Daniel Grey (December 31st, 1990 - February 28th, 2017), known professionally as simply Danny, was an American singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born in Houston, Texas, Grey gained popularity through his (originally) self-released extended play, and received mainstream attention by being the first lead singer of Unnamed. He has since become a global figure in popular culture from his music and contributions.
Becoming a global phenomenon at just the age of 15, Grey signed with his father's record label to lift off his musical career. Meeting members of his future band, Grey quickly sifted towards the top of his genre of alternative rock and nu metal. Unnamed became a cultural hit, and popularity continued to bloom for the still young star.
Grey began collaborating with A-list artists and rappers, further embedding himself in the heart of the industry and creating more opportunities to grow. After label switches and disputes, Grey stuck with his fourth and final label, Def Jam, until the end of his career. He is most known in his solo career for his extravagent and record setting world tour, EuphoriaWorld.
Life and careerEdit
1990-2005: Early Life and Octo EPEdit
Daniel Grey was born in Houston, Texas, to Grey Academy founder and president Mason Grey and actress Sasha Grey. The oldest of three kids, Daniel showed a natural skill for music and singing, joining his local church's choir when he was just 5 years old. He continued to develop his musicality through his father's personal homeschooling and private lessons from his teachers from his academy. In an interview in 2014, Grey revealed that he was verbally abused by his father for mistakes in practice, and would often give permission to his tutors to use a belt if he were to not successfully complete a rep on time.
At age 14, Daniel began using Grey Academy's recording studio to create his own extended play. His father allowed him to use the equipment whenever he had free time. Grey wouldn't waste his spare time recording the songs on his developing EP, giving him the idea to sarcastically name the set Boredom EP. He released the extended play at age 15 on the popular social media platform, MySpace. Grey's EP quickly topped charts on the site, and eventually gained national notority despite only having 6 songs. Boredom EP was officially re-released, renamed as Octo EP by Grey Records .
The popularity of the extended play eventually prompted his father to sign Grey to his own label and to begin performances. At the time, Grey met future band mate and best friend Tyler Amin at his tutoring sessions. Amin introduced Grey to other future members of Unnamed, including Kyle Crane and Amelia Watkin. The group formed Unnamed in December 2005, picking up rapper A.J Lawerence when he signed with Grey Records.
2005-2009: Forever Nothing and first solo albumEditWith the newly formed band gaining popularity through a remix extended play produced by Grey Records, Grey became the destined frontman he was cited to be. The members of Unnamed all dropped out of high school after signing officially with the label, and development of their first studio album began. Grey acted as the primary writer with help from Lawerence for the verses. The album was released two weeks after Grey's 18th birthday. Forever Nothing sold over one million copies in its first week, breaking the record for a band/artist's first album copies sold in that amount of time.
The success of Unnamed's first album sparked Grey's father to push him to quickly develop a solo album to release the following year in order to create a continuous flow of revenue. While the band was on its European tour for Forever Nothing, Grey used the mobile studio to begin recording the tracks for his solo album. Lawerence once more assisted him on writing the music, in exchange for verses on two of the songs. Against his father's orders to keep the album solo and without features, Grey released Stories from Smith Street in 2009, with Lawerence still on the tracklisting. Following a large dispute between Grey and his father's label, himself and Unnamed signed with Interscope and Polydor moving forward.
2009-2012: Party in Miami, TFLP and second solo albumEditWith the move to Interscope and Polydor, Unnamed experienced a boom in publicity and creative freedom. Barriers set by Grey Records prevented Unnamed and Grey from experimenting with different styles and genres. The band released their second studio album, Party in Miami, in 2010. Their new labels set up the band's second highest-grossing tour, The Forever Lonely Party (TFLP), lasting a full year.
While at start of the TFLP tour, Grey once more began writing for another solo album. Having released Forever Nothing with Unnamed in 2008, Stories from Smith Street in 2009, and Party in Miami in 2010, Grey was poised to release his fourth album in three years. Working alongside frequent collaborator Calvin Harris, the duo decided to produce a joint album, as to avoid a large workload on Grey. On Christmas Day, Harris and Grey released Commercial Break in 2012. Two of the albums singles, What Doesn't Kill You and Am I Funny, reached #1 on Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks, combined.
