Detroit singer escapes symptoms of disorder on stage

Hamtramck native loves to entertain, wants to inspire others by overcoming obstacles

Danny D grew up with tics but as a child didn't really know what was happening.

"In second grade, I was making this tic and I didn't really know what it was, but it didn't really bother me, so I'd make a tic, make a little noise and stuff, and I went through all of school that way," said Danny D.

Then as a young adult, his father pointed out an article on Tourette syndrome.  The 21-year-old from Hamtramck decided to go to a doctor and was diagnosed with the disorder.

Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder that often starts in early childhood with symptoms include involuntary movements or tics of the face, arms, limbs or trunk of the body.

Danny D explains how the symptoms have taken a toll on his body.

"Some of the effects of making the noise and jerking, you know, beats the hell out of your body," said Danny D. "I would jerk so hard I would, I have a pain here because I go like this and I actually broke two ribs when I was a kid and didn't even know it."

Danny D is a singer and songwriter and has played music since he was young.  He describes his music as a little rock, alternative, Americana and country with a Motown inspiration since he grew up in the center of Detroit rock and the Motown scene.   His career has included opening for artists like Mitch Ryder, David Lee Roth, Bad Company, Eddie Money, The Tubes, Air Supply, Uncle Kracker, and The Romantics.

He has also sung for and to Roger Daltrey, Steven Tyler, Rod Stewart, Paul Warren, Robert Bateman, Mark Farner, the late Johnnie Bassett, Simon Townsend, Teddy Andreadis, Vinnie Appice, Paul Stanley, Shaun Murphy, Drew Abbott, Alto Reed, HUSH and others.

Danny D said he notices something about his Tourette syndrome symptoms when he is focused on his music.

"When I would get onstage and perform and write music it would just kind of go away," said Danny D.  "My inspiration would take over and I would totally concentrate on it."

"I never really thought about it on stage when I'm writing a song or something it would kind of go away.  I don't know why but it just took a, the music took precedent over it at that time, and it wouldn't bother me," Danny D said.

Janet Reed, the senior staff neuropsychologist for Henry Ford Health System, explains it is possible for people to see their symptoms disappear when they are doing something they love.

"When people engaged in tasks that they very much enjoy or even in mental tasks where they are solving a problem or they're very focused on something so it can be something like somebody who is building a model for example their tics can either go away or diminish substantially," said Reed.

The symptoms can also diminish with age.

"It seems that about 50 percent of people can outgrow many tics and they tend to become somewhat better in adulthood but it its relatively more rare that it becomes either worse or stays very significant and severe," said Reed.

Danny D agrees because his own symptoms have improved with time.

"When I was younger I did the whole thing.  I did the, I mean I did the swearing and the movements the whole nine yards and as I got older I kind of got out of that it's just more movements and tics and you know grunts like that or something," said Danny D.

He sees his symptoms worsen with the change of seasons; especially the cold.  They can also be more troublesome when he is stressed or aggravated.

However, Danny D said having Tourette syndrome has helped him on stage.

"It actually made my show better," said Danny D. "There's just all that energy involved with Tourettes comes, well, there's like an obsessive compulsive type of thing where you try to, you get obsessed with something, so when you're onstage you're obsessed to do the best you can, and be the best and always do the spins and or whatever you might do onstage or dance or sing."

Danny D has a new CD out called "Last Call."    He wants to write a book and hopes to inspire others who face obstacles.

"I know that I'm destined to do this and that I'm going to do this and I know that it's in my heart to do this and this is my mission and along the way I'd like to inspire people to go for their own dreams also," Danny D said.

For  more information on Danny D and his upcoming events, click here.

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