JACKSON – It wasn’t a strike that impacted musicians a few years ago, it was a global pandemic and a township entertainer faced some challenging struggles during that time. These days he’s moving forward in ways he never thought possible.
Recording artist Daniel Simoes, 35, remembers the dark time of the pandemic which caused the closure of live music venues and left local musicians to do what they do best – get creative.
The singer, who began his career in 2018 under the name Alvalanker, released his third album during the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic helped him in some ways, “because more people were staying inside or isolating and listening to more music, streaming it on Spotify and iTunes, giving musicians more revenue.”
Simoes recently released another EP “and my numbers and analytics from fans and listeners, downloads and generated revenue have all skyrocketed, so it is possible to recover,” he said adding that he has made “massive progress since Covid was at its worst and effecting me as a musician.”
He is now the composer for a new video game that is in development by Martin Shkreli. “Shkreli the ‘Pharma bro aka ‘most hated man in America’ has helped me promote my music and I befriended him.”
Shkreli came into notoriety as the co-founder of the hedge funds Elea Capital, MSMB Capital Management, and MSMB Healthcare, the co-founder and former CEO of pharmaceutical firms Retrophin and Turing Pharmaceuticals, and the former CEO of start-up software company Gödel Systems, which he founded in August 2016.
In September 2015, Shkreli was widely criticized when Turing obtained the manufacturing license for the antiparasitic drug Daraprim and raised its price by 5,455% (from $13.50 to $750 per pill).
A year later, Shkreli was charged and convicted in federal court on two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy for activity unrelated to the Daraprim controversy. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and up to $7.4 million in fines.
He was fined $64.6 million that was to be repaid to victims in the civil case and on May 18, 2022, Shkreli was released early from the low-security federal prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania.
Simoes said, “I found out he was from Sheep’s Head Bay Brooklyn which is literally minutes from where I was born. He was born at Coney Island Hospital. I found out he was streaming a lot on YouTube and I started commenting in the chat room and we began talking online and then he went to prison. I wrote him a couple of letters and he wrote back.”
“He was transferred to a prison at Fort Dix. He remembered me and my user name of Alvalanker on the internet. He’s been out for a year and half or so. He was convicted on three of eight counts which is what he went to prison for and he is banned from the pharmaceutical industry as a result. That was his main passion in life,” Simoes added.
Simoes said, Shkreli “has a bunch of projects going on. He has always been interested in video games like many of those from my generation.” The game called Hume AI concerns the subject of artificial intelligence “It is a role-playing style game like Final Fantasy or Pokémon and when we were talking about the game and what it needs, he said some music would be nice.”
“I said I have plenty of instrumental music that would sound great for a video game because video game music is one of my biggest influences that made me want to become a musician,” Simoes said. He sent samples to Shkreli’s representative and is now working on the music for the project.
“Music for a video game has to loop as it is played over and over again. People are going to be listening to this music for 10 hours a week because a lot of people who play video games play six-seven hours a day,” the musician added.
Simoes told The Jackson Times that in mid-2021 he had fallen into a bit of a slump until one day when he heard Van Halen’s “Why Can’t This Be Love.” He was inspired by Eddie Van Halen’s guitar work that served to reignite his excitement. “I became obsessed with him as a guitar player. I felt this guy was the ultimate guitar god. His entire life was guitars, guitar amplifiers and writing music.”
Simoes pondered, “how was it that I had never been inspired by this guy before? I had never played guitar riffs that were as innovative. How did he come up with this? He had a style that was so unique.”
“I was so inspired by it that I started writing and playing guitar music more so than the electronic music that I was doing. One of my favorite Van Halen songs is “Amsterdam” which is where Eddie was born. He came over here on a boat dirt poor. His whole story from birth to his death is massively inspirational.”
Simoes moved to New Jersey in 1989. “I love it here, I was a Boy Scout as a kid so I went camping very often, and Jackson is just full of trees and gorgeous forests and farms. It really is the kind of place I could stay for my entire life.”
His performance moniker of Alvalanker came about very randomly. “I just made it up one day out of thin air. I took four years of Latin in High School and a passion for etymology grew in me so I was very interested in words and dissecting them and their meanings and origins.”
You can follow the musician’s work at linkedin.com/in/relicradiation as well as on Spotify at open.spotify.com/artist/12O6L9BEaefqiZ5eQ2XD9R on Apple Music at music.apple.com/us/artist/alvalanker/1403509237 and on YouTube at youtube.com/alvalankerofficial