Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Management: Dan Collins
Sounds Like: Ben Folds, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Jason Mraz, Jamie Cullum
Dan Collins (24) began studying piano at age six, and he began writing/singing when he was 16. He grew up listening to and emulating piano rockers like Billy Joel and Ben Folds. Throughout his formative years in Waunakee, Wisconsin, Collins immersed himself in the pop/rock world, playing with several high school bands and recording two CDs, the second featuring friends Luke Thering on drums and Chris Gatz on bass. As he developed this craft, he became drawn to improvisation, leading him to pursue a jazz degree at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2008.
During his college years he released his solo work in three albums- these records outline his growth as both a singer/songwriter and producer/engineer. Alongside his own work, Dan played piano in the Jim Piela Quartet. He attributes much of his growth as a jazz pianist to these experiences. During JPQ’s four years together, they released two albums and performed many late nights in downtown La Crosse. In 2010, Collins met up with inspired pop rockers Alex Toast, Patrick Longmire, Bryan Zannotti, Chris Rodey, and eventually Alden Hedges to form Mouse Pocket. This college pop/rock group released two albums, both produced by Collins.
Throughout college, Dan studied classically under the instruction of Dr. Mary Tollefson. He was a member of the UW-L Jazz Ensemble I for four years under the direction of Dr. Greg Balfany, and studied theory/jazz/composition with Ms. Karyn Quinn and Dr. Chris Frye. He applied for and received a creative grant to study the music of the classic Bill Evans Trio with drummer Bryan Zannotti and bassist Andrew Steeno. They were accepted to present their research at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research in Utah in 2012. Collins also received the “Student of Excellence” award in the College of Liberal Arts.
After graduating with a jazz degree in 2012, Collins quickly relocated to Chicago to chase his dream life as a professional musician. There he met Luke Angle and Josh Murtha, and together they began playing as Nonpronto. They have released two five-song EP's and continue to play out regularly in Chicago.
"...one of the hardest working and most talented musicians I have met...will find success as a musician, there is no doubt in my mind about that."
"...A local pop-rock trio [Dan Collins Trio] that evokes the sophisticated side of Ben Folds Five or Coldplay."
The Second Supper, La Crosse
"Professor Karyn Quinn says Collins is one of the most talented pianists to have studied at UW-La Crosse."
The Waunakee Tribune
““I was saying earlier Dan, that I think that you will be one of those people that in like 10, 20 years, we’ll be like, 'we had that kid on our show.'””
"... amazing songwriter, and a crazy-talented piano player."