After A 'Bad Day,' Daniel Powter's Ready To Spread His 'Lie'

Second U.S. single about telling people what they want to hear.

While Daniel Powter's hit "Bad Day" is the song "American Idol" contestants hear just after being eliminated, his next single could work just before Ryan Seacrest reads the results. It's called "Lie to Me."

"The lyric is [about] when you talk to people and they say, 'Just tell me what I want to hear,' " Powter explained. "You know, 'I'll tell you what you want to hear, but it's not gonna be true.' It's the story of my whole life. Don't give me the bad news, man, just tell me what I want to hear."

Powter has released different second singles in other countries already, but he likes "Lie to Me" for the United States because it's so different from "Bad Day" (see " 'Bad Day' Singer Powter Says He Doesn't Watch 'American Idol' ").

" 'Lie to Me' is more groove-oriented and I sing it falsetto," Powter said. "I grew up listening to a lot of Motown music, Marvin Gaye, Al Green and Stevie Wonder. That shows you how old I am. All the stuff in my house is vinyl. And 'Lie to Me' was one of those songs that was inspired by the backbeat, the accenting on the tune. I'm not trying to mimic or emulate Motown, but it's sort of shaped a lot of my sensibilities about songwriting."

In the U.K., Powter found success with "Free Loop," and in France, where he first debuted, his "Bad Day" follow-up was "Jimmy Gets High," a song he hopes to eventually release Stateside.

"I might have to battle some of the governing laws here to allow people to get high on the radio, but we'll see what happens," he joked. "As we get a little deeper into the record, it's gonna get more important to release the more important songs to me that I can just relate to, like 'Jimmy Gets High' and all those songs that I really did write about my friends."

Powter's in no rush to push aside "Bad Day," which just dropped to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 after five weeks at the top, but he wants a new single in time for a headlining North American tour scheduled in August.

"I want to do the small rooms, which is really my thing," he said. "I don't want to blow it out and do something like the opening stadium act show. I did that in Europe and had a hard time with it. Up onstage in front of 80,000 people, a whole lot of people who didn't know who I was, it was a drag and I didn't want to do that here. I love being able to see the whites of people's eyes, try to connect with them a little bit. So if that means I have to take more tour support and play smaller rooms, then I'll do that. I don't care about people paying to see me, I just want them to come and see it. I'll pay them to come to the show."

Fans probably shouldn't count on that, but they certainly can expect to be made a part of Powter's show. At a recent club gig in Bakersfield, for instance, when a fan yelled out that he could play "Free Loop" (which had yet to be released at the time), Powter invited him onstage to prove it.

"That's how I grew up playing music, man," Powter said. "My mom was this great piano player and it was all about community music. It was all about your friends coming over and she'd hand every one of them an instrument. We would all sit around and it was like 'Kumbaya' in Daniel's living room. So when I get up onstage, the first thing I am doing is incorporating the audience into the show."

Powter, who has already been touring the world for 18 months behind his self-titled debut, isn't sure how long the fall trek will last, but he's hoping at least into 2007.

"I am gonna work this record in America until they tell me to shut up," he said. "For me, it's not about having a hit song. It's about playing music for people. I think all of us musicians are always looking for that. We want that connectivity with people because we weren't getting it somewhere. We are narcissist buggers."