When Paul McCartney heard demos of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Dan Croll’s lush, cheery indie-pop songs, he had one simple piece of advice: Don’t do anything to them, just get them released. When your mother says you’re perfect just the way you are, you smile and say, “Thanks, Mom.” When a Beatle does, you’ve got yourself a career.
As a wee 18-year-old in 2008, Croll set out from his native Stoke-on-Trent in England to attend the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts: an impressive feat, since the school takes just 4 percent of its applicants—the acceptance rate at Juilliard is nearly twice that. That led to a coveted one-on-one with Sir Paul,
the institute’s cofounder—an honor bestowed upon just eight students. In 2012, Croll released his first single, “From Nowhere,” which amassed more than 100,000 online plays in two weeks, and immediately fell into regular radio rotation.
In the two short years since, Croll has opened for Bastille, Imagine Dragons, Chvrches and London Grammar, performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and released his debut album, Sweet Disarray. He hits town behind that dewy, sun-dappled effort, and you’d be well advised to catch him.—Kristen Zwicker