10 Questions with ... Daya
March 1, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Taking lessons from a neighborhood teacher, Daya began playing piano at the age of three. She switched from classical to jazz at eleven, while picking up guitar, ukulele, saxophone and flute along the way. As a teen, the Pittsburgh native found her voice studying at the Accelerando Music Conservatory. During a visit to the school, Platinum songwriter and producer Gino Barletta (JoJo, Miranda Cosgrove, Jessica Mauboy) heard Daya sing and collaborated with her over the following years, until recently inviting her to Los Angeles for a writing session in February 2015. Their week together yielded her debut hit single, "Hide Away."
1) Are you in shock that this is all happening for you?
Yeah, a little bit. I was just in high school a few months ago ... being a normal high school kid. I was looking at colleges and this just popped up, but it's what I have been wanting to do my whole life, so I love it.
2) Growing up, were you always interested in being a performer? Did you always want to sing?
Yes. I've been playing music my whole life, and I started on the piano when I was three. Then I picked up the guitar and taught myself the ukulele, and found my voice somewhere along the way. I took lessons and developed my voice, and performed around the community. This is something that I really wanted to do for the past couple of years, and to see it come through is amazing.
3) Was your family really supportive of you?
Yeah! My parents have been so supportive, and I'm really grateful for that, because I know that a lot of artists don't have it that way. They've been taking me to all of my lessons over the years, and putting money and time into my career. It's been really great. I have four sisters, and they're all excited for what's to come.
4) What do you think it is about "Hideaway" that people love so much?
The song deals with empowering yourself before getting into a relationship, and focusing on your dreams and goals. If you look at the reviews and comments on iTunes, people really relate to that.
5) What's it been like talking to fans?
It's a little crazy. All of a sudden I have fans following me on Twitter and replying asking about new songs that I'll have coming out. I've been able to meet a lot of fans at radio visits, and it's cool to see people looking up to me as a role model.
6) Do you have any favorite artists? Who have you been listening to forever?
I've been listening to Amy Winehouse forever. I also listen to Adele, and I love Tove Lo and Tori Kelly.
7) Who would be your dream duet partner? Who would you just die to sing with on a song?
Probably Sam Smith, because his voice is so rich. I love it!
8) What has been the most surprising thing to you about the music industry?
Just how connected everyone is. It's a much smaller world than I thought it was. You get one connection, then all of a sudden you know so many people. That, and if I just work hard and put my heart into it and stay passionate, I'll be successful.
9) Do you still play all of those instruments?
Yeah, I do. I love the piano. That's my favorite, but I also love picking up the guitar or ukulele and jamming out.
10) Where do you see yourself going forward in your career?
I hope to be a role model for girls, and to continue on this path creating songs that I have creative control over. I think it would be really cool to start touring at some point, and performing all over the country and the world.
-- Interview by Leah Adams, All Access.