"Bad Day" Singer Daniel Powter
HOMETOWN: rural Vernon, B.C.
HOW YOU KNOW HIM: His infectious No. 1 hit "Bad Day" is played on American Idol every week during the goodbye video for booted contestants.
▪ FRENCH DISS
Apparently Idol departees aren't the only ones who don't want to face Powter's music. The first time he heard "Bad Day" on the radio, he was exercising in a Paris hotel gym. "This old man was working out," says Powter, who just released his self-titled debut album. "He stood up, said something in French and turned it off. It was the funniest thing. I felt like we weren't gonna get a hit!"
▪ TURNING IT UPSIDE DOWN
As a third grader, Powter found out he was dyslexic. "I started reading 'the bogs are darking' instead of 'the dogs are barking,'" he says. And sheet music "just looked like dots on a page," says the former violin student. But in the end, "it was more of a blessing. I couldn't read what others wrote, so the only way I could do music was to create my own."
▪ ROCK ME, AMADEUS
Against his wishes, Powter's mom frequently dragged him to the local symphony as a kid. "I hated it," he says. "Even my dad would nod off. But the good thing was when a rock show came to Vancouver, she'd take me to that too."
▪ DAN SOLO
After a stint in a "terrible" band during the early '90s, Powter vowed he'd never join another group. "One guy would say, 'I can't come to practice, I have to do laundry,'" he recalls. "I never wanted someone to have 25 percent of a say again." Not that he wants to be defined as a "sensitive singer-songwriter" either. "I'm like the Wizard of Oz," jokes Powter, who went for a "band vibe" on his album. "I'm behind the curtain playing the instruments."