I was very excited this month when Daz Sims was nominated as our Warrior Women Musician of the Month for three reasons; firstly because I’ve seen Daz live myself so I’m a big fan (he literally ROCKS whichever venue he is given), secondly because the month of February is associated with St. Valentine and I couldn’t think of a musician who better uses music as a vehicle to spread love in a room (seriously the community spirit at his gigs is palpable) and thirdly because he has dedicated his gift and talent to raise over £350,000 for other people...
Daz is the founder of Daz’s Rock 4 Charity which plays annual concerts at Colston Hall, Bristol; the Grand Pier in Weston-Super-Mare and Hull City Hall. His self-penned charity single ‘Sunshine Girl’ directly supported two great charities. Daz is one of those rare vocalists who can also play multiple instruments including lead guitar, bass guitar, piano and drums. Yet, he isn’t someone who blows his own trumpet, when you experience one of his performances for the first time (like I did, by accident) you’re floored by the talent that suddenly erupts into the room. I remember thinking that I’d stumbled across a rare gem – but actually I’d, unknowingly, joined an almost ‘secret society’ of people who are in awe of Daz’s talent. Daz is well known by word of mouth alone and he seems completely oblivious to his wonderful impact.
Well now I get the opportunity to invite more of you into this secret while also finding out more about the man behind the music in the process!
Hello Daz, thank you for volunteering your time to be interviewed. Firstly, how does it feel to be Warrior Women’s Musician of the Month?
I’m very honoured to be considered, thank you very much for being nominated
Where and how did your musical journey begin?
I was in the school choir from the age of 7, then joined the church choir. My choirmaster gave me piano lessons, for which I was very grateful, I then taught myself guitar and bass guitar and formed our own band at school, which was first called “Young Vision” and then got changed to “Front Page News”. We had our first gigs when I was about 13, I also around the same time played in a semi-professional band called “Jet Ranger and the Helicopters” with some great older friends who gave me my music apprenticeship. I was pretty much gigging 2-3 times a week from the age of 13.
What did music mean to you growing up?
I loved music, it felt great, still does and always will be a major part of my life. I hope to be still gigging when I’m a granddad and until I go to the Rock ’n’ Roll gig in the sky.
How did you manage to learn to play so many different instruments? And do you have a favourite?!
I seem to have had a natural flair for taking on new instruments, I can muster a bit of saxophone, harmonica, ukulele, drums, piano, but my two favourite are guitar and bass, (I can’t really choose between those two).
What has been your biggest learning experience in life?
My motto is to enjoy life and help others. I think we have all seen family and friends suffer at some point in our lives, whether from illness, feeling low, having bad luck, disabilities, accidents… the list goes on. But if a group of people can get together and make a difference to anyone’s life and ease their suffering, pain, needs, that is an amazing thing.
What motivated you to found Daz’s Rock 4 Charity?
Since an early age, probably as early as I can remember, there were sponsored walks, silences etc., fundraisers, but I thought it would be great to create Daz’s Rock 4 Charity to help all kinds of charitable causes. I’m very proud to have a wonderful team of helpers, volunteers and supporters who make amazing things happen with all the things we do. Although I don’t have very much spare time, it is very rewarding seeing some of the differences everyone’s hard work makes. I'm also very lucky to have my wife, Maria and children Scarlett and Harrison and my lovely family 100% behind our work.
What is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had when raising money for a charity or good cause?
I don’t think I can choose as each fundraising mission we have taken on has been rewarding. I got asked to make a list the other day of who we have helped and it wasn’t until I looked at it, I was quite gobsmacked. For instance, a ‘Variety’ minibus has been funded to help take children around their daily school lives from Daz’s Rock 4 Charity. We helped the James Walker 100 which was an initiative to buy James an Eyegazer, a medical vest for James who has cystic fibrosis, which enabled him to communicate. I am proud to be involved with Project Brailler, they have provided Smart Braillers to visually impaired children. We saved the Grove Youth club from closing. We were devastated to learn of young Kye Vincent who lost multiple limbs due to Meningitis, Kye is doing remarkably well, with his happy go lucky nature, we were proud to have helped raise a significant amount to help with his rehabilitation.
One recently close to my heart was helping the Zehtabi family achieve some of their bucket list wishes as dad, Amir, sadly has terminal cancer. Son, Zac, is severely autistic and along with mum they have had some very special magical moments together. The list is endless but all achieved with the help of my team and loyal supporters and helpers.
What do you think music can bring to the world?
It can bring happiness, can make people remember happy and sad times, can be therapeutic.
If you could wave a magic wand; what change would you like to see in your lifetime?
I would love to see a cure for cancer and for us not to lose loved ones so early in their lives.
Who or what inspires you?
I am constantly in touch with friends, family and even people I don’t know who have challenging things in their life, whether it be a terminal medical condition, a mental health condition, they have been involved in an accident and so forth. The majority seem to battle very bravely and I can’t imagine some of the pain some people go through, so that inspires me greatly.
Do you have any personal goals that you are working towards?
I am on my way to £400,000 raised, I would like to maybe reach £500,000 by the end of 2018, and if one day muster £1 million raised that would help a lot of people. This isn’t impossible and with the great help we receive, it’s great what people-power can achieve.
I am proud to have completed Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle ride in 2015 in 11 days and my next challenge is the London Marathon on Sunday 23rd April 2017. I hate running, so this is a big challenge. If anyone would like to sponsor they can by visiting: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/varietydaz or text: HUFF88 £10 to 70070 (amounts of £1,2,3,4,5,10) This will help Variety - The Children’s Charity who I am proud to be an ambassador of.
Where can we catch you next?
My next big concert is at the Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare on Friday 3rd March, the night is suitable for all the family, runs from 7.30pm - 1am, tickets are only £10 in advance available from www.grandpier.co.uk or from me 07976 629132 there is also an aftershow party ‘til 3am (£3 wristband available on the night also on the Pier)
The Live music night features 70s / 80s hit makers Racey (Some Girls / Lay your Love on Me) and a host of live bands, singers and entertainers. This concert is helping Horseworld and Horseworld Discovery who help young people who come from difficult backgrounds / have learning difficulties / disabilities to gain work qualifications and experience.
For other gigs check out “Daz’s Rock 4 Charity” on Facebook, as all gig dates are posted weekly.
Useful links to follow Daz: