Daniel Merriweather's boyish face may not yet be familiar, but anyone who has turned on a radio in the past two years is sure to recognise his voice; the Melbourne-born 26–year-old provided the soulful vocals on Mark Ronson's reworking of The Smith's "Stop Me", the smash hit that seemed to be playing continuously in every shop, bar and nightclub during the summer of 2007.
After such a high-profile debut, it must have been tempting to rush out some solo material and cash in, but Merriweather has deliberately taken his time in making his album, Love and War, also produced by Ronson.
Its imminent release is a gratifying moment for Merriweather, who had several false starts with record labels in Australia before Ronson happened upon one of his demos and whisked him to New York to work together. Since then the pair have recorded and toured together almost solidly. "I sound kind of soppy when I talk about Mark," Merriweather laughs. "But it is so nice to find someone you get along with as a friend and click with musically."
Ronson's penchant for collaborations has also rubbed off on Merriweather, who invited British singer Adele and Sean Lennon to perform on the album. "There's a collaborative spirit among artists at the moment. I don't know if it's the financial state of the industry, but there's a sense of going back to basics."
It's a change that's long overdue for Merriweather, who, for all his cool credentials, is old-fashioned at heart. "I'm inspired by singers such as Otis Redding and Ray Charles," he explains. "Back then people made music simply for the love of it, and I know I'd be writing and playing even if I didn't have a deal."
The single 'Change' is out tomorrow. 'Love and War' is released in the spring