Daniel Keith Swain, (b. August 18, 1983) known mononymously as Danny!, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, composer and voice actor.[1]

Birth nameDaniel Keith Swain[1]
Born (1983-08-18) August 18, 1983 (age 37)[2]
Killeen, Texas, United States
GenresHip hop
  • Singer-songwriter
  • composer
  • record producer
  • voice actor
  • drum machine
  • keyboards
  • sampler
  • synthesizer
  • vocals
Years active2004–present
LabelsInterscope, Definitive Jux
Associated actsQuestlove

Swain rose to prominence shortly after his debut performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,[3] where he premiered his single "Evil"; he subsequently began a side career in voice acting, narrating the fifteenth season of ESPN's Hey Rookie, Welcome to the NFL. Swain appeared on Sesame Street that same year.

In 2013, Ebony magazine listed Swain among other rising artists in its "Leaders of the New School" piece, calling Swain one of a handful of "innovators".[4] GQ praised Swain's music production as "brilliantly savvy".[5][6] Swain composed background music that has since been placed in numerous motion pictures and television programs, most notably, FOX's animated series Bob's Burgers for which Swain was awarded an Emmy plaque for his contributions to an episode that won in the Outstanding Animated Program category at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2017.[7]

Early lifeEdit

Swain, the only son of military parents,[8] was born in Killeen, Texas and moved to Columbia, South Carolina, as a teenager. He attended Richland Northeast High School and began pursuing music as a hobby during his second year.[1] Swain started penning his own lyrics and recorded songs as a showcase for his production.[9]


2004–2006: Early beginnings, Charm and instrumental albumsEdit

After spending nearly a year networking with local artists, Swain released his debut mixtape The College Kicked-Out.[1][10] The record received mixed to unfavorable reviews—an up-and-coming Charlamagne tha God was among Kicked-Out's critics, panning the mixtape on air while working as a local radio station personality—which Swain would allude to in much of his later work.

Shortly after Kicked-Out's release Swain was accepted to the Savannah College of Art & Design and accordingly relocated to Savannah, Georgia.[1] It was here that he began to work on his second project, F.O.O.D.[10] The following year Swain officially released his third mixtape Charm,[10] which was notable for featuring an underlying theme of escapism in its narrative of a musician who wants success in music to take him away from his day-to-day routine.

During this time Swain compiled an instrumental album, Dream, Interrupted, in an effort to promote his production; within two years the sequels Dream, Fulfilled and Dream, Extinguished would also be released.[10]

It's all people telling you to do this and that…[but] when you do what they say and it still doesn't work in your favor, it's like, 'well, I was fine the way I was'. You just got to keep moving. There's no guarantee for anything.

Swain, on instinct and perseverance
(GQ, 2014)[6]

2007–2011: MTV, And I Love H.E.R. and Interscope eraEdit

After Charm, Swain received his first big break when MTV played a role in securing him a recording contract with Definitive Jux, an independent music label, at the time helmed by El-P of Run the Jewels fame.[11][12] The record deal allowed Swain to release an album through the label, promoting it with a 12" single and accompanying music video slated for an exclusive premiere on mtvU. Though the label's involvement would not amount to a released album—only the single "Just Friends", which charted on the Billboard Hot 100[13]—the deal did establish an ongoing relationship between Swain and MTV, which began using his music extensively in various programs.

Swain self-released his debut album, the faux-soundtrack And I Love H.E.R.[10] The album was cited at the time by publications such as Pitchfork,[14] LA Weekly[15] and ABC News[16] as one of the best releases of the year. And I Love H.E.R. was also notable for introducing another musical direction for Swain, who was experimenting with hip house, downtempo and lounge/electronica to produce a sort of "lounge-hop" hybrid.

Following And I Love H.E.R.'s success, Swain completed the Where Is Danny? album.[10] Interscope Records, through its short-lived digital distribution program,[17] distributed a revamped version of the album on iTunes.[18]

2012–present: Breakthrough, music licensing and The Book of DanielEdit

After the release of his third studio LP Payback,[10] the title track of Swain's previous album was featured in a commercial for Sonos wireless speakers. Swain signed on as a composer for MTV's internal Hype Music label[19] (later absorbed into Sony/ATV's Extreme Music production music library) and slowly transitioned into a producer role, landing instrumental placements with various Viacom television programming as well as commercials for Nordstrom, McDonald's, and incidental music for Bob's Burgers and its soundtrack, The Bob's Burgers Music Album.

In 2014, Swain started working on a new album, initially titled Deliverance, but later changed to The Book Of Daniel after the book in the Bible.[6] During the album's development Swain appeared in Sesame Street's "Party Bus" video, which featured an original remix of "The Wheels on the Bus" composed by Swain. He also began working as a voiceover artist, narrating a season of Hey Rookie, Welcome to the NFL in 2016 for ESPN. The following year Swain was awarded an Emmy plaque from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for his musical contributions to the Bob's Burgers episode "Bob Actually" (Outstanding Animated Program, 2017[7]), composing music for three scenes.[20]

In 2015, a tracklist for The Book of Daniel was revealed at Swain's website. The album debut was announced for February 29, 2016,[21] but it was not released. Another scheduled date, October 31, 2018,[22] passed without the album release.


