans and it had gone! We were just crying, laughing, praying, it was just a crazy time for all of us. My father attributes it to... every morning he would wake up, he would play Live Twice, he would go into meditation, as a family we would pray together, and then he would go into treatment. My father is an eminent respected doctor, he invented the first lung and kidney machine for premature babies, and in the West they still donít acknowledge the fact that prayer and meditation undeniably allows a body to heal itself. He said ĎI attribute a great deal of the healing Iíve had to that, and to the inspiration youíve given me my soní. That was the biggest compliment anyone could have ever given me. So itís been a very emotional and inspiring year for me and this album is the most intimate body of work Iíve created but I hope itís an inspiration for anyone. I hope itís the kind of album that people connect with because they can relate with the scenario of just appreciating and being grateful for people you love.

TR: Youíre here for the Immies which is an award ceremony Ė as an artist what do awards mean to you?
Darius: Itís always a wonderful feeling to be recognised for your work. Iíve received some wonderful awards in the UK. Some of them are serious music awards, and then Smash Hits voted me the Best Dressed Male In Pop which is cool. [Laughs] I have to admit these awards mean a lot to me because they are a melding of different cultures, a melding of the East and the West and that to me is really cool.

You can read the rest of our exclusive with Darius in the January 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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