It’s taken eight years, but Daniel Johns has finally shared new music.
The Australian singer, who led Silverchair to “superstar” status Down Under, has released “Aerial Love,” a soulful, dreamy pop song he created with producer Joel Little (Lorde, Broods).
The new song is a precursor to an EP release due March 13, while a full-length album is pencilled-in to drop later this year, according to EMI Australia.
Evolution has been a hallmark of Johns’ career. When Silverchair called it a day, it’d achieved a stylistic quantum leap from the band’s grunge sound of the early ’90s. On the basis of his new song, Daniel’s not done with shedding his old musical skin. “Aerial Love” has more in common with R&B than rock. “I try not to look backwards”, he says in a statement. “Too many ghosts.”
Johns and his former Silverchair bandmates Ben Gillies (drums) and Chris Joannou (bass) had success from an earlier age than most. The trio broke through in August 1994 with the track “Tomorrow” when they were still studying at school in Newcastle. The song eventually spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Australian singles charts and 20 weeks in the top 10. In 1995 it was the most-played song of the year on U.S. modern rock radio.
Each of the band’s five albums peaked at No. 1 in Australia, and Silverchair won more ARIA Awards than any other artist in history (21). The group went on “indefinite hiatus” in May 2011, having sold more than six million career albums.
Daniel, who is the only person to win APRA’s coveted songwriter of the year accolade on three occasions has since been hard at work on solo material with an array of collaborators.
According to EMI, “Aerial Love” will be accompanied by a “trailblazing video created by using new drone camera technology,” which is directed by Lorin Askill (Flume and Chet Faker, Phoenix and Sia’s “Chandelier” editor).
Daniel’s last studio release was a co-write with Aussie rapper 360 on the 2014 single “Impossible” (Silverchair’s last album was 2007’s Young Modern). 360 told Billboard ahead of its release that he was blown away by Daniel’s talents. “People will notice a big shift in his music from back in the day to now. His voice has changed so much,” he says of Johns. “He’s so good, it’s intimidating.” A surprise piano-and-harp reworking of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” at Triple J’s recent Beat The Drum concert in Sydney was further proof that Daniel was a changed man.