Most musicians preach the therapeutic values to songwriting, and Daniel Walcher is no different.
His early journey led from foster home to foster home after he was removed from his family at 6 months old, eventually landing into a strictly religious home in Enid. A falling out with his adopted parents left Walcher struggling on his own, but he eventually found his way with his voice and a guitar.
Songwriting became a much-needed catharsis, and as he worked through his hardships, he found himself addicted to the escapism music offered.
"It becomes more of a passion that you can't really get rid of, so you pick up odd jobs and play music as much as you can," he said.
He picked up the drums close to the time he landed in Enid; his first experiences in music were expectedly spiritual. Walcher's adoptive father was the pastor of a local church, and no secular music was allowed in the household. Walcher sought solace underneath his covers at night; listening to country music on a handheld radio from a science set he pilfered from his brother.
Nonetheless, Walcher also found inspiration in the Christian artists he was allowed to listen to like dc Talk and Audio Adrenaline. He even tried his hand at worship songs to impress his father after finding the guitar to be more expressive than the drums.
"The funny thing was, I was never good at it," Walcher said. "Eventually, I had a falling out with my family and decided to leave and start writing about what is real."
In high school, Walcher had been struck by the lyricism of David Gray and Adam Duritz of Counting Crows, and sought to replicate those heartfelt sentiments on his own.
A tumultuous period following his departure from his adopted home proved to be excellent fodder for music of this sort and found its way onto his first two albums. His earliest material favored slow, measured acoustic constructions, but as he found happiness, so has his music.
Walcher's now married, worked through his past and is focused on having fun with his music. The biggest struggle he faces in songwriting is not having any to draw from.
"A label executive asked me if I was married one time," Walcher said. "It's not because they want you to be single and partying all the time; it's because once you are married, there's not quite as much heartbreak and turmoil in your everyday relationships that you can write songs about."
He found a quick solution.
"I started writing about friend's experiences," he said. "Everything is still a real-life experience, but sometimes I work through my friends' viewpoint instead."
Walcher has decided to form a nonprofit foundation to place a guitar and lifetime set of strings in every foster-care facility statewide. He's donating 20 percent of the proceeds from his self-titled new album.
"When I think about it, I could have worked through so many issues earlier on if I had a guitar earlier," he said. "I might not have acted out so much."