Studio albumsEdit

Instrumental albumsEdit

Production creditsEdit

Artist Song(s) Album Year
Danny Brown "Exotic", "The Nana Song" The Hybrid 2010
Danny Brown "Counterfeit", "Hey!"* Detroit State of Mind 4 2010
Lil B "The Game On Lock", "Illusions of G" Illusions of Grandeur 2 2012
Wale "Never Never Freestyle" Folarin 2012
Cody ChesnuTT "Scroll Call (Danny Swain Remix)" Landing on a Hundred: B-Sides & Remixes 2014

Film and television placements/creditsEdit

Song(s) Where Featured Network Year
"Intermission (interlude)" Jersey Shore After Hours MTV 2008
"Cafe Surreal" aMTV promotional bumper MTV 2009
"Ebony Flower" Wainy Days My Damn Channel 2009
"Check It Out" Disaster Date MTV 2011
"The Groove" Dina's Party HGTV 2011
"The Groove" Love Lust SundanceTV 2011
"The Groove" 2011 Comedy Awards Comedy Central 2011
"Cafe Surreal", "The Groove" Red Bull Signature Series: Supernatural NBC 2012
"Cafe Surreal" The Association ESPN 2012
"Crasy Sound" Elbow Room HGTV 2012
"Evil" live performance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon NBC 2012
"God Bless The Child" Breaking Amish TLC 2012
"Loser" Breaking Amish: Extended Episodes TLC 2012
"Misery" Rockstar Presents: XDurance Series (with Rob Adelberg) YouTube 2012
"Pineapple Gumdrop" LXTV 1st Look NBC 2012
"Still Standing" Life After: Karyn White TV One 2012
"Where Is Danny", "I Ain't The Walrus" Sonos television advert cable 2012
"Cafe Surreal" Crown Royal: Best Of promotional clip during 2013 NBA Playoffs TNT 2013
"Malice In Blunderland" The Challenge: Rivals II MTV 2013
"Man On The Moon" Snooki & Jwoww MTV 2013
"One Day It'll All Make Cents" The Show with Vinny MTV 2013
"Torture" World of Jenks MTV 2013
"Gibraltar (Danny!'s Pride And Vanity Remix)" Just Blaze interview[23] Okayplayer 2014
"Check It Out" Nordstrom anniversary sale summer promo cable and radio 2014
"Take Me To The Muddy Grass" "Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl" episode of Bob's Burgers FOX 2014
"The Wheels On The Bus" "Party Bus" segment on Sesame Street PBS, HBO, YouTube 2016
"Gangsta's Pair o' Dice", "Breakdance Bugaloo", "Walk Like This, No No Like This" "Bob Actually" episode of Bob's Burgers FOX 2017

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Jeffries, David (March 11, 2013). "Danny!: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  2. ^ "Daniel Swain". AllMusic. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  3. ^ Blotnick, Emmy (September 21, 2012). "Danny! Performs "Evil"". NBC. Archived from the original on November 27, 2012. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  4. ^ Carter, Kelley (January 2, 2013). "Leaders Of The New School". Ebony Magazine. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  5. ^ "Get familiar with our man Danny! now. In 2014 he'll be contending for producer of the year". Instagram. December 20, 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Stelios, Phili (March 5, 2014). "The GQ+A: Danny Swain On Getting Shown Questlove Love, Major Label Breakups, and His Plan for 2014". GQ. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Bob's Burgers: Awards & Nominations". Emmys.com. January 12, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  8. ^ Jackson, Deborah (March 11, 2009). "Military People: Danny Swain". Military Hub. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
  9. ^ Anto, Julio (December 4, 2012). "Danny! Discusses New Album Payback, Co-signs From Jay-Z And Blank, And The Evolution Of DIY In Hip-Hop". Prefix Magazine. Retrieved December 11, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Swain, Daniel (January 2, 2018). "Danny!: Discography". DannySwain.com. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  11. ^ Welte, Tim (January 27, 2007). "Danny Swain Wins mtvU Contest". TV.com. Retrieved February 2, 2007.
  12. ^ Stoehr, John (January 28, 2007). "Local Student Wins MTV Award". Savannah Morning News. Retrieved September 11, 2007.
  13. ^ Howard, Jacinta (April 28, 2009). "Don't Sleep On Danny!". Creative Loafing. Archived from the original on May 4, 2009. Retrieved May 1, 2009.
  14. ^ Love, Joshua (October 18, 2008). "Danny!: And I Love H.E.R. (Album Review)". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 11, 2008.
  15. ^ Weiss, Jeff (August 1, 2008). "The 10 Best Hip-Hop Albums Of The Half-Year". LA Weekly. Retrieved August 17, 2008.
  16. ^ Raible, Allan (January 2, 2009). "The 50 Best Albums of 2008: Nos. 25 to 1". ABC News. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  17. ^ Loss-Eaton, Nicholas (November 12, 2010). "Discovering New Music Artists in the Digital Age: Interscope Digital Distribution Reaches Beyond DIY". PR Newswire. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  18. ^ "Danny! – 'Where Is Danny'". iTunes. May 17, 2011. Archived from the original on May 28, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  19. ^ Jones, Jeffrey (September 10, 2013). "Hype Music: Roster". MTV. Archived from the original on July 21, 2013. Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  20. ^ "Internet Movie Database: Danny Swain". IMDb. December 6, 2017. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  21. ^ Saul, Heather (February 10, 2016). "Kanye West Says Bill Cosby Is Innocent". The Independent. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  22. ^ Danny Swain (January 15, 2019). "Danny! – The Book Of Daniel". Dannyswain.com. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  23. ^ "Just Blaze Interview". October 6, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014.

External linksEdit