When you’re an independent artist, it can be sometimes difficult, in the face of writing, recording, playing, and the minutiae of ‘the business’, to look at your creative output objectively.
But when a Grammy and ARIA award-winning producer and engineer says he wants to work with you, it’s a pretty tacit acknowledgement that you are on the right track.
And that’s exactly what happened to Maitland-based songwriter Dave Wells who recently headed into the studio to record an EP with producer Nick DiDia.
Dave told Newcastle Live that he was more than surprised when he was contacted by Nick who suggested the pair should work together.
“To start with I never envisioned someone like Nick to send me an email,” Dave said.
“About 12 months ago he caught a live performance on air and contacted me and said he was quite impressed and that he would like to sit down and work with me on some songs.
“I guess I’m still pinching myself. A lot of creatives are always on the hunt for affirmation and to get it from someone like Nick DiDia was quite nice.”
And when it comes to seminal ‘knob-twiddlers’, few come with resumes as stacked as Nick DiDia.
Having produced or engineered records for the likes of Rage Against The Machine, Pearl Jam, Neil Young, Young and Jimmy Barnes, he also has a Grammy to his name for his work on Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising and multiple ARIAs.
Dave said that while at times challenging, the experience of working with Nick at his Byron Bay studio LaCueva (which he co-owns with Powderfinger’s Bernard Fanning) was quite a collaborative one.
“He’s great to work with I learned a lot as a songwriter – it was challenging at times but I love being in that space – it was good to finally get back fin the studio,” he said.
“I didn’t go in with any expectations. He was quite balanced and down to earth – I felt like I was working with a good mate. It wasn’t contrived and there wasn’t too much pressure so I was very lucky.”
And it’s not just Nick DiDia who has cottoned on to Dave’s undeniable songwriting talent, with the Harbour Agency putting its hand up to secure Dave more gigs than he can poke a stick at post-COVID.
For Dave, it seems as though the stars are well and truly aligning.
“I’ve been in a good writing headspace for a while now and felt pretty confident what I was writing and how I was writing and to head into the studio with Nick kind of sealed the deal for me,” he said.
“I’ve been writing songs for 20 years and. to be able to go in and do that was a pretty big milestone.”
Catch Dave Wells at Lizotte’s on Saturday 19 September. Head here for tickets.