2012-2013: Angel Tour and Departure from Unnamed Edit
Following the conclusion of the TFLP tour and the success of Commercial Break, Grey decided to take a stop on his solo career and try to reconnect with his band after growing distant from his busy scheduling. Due to Daniel taking a few months off to tour with Calvin Harris, members Kyle Crane and A.J Lawerence were searching for possible replacements to work full time with Unnamed instead of working on other projects. This wasn't told to either Grey or Tyler Amin. After discovering this, a feud began within the band. Grey and Amin blasted the other members on social media, calling them "unloyal bastards" and threatening to leave the band. The feud eventually simmered down and recordings for a third album began, but the problems lingered. Seeing the distrust in the group and wishing to not feel locked to a single project, Amin left the band before writing for the third album began.Unnamed's third album, Archangel, was released in 2012. Just prior to the release, Lawerence went back on his agreement with Grey to not search for new members, getting the label to sign Tyrel O'Reily as a touring partner and James Grey from Grey Records as a backup. Announcing during the midpoint of The Angel Tour, Grey officially left the band in hopes of furthering his solo career. A month after his departure, a diss track towards Lawerence was released on Grey's old MySpace page. It was quickly removed by the label as to avoid controversy between its signed artists.
2013-2016: Leaving Interscope and EuphoriaEdit
Grey continued to work with Amin on music while he began work in the movie industry. For his upcoming solo album, Grey recruited many young singers and artists, such as SZA, while getting help from established producers in Kanye West and Pharrell in order to diversify his sound. West offered Grey a new contract at Def Jam to create better collaboration, in which he accepts.
In 2015, after a three year hiatus of new content, Grey released his third solo album, Euphoria, without any advertising or warning. Despite this, it sold 4 million copies in the first month, a career high. The album was considered one of the most unique sounding records created, featuring a range of artists across genres, from Big Sean to Chris Martin. He performed his first and only solo world tour, and the lengthiest tour of his career at two years.
2016-2017: Ammends with Unnamed and DeathEdit
Grey remained close friends with Unnamed member Amelia Watkin, and eventually became close once more with the entire band. After being distant from his siblings his entire life in the face of stardom, Grey developed a stronger bond with his younger brother, James. Making peace with Lawerence, the two parties suggested they collaborate on an album, but not commit Grey to returning entirely, as to avoid more turmoil. Grey tweeted out plans to get back into the studio with Unnamed and "pick up where we left off", but wished to complete his now-record breaking tour, which now stood at number 6 on the list of highest-grossing concert tours in history.On February 27th, Grey performed just the third show of 90 on his North American scene for the EuphoriaWorld tour in Toronto. After completing an encore, Grey was escorted back to his private hotel by his security detail. Sometime during the morning hours between 3:30 AM and 5 AM, Grey had exited the hotel room without a body guard and took a walk to a public park. He was found shot and killed next to a park bench overlooking the area's lake, and gunfire was reported by passerbys. The killer was not identified, and no murder weapon was found at the scene. Security footage later saw Grey leaving the hotel at 4:21 AM, and noticed a middle-aged white female following him. Traffic cams later caught the woman on more tapes running from the park where Grey was murdered, but facial recognition could not identify her.
Aftermath and MemorialEdit
News of Grey's death first was released on the morning of February 28th, 2017, when he was pronounced dead around 7 AM. Shock struck the entire world. Websites crashed and overflowed from the traffic caused by people search Daniel Grey, looking to find the truth on his passing. Grief poured from fans, artists, and high ranking figures, such as President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The site of his death was showered with flowers, tributes, and messages. The studio where Grey had first recorded with Unnamed was visited by nearly 30,000 people the day after his death.The week of his passing, numerous artists dedicated concerts and performances to Grey. Long time collaborator Calvin Harris invited Tyler Amin, best friend of Grey, to perform with him at a concert and pay tribute to their lost friend. Artists across all genres, including Travis Scott, Sam Smith, and Usher performed in tribute to Daniel. Unnamed performed a show the day the news broke about Grey's death, stating that the future is clouded moving forward. They cancelled the final leg of their current tour, and went dark on social media for nearly two months before announcing disbandment.
Sales in Grey's albums and Unnamed's alike skyrocketed. Over night, seven of Grey's 11 singles were certified platinum, with the other 4 ceritifed gold. Sales of the Euphoria album jumped from 21 million copies to 46 million copies in one month, a record for fastest selling album and ranking third all time units.
Two years after his death, various artists collaborated on a tribute album for Grey in 2019. Over 40 million copies were sold over the course of three years. The album was the last record to feature fellow artist Chester Bennington, who committed suicide months after Grey's murder a days after completing his portion of the tribute album. With two major icons gone, the Unnamed4Ever tour was launched at low pricing and was one of the most attended tours of all time, at number 7. Tributes to Grey and Bennington were widespread.
See also: Unnamed discography