Blue – no other colour poses quite the paradox as it. No other colour is as simultaneously elemental and transcendental like it. On her titular debut single homegrown chanteuse DANI successfully and movingly evokes its nuances. Her enchantments consist of an air-light coo capable of conveying devastating truths with the grace of a feather caught in an updraft and a self-produced trove of sounds that, while fluidly kaleidoscopic, is poignant and powerful. This is music that resists compromise, that does not bend a knee to formulaic, supposedly sure-win gimmicks – that’s why her voice is an essential prospect. Heartache is a reliable muse and its yield is often banal. But here it’s quietly spellbinding. Below, she takes us through “blue” and her plans for the future.
Tell the people who you are.
Well, I’m DANI and I’m 23 years old. I’m a producer and a singer-songwriter. I do a lot of studio work with sound engineering. I didn’t start out in music by singing or playing the guitar. I do play the guitar now but when I was 12 years old, I was really bad. So, I went into music production and was always writing on the side.
I’m not able to comprehend how I feel most of the time because I feel a multitude of emotions. Even at times when you feel happy, you’re not 100 per cent happy because it comes with a bit of worry that this happiness will not last. Writing it out makes everything better and a lot of clearer about what I’m feeling. So, this led me on to song writing. It kind of balances out my thoughts and emotions.
“It opened up my eyes to myself, which is strange to say but you realise a lot of things about yourself through writing.”
Does self-producing come from you just wanting to do it yourself or not trusting anybody else to bring your vision to life?
To be honest, it started from when nobody wanted to play for me, which was really sad! Laughs. I found my own way of doing it by collecting sounds and putting them together. I think that makes everything unique. At first, I was discouraged but it got to the point where I really enjoyed and loved doing it on my own.
One of “blue”’s charms is that it doesn’t play like a straightforward take on the narrative of heartbreak. Emotionally, did this song do what you wanted it to do for you?
Thank you. There were a lot of things that made “blue”. When I first wrote the song, it was a very difficult time for me where I was struggling a lot with myself. I experienced a lot of things that made me fall into this hole and I didn’t know if I could be myself anymore.
Part of it was a breakup and another part of it was me not knowing how to talk to people or being socially reclusive. So, it was about finding the happiness or hope in the midst of struggling with these emotions. I wrote the song to say that no matter what happens, even if people like or don’t like you, you’re always going to be you. I realised that from my experiences as well. I managed to change the way I felt about myself and from there, my relationships with my friends and family changed as well.
There’s a strong cathartic thrust to it.
It was very therapeutic. It opened up my eyes to myself, which is strange to say but you realise a lot of things about yourself through writing. Previously, I was producing very different stuff compared to “blue” but somehow, when I figured what I wanted for myself, everything kind of fell into place.
Now that you’ve got your song out there on the Internet, are you intimidated by the scrutiny it’ll face?
Honestly, I don’t find it intimidating at all. If anything, the Internet has helped me to connect with people from all around the world and that was how I connected with Bryan, who co-produced my track. I’ve never met him. I sent him my track via the Internet and he picked it up. Before this, no one I knew wanted to produce or work with my stuff. I feel like the exposure has led me to a lot of new opportunities and allowed me to communicate with people from different parts of the world. I read this somewhere once: ” The future belongs to the people who are able to see the opportunities that are given to them” and I feel that the Internet gives a lot of opportunities to people.
What’s next for you?
My next single is coming out soon, either in July or August. I don’t really want to speak too far ahead about EPs or albums but for now, I will be concentrating on releasing singles. If the time is right, I’ll release an EP. I want the EP to mean something as well. I don’t want to release an EP for the sake of it. I want it to be a package that represents something.