Daniel Morris was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and grew up on a farm in Oklahoma. The second oldest twin in a family of thirteen children, his heart was full of passion for music from a young age. While most kids roll their eyes at attending music lessons and are bribed by parents to practice instruments, Daniel absolutely adored music, all on his own. He taught himself to play the piano at the young age of six, strongly motivated and highly disciplined as he independently learned theory and technique from books. At thirteen years old, he saw a string trio playing at church and he became inspired to play a stringed instrument. The viola caught his eyes and ears! Seeing his passion and talent, his grandfather bought him a viola and he began searching for an instructor. A professor at the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Hong Zhu, heard Daniel playing just a couple weeks after Daniel picked up the viola, and insisted he take him on as one of his few private students because he recognized in him such obvious talent and potential. He studied under Dr. Zhu’s classical training for six years and was offered a full scholarship at UCO. At this time, Daniel chose to help his father and brothers start a family construction business and did not continue pursuing music as a long term career and spent the next years building the family business. After years of going in a totally different direction, he realized that his heart and soul were made to create and share music and he burned with a desire to be able to purse his dream. Laying aside his secure job and steady income, he moved to Washington, DC and began pursuing music as a career, doing whatever he needed to do to make a living and chase his dream. With no steady place to live or “gig,” Daniel worked hard — playing his viola on busy street corners, at outdoor malls, and underground in subways, and often sleeping in his truck’s tiny cab, just so that he could do what he loved. Hard work paid off, he made connections with others in the industry, was mentored by well-known musician Bob Israel of Blue’s Alley for a short period of time, and he had opportunities to play viola at numerous prestigious venues around D.C. area, including the Italian embassy, Strathmore Music Hall, D.C convention center, and the Baltimore Convention Center as well as many events and weddings. In 2013, Daniel met his wife and soon after moved to Los Angeles to pursue her and his dream of music on the West Coast in the City of Angels. He made and released his first album of original songs, “California Dream” in the summer of 2014, and his second album, “The Best of Pop on Viola” in the spring of 2015, both of which are available on iTunes here on his website. Over his two years in LA, he’s sold over 20,000 albums independently on the street.
Here in LA, Daniel continues to work hard and relentlessly go after his music dreams, performing on the Santa Monica Pier, is one the featured performers at Universal Studios CityWalk, and often performs on State Street in Santa Barbara. Many amazing opportunities have arisen in his two years in Los Angeles. He was asked to play viola on a 2014 Grammys commercial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oglm8wGSPKs), he’s been featured on KTLA news specials, and has been a part of many charity events such as Toys for Tots and Universal Studio’s Christmas in Spring, and has been hired to perform at many weddings and musical events.
Daniel lives in Los Angeles with his wife Erin and together they are expecting their first baby in June. He loves mixing classical viola with contemporary pop music, creating and bringing new life to the viola with his unique, avant garde style.
He is having the time of his life pursuing music and is excited to make more connections, taking his music to an even bigger audience and hopes to inspire and share his music with the world!