Danny’s musical disappointment
15 August, 2019, 9:20 am
NO prophet is accepted in his own home country.
This quote is often used to describe how someone with so much talent is not given due recognition while they are alive in their country of birth.
Case in point, the author of the quote – Jesus Christ – who stunned an audience in a Nazareth synagogue when he informed them they were witnesses to scripture being fulfilled.
Labelled a blasphemer and a rebel, he was persecuted, and hung on a cross.
On the musical scene, some of the world’s biggest artists have found fame and success in foreign lands before being accepted in their country of birth.
One of the biggest rock bands of all time, Led Zeppelin, enjoyed more success in the US than in their homeland, England.
Michael Learns to Rock was recognised and enjoyed huge success in China and Southeast Asia than in their homeland, Denmark. The same could be said of Australian rock band AC/DC and many others.
Musically speaking, Danny Costello was also put through the fire –– so to speak – during his 40 years in the Fijian music business.
Despite all the let-downs, put-downs and negativity with poor turnouts locally to his shows and concerts, he was all for giving Fiji one last performance.
My last conversation with Danny was on December 20 last year.
He was in the midst of cancer treatment in Cairns, Australia, and spoke for about 25 minutes about holding one last concert.
“I’ve got to do it one last time bro, just to say thank you to everyone that has supported me – all my fans, friends and family,” he said.
He began describing the stage setup and the bands that would perform alongside his group – the Cruzez.
After wishing him well and bidding him farewell, my mind drifted back to the numerous kava-fuelled nights at his home studio in 2009 and 2010 and the conversations we had shared into the wee hours.
Danny had tried hard to mask the disappointment in his voice whenever he spoke about Fiji and the music industry here, but being the person that he was he always told it like it is.
After the outstanding success of Samba in 1991 and the numerous hits that came out of it, Danny was hoping the music fraternity would band together and work to get Fijian music out to the world.
He was disappointed that despite the success of bands such as Black Rose, Kabani and George “Fiji” Veikoso, there was no real effort by local musicians, stakeholders and even government to get behind the industry and push Fijian music to where it should be.
Danny believed there was untapped potential in music in terms of providing a platform for young people with talent –– who would not be absorbed into the traditional job market –– to earn a living either as artists, composers, videographers, producers, stage and event management, and marketing and promotions.
Danny was also fiercely critical of local radio – apart from Mix FM – because they rarely played local music or relegated locally produced songs to segments outside of prime time.
As a father, he said the positive and uplifting messages of local songs were being overshadowed by overt sexually charged lyrics of overseas artists, and the impact this would have on Fijian children and the social problems that would ensue.
But perhaps his biggest disappointment was the lack of support from locals for original Fiji music.
Social media users would have noticed that before his death the sharing of Danny’s music was non-existent but when news of his passing was made known, people began posting his songs and making comments about the memories they invoked.
“They would rather hear a couple of guys playing cover songs than pay money to listen to the heart and soul of a Fijian artist who is baring all through songs that were crafted about experiences and emotions,” he used to say.
Danny is now gone, but he continues to live on in the lives of his wife Corinna and daughters Chelsea, Mary, Alexia and
Danielle and in his 30 albums of songs and memories.
His challenge to the now generation is to pick up from where he left off.
Write your songs, record them, believe in them and light up the world with them.