Daniel Leyes was born and raised in the Tottenville section of Staten Island, NYC. Raised on the music of the 60s and 70s, everything from Motown to Led Zepplin served as the soundtrack of his life. Asked by the Dean of Tottenville High School to continue his education elsewhere, Leyes attended and ultimately graduated from Concord High School, an experimental school featuring an intensive education model, and dedicated faculty.
Throughout high school he worked as a roadie for local recording artist Jimmie Mack, and numerous other local acts. He learned audio and stage lighting skills that would serve him well in later life. When RCA Records pulled the tour support and dropped Mack from the label, in frustration Leyes went to College where he excelled. Graduating magna cum laude with a double major in Speech and Psychology and a minor in Human Communication paved the way for him to attend graduate school at Southern Illinois University, where he earned a masters degree in Speech Communication.
A thirty-five year teachng career followed, but secretly Leyes continued his songwriting.
It was a chance radio encounter with Stoner-Folk troubadour Todd Snider, that changed everything. The song was "Conservative Christian", and when it was over, a google search followed, and an obsessed Todd Snider fan was born. In Snider, he found a kinded spirit, a performance role model and a songwriting standard-setter that he could aspire to. When he witnessed Snider's live act on countless YouTube videos, and its evolution through his near 30-year career, he knew in his heart that he wanted to to THAT. Snider and his fans were having so much fun that Leyes was inspired to go public with his music.
Of course that was easier said than done. Crippling performance anxiety had always prevented him from playing in public, or even for family and friends. But after considerable practice he entered a talent show, playing an original song, "Waiting for Love". He sang the wrong lyrics while sweating and shaking his way through the tune. And when it was over he knew he wanted to try it again despite the trauma.
He hit the Open Mic circuit with a vengence, sharpening his performance chops and working through the anxiety one song at a time. And over several years performing became FUN, which was the goal all along.
Leyes releaed his debut CD, A SINGLE STEP, in Decemver of 2019. Produced by veteran NJ music man John Mulrenan at his Acorn Digital Studio in Howel NJ. The first single was that original song from the talent show, "Waiting for Love". This time it was recorded as a duet with Ms. Sahara Moon, one of New Jersey's hottest young female vocalists! One week following the release party in March of 2020, the world closed down for the Pandemic, unfortunately. Subsequent single releases during covid included "Tequila", "Hard Times (Are Coming to an End)", and crowd favorite "One Man Mosh Pit".
Today Dan lives in Bradley Beach, NJ, with his pit bull Soni, nearing retirement from teaching and ready to move to the warmer climate of Caye Caulker, Belize. In the meantime he can be found playing the bars, boardwalks, and festivals of the Jersey Shore. He also does private House Parties upon request. Get in touch for bookings.