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Auckland singer-songwriter Danny McCrum has plenty of notches on the neck of his guitar: opening for Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck among them.

But rather than bore you again with all his accolades and experience, or mention his three previous albums under his own name (which Elsewhere has reviewed starting here), let's just cut to the chase.

He has a new album out Hustle Bustle, which we reviewed here, and at the end of this article we post a short career doco which was made a few years back but is impressive . . . even though more things followed.

Before then however, because we previously offered him a general questionnaire we thought it timely to fire him the specific one for songwriters to see what he made of it.

And he makes a lot!

The first song which made you think, 'Now that's a well crafted piece of work' was . . .

This is a great question! When I was a kid I used to be mesmerised by artists like Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Peter Gabriel. I clearly remember first hearing Digging In The Dirt and years early, listening intently to I Just Called To Say I Love You. I love musical complexity but what I respect the most is simplicity. A good idea doesn’t need much around it to make it good. So I would say The Beatles Yesterday and Bill Withers Ain’t No Sunshine are two songs I’ve always thought of as examples of perfectly crafted songs.

Complete this sentence: The first song I wrote was . . .

…a song that used all the chords I knew! As soon as I learnt a few chords and figured out how to change between them, I wrote my first song. Then my second song, then my third and so on. Every time I learnt a new chord or a new trick, I would use it in the next few songs I wrote.

The one songwriter you will always listen to, even if they disappointed you previously, is?

It’s not something I’ve ever thought about. Lots of my favourite artists have released albums or songs I don’t like very much and many artists I’m not fond of have released songs I quite like. I think an interesting challenge to yourself is can you remain neutral when listening to a song and just enjoy it or not enjoy it no matter who it’s by or when it’s from? I try to ignore hype, branding and my own bias when listening to music. I try to only hear the music.

As songwriters: Lennon-McCartney or Jagger-Richards; kd lang or Katy Perry; Madonna or Michael Jackson; Johnny Cash or Kris Kristofferson, Beyonce or Janelle Monae?

If I has to choose, I’m a bigger fan of Lennon-McCartney, but I love the Stones too… Of the rest my preferences are KD Lang, Michael Jackson and Beyonce.

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear because they are well crafted are . . .

Something – George Harrison

If I Ever Lose My Faith In You – Sting

Maybe I’m Amazed – Paul McCartney

Melody first? Words or phrase first? Simultaneous?

Whatever walks through the door first… ideas are random and best left that way.

51FK1vIZsKL._SX342_The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

Herbie Hancock – Possibilities

If you could co-write with anyone it would be . . .

Ray Charles would’ve been a dream to write with, but there are so many.

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

David Bowie, Earth Wind & Fire and The Commodores on vinyl and Erykah Badu as a download.

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you would be . . .

If it gave me royalties for life and I didn’t have to work again, no song would embarrass me. But if I have to choose, I’ll go for Refugee by Tom Petty.

One line (or couplet) from a song -- yours or someone else's -- which you think is just a stone cold winner is . . .

I woke up the house, stumbled in sideways

The lights went on and everybody screamed surprise

hustleSongwriting: what's the ratio of inspiration/perspiration?

They’re very different things but they serve each other. Inspiration is random, perspiration is discipline. You need to have the perspiration so you’re ready when the inspiration arrives.

Ever had a song come to you fully-formed like it dropped into your lap?

Sure, it’s a great feeling when it happens and they’re usually the best songs.

And finally, finish this couplet in any way you like: “Standing at the airport with an empty suitcase at my feet . . .” (You are NOT allowed to rhyme that with “meet” however)

I went out for a couple of quiet drinks and woke up in Sydney (True story – happened to a friend)

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