Daniel Lanois

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If there is a musical jack-of-all-trades who is also a master at his craft, his name is Daniel Lanois. A producer, musician and songwriter, Lanois has influenced the careers of many well-known (and some not so well known) musical acts including Bob Dylan, U2 and Robbie Robertson. His work spans artists in many genres and cultures, and incorporates his own cultural heritage.

Born in Hull, Quebec, in 1951 to a French Canadian family, Lanois grew up among the music of his family: his mother sang and both his father and grandfather played violin. After Lanois' parents separated, he and his brother Bob moved with their mother to Hamilton, Ontario, where Daniel took up the guitar and production -- his first recording studio was in his mother's basement where he, along with Bob, would help bands record demos first on a simple tape recorder, then a few years later on a four-track machine.

Daniel and Bob's reputations grew so much that in 1980 they launched Grant Avenue Studios, a recording facility where many of Canada's top acts have recorded important albums, such as Country legend Ian Tyson and children's artist Raffi. In the meantime, British keyboardist Brian Eno took Daniel under his wings and taught him various ambient recording techniques. The Lanois and Eno collaboration can be found on albums by guitarist Michael Bloom and minimalist piano player Harold Budd -- not Lanois' best-known work but important albums for him nonetheless as these albums show the beginning phases of what would soon become the trademark sound qualities of his production.

His career made a turning point in 1984 when Lanois co-produced (with Eno) The Unforgettable Fire by U2, then still a college cult band. Then, came Peter Gabriel's So, a million seller. Lanois soon became in high demand for artists with a sensitive, intelligent quality to their music. When Lanois won a Grammy for U2's The Joshua Tree and then produced Robbie Robertson's first solo album (widely considered the best of all of his solo work) as well as Bob Dylan's Oh Mercy, Lanois was established as the premier producer in the music industry.

Lanois took an even more diverse musical turn when he produced Yellow Moon for the Neville Brothers in 1989. The Nevilles had been a mainstay on the New Orleans music scene for many years; however, Yellow Moon put the band into the spotlight all over the world. Inspired by the sights and sounds of New Orleans, Lanois established Kingsway Studio.

While producing other artists created Lanois' acclaim, he hungered for something else -- to record his own work.

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