Meet the piano duo with over 100 million streams... all without a record deal

14 May 2020
By Ellie Palmer
We shine a spotlight on The Daydream Club, who are showing that you don't always need to rely on securing a record deal to be successful

Who are The Daydream Club?

Adam: Hi! We’re Adam and Paula Pickering (married not related, we get asked this a lot) and we’re a multi-genre music duo. We met whilst studying at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) over 15 years ago and have been working together ever since. 

Paula: We cover a range of genres from Classical Crossover with our Piano Projects through to Indie-Folk, Ambient and Electronic. Our piano instrumentals to date include a live improv album called Piano Project (2016), a live audience participation album called Piano Project // With You in Mind (2018) and most recently, our collaborative baby Piano Project // Duets (2020). 

"We're married, not related. We get asked this a lot!"


Content continues after advertisements

Tell us about your musical backgrounds

Adam: I have been doing music in some form since I was 5. It’s a long road and I’m still learning. My introduction to music was through piano and I was very fortunate to have a brilliant teacher (Steve Allen) who recognised and encouraged my interest in creating rather than working through grades (which at the time might have driven me away from music). From there I’ve expanded to other instruments over the years which led to various session work in the pop field and I was very nearly the bassist in Mcfly.

Paula: Music was a big part of my life growing up. I studied classical violin, flute and piano from the age of 7 but I was awkwardly shy and would get crippling stage fright in recitals. My true passion was dance. This was the vocation I perfected. I won an unconditional placement to train vocationally and after graduation worked happily in the profession until an unfortunate accident damaged my knee and effectively ended my career. My injury allowed me time to rediscover my love of music. It’s difficult to be at such a different level technically in music as I was in dance, I struggle with that every day and still have a long way to go before I can feel truly confident. Adam was taught in such a different way and he is opening up a creative side of me that I had previously never explored on the piano.


How have you been keeping busy during the coronavirus crisis?

Paula: We were hoping to tour with the latest duets album but instead we will perform online concerts. In a time of isolation, music still has the power to connect thanks to the wonders of technology!

Adam: Not much has changed for us really. We have always written, recorded, produced and released our own work so there haven’t been any life changing alterations to our daily routine (except for the occasional scary trip to the supermarket). 

"We are simply continuing to create."


What made you choose the path of being Independent artists?

Adam: When we first decided to create music together as The Daydream Club, we had no music industry contacts, so we made up our own label, Poco Poco Records. Thanks to a lot of research and a well-constructed email, we were able to connect and collaborate with global fashion house Burberry which in turn opened doors for us in the composing world. 

Paula: We tend to operate entirely as The Daydream Club these days and we’re very honest about our current status of independent. We’re big fans of transparency! We’re always open to the conversation of growing our music in more traditional directions so Recording or Publishing Deals wouldn’t be something we would ever discount. As we are the sole copyright owners, we are able to make a living and enjoy creative control over our music.


Congratulations on reaching 100 million streams on Spotify! 

Adam: We’re obviously extremely proud, we’re told it’s quite rare. It’s hard to get your head around it. What really gets me, is when you get a comment or message from someone who has heard your music and felt inspired to play, in any capacity, whether that’s to write their own music or play ours from the sheet music, that is a great honour. 

Paula: We recently received a tweet from a Paediatric Surgeon in Brazil, with a video of him playing our track ‘Improv #10 - One Last Thought’ on a gap between writing Covid-19 protocols for his institution. He said that his last thought every night is “tomorrow, everything will be alright”. He moved me to tears. 100 million streams is just a number and you can forget that there are individuals attached to that data. Being able to interact with people around the world through music means everything to us.


Your streaming numbers are about to go up with the release of your new album...

Paula: We had the idea of Piano Project // Duets after living in different countries for over a year. This was when I was still dancing and our work often took us away from each other. The duets for two pianos came as an idea to connect people. It feels even more timely now with the lockdown in force. 

Adam: We released two singles initially, with each single consisting of 3 tracks; the full duet, Paula’s part, and my part. The accompanying solo parts have a count in, which means that any pianist, anywhere in the world, can stream one of the solo tracks and either play the other part along with our sheet music or create a whole new duet of their own with it. We are really proud of the concept and would encourage any of your readers who want to have a go to get in touch and share their videos with us. You can download the sheet music here.


How have you managed to work with so many big brands?

Adam: Anything we manage to secure business-wise always feels like a triumph as we don’t have the luxury of traditional forms of financing, promotion or backing. With Burberry, what started out as a one-off session developed into a working relationship which saw us compose original scores and sync music from our existing catalogue for catwalk shows, Christmas ad campaigns, mobile apps and interactive in-store displays. We even got to do a bit of modelling for them which was fun! The exposure from this collaboration helped open doors for sync placements with Merrell, Paolo Vandini, Home Goods, plus a couple of independent films and network television programmes on the BBC. 

The Daydream Club perform 'In the Absence of Closure' from their new album, 'Piano Project // Duets'


What's next for you?

Adam: There are many more projects in the pipeline with The Daydream Club, as well as some new works under different guises. We aim to continue making music we are proud of and hope to be able to carry on building momentum with our music and with our relationships with people through music.

Paula: We also have a personal goal to compose an original score for dance. I will always feel a deep connection to my dance roots so it would be a dream for these two worlds to combine somewhere down the road.


Stream their latest album, Piano Projects // Duets, below.


Keep in touch with The Daydream Club by visiting their website.