THE debut single is always…
an exciting and eventful occasion for any artist. I have been speaking with the American songwriter Dakota Danielle about One Church and what inspired it. She talks about the artists who have inspired her to take up music; what it is like living and playing in Nashville; whether there is more material arriving this year – I ask whether she will come to the U.K. and play.
Dakota Danielle tells me about her studies in Tennessee and what she has planned for the rest of this year; if there are new artists we should get our ears around; what the music scene is like in Illinois (where she hails from) – the songwriter talks to me about her favourite albums and what she does away from music.
Hi, Dakota. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi! I am doing good (smiles). My week has been busy - but in a good way!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Of course! My name is Dakota Danielle and I am originally from Teutopolis, IL. I graduated from Middle Tennessee State and have been living in Nashville for two years, now pursuing a music career.
Your debut single, One Church, is out. What is the story behind it?
This song is about my hometown. It has a population of 1600 people and consists of one church and three bars. This song was written about the common characteristics (you hear) small towns have, but yet, there is still something unique about the town I am from.
What was it like working with Mookie & Evan (and) Michael J. Clouse III on the song?
It was a lot of fun! They were great to work with! I felt like my song was in good hands the whole time and we all shared the same vision.
Is there going to be more material coming? Might we see an E.P. later in the year?
Yes. There will be more music coming! I have another single recorded that I am excited to put out there later this year (smiles).
How did you get into songwriting? Was there an artist you were compelled by at a young age?
Songwriting, for me, started when I picked up the guitar my senior year of high-school. I wrote a song about my aunt who had passed away when I was young. I played it for my family and seeing how something I had written touch them emotionally made me really want to dive more into songwriting.
I grew up listening to Aretha Franklin, Toby Keith; Dolly Parton, The Beach Boys; Neil Diamond and more. I feel like I had a lot of different artists that influenced my love of music.
I know you are taking Nashville by storm – studying a degree in Commercial Songwriting at Middle Tennessee State University as you go. What are the people like in Nashville? Is it a great place to play?
I love Nashville! I feel like I am in a small town living in a big city (smiles). All the people I have met so far have been very nice and supportive. I love how there is music playing almost everywhere you go. It influences me and keeps me motivated.
You are from Illinois. What are the main differences between there and Tennessee, would you say?!
In Illinois, there is definitely more fields, farms and flat land - also, windmills are a common thing. I had a few friends comment on how they have never seen a windmill...and that was so strange to me because I saw them a lot living in Illinois (smiles).
Do you have any gigs lined up? Where are you heading?
I do! I am playing in Carbondale, IL, coming up and various places around Nashville in the coming weeks.
Will you come to the U.K. and play? Have you visited here before?
I would love to someday travel to the U.K. and play! I have never been.
If you had to select three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
I would have to pick the three albums I remember listening to all the time growing up because it brings me back to those memories.
Toby Keith - 35 Biggest Hits
I would have How Do You Like Me Now?! on-repeat
Aretha Franklin - Greatest Hits
Respect was my jam!
The Beach Boys - Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of The Beach Boys
Loved singing along to, pretty much, every song on this album!
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
I hope to advance my music career in 2018 as well as grow as a person. I would love to have my music heard by multiple people in the hopes of helping them express joy or sadness.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
I will always remember the very first time I performed in public. It was at the Effingham Country Fair Talent Show. I played New Strings by Miranda Lambert and it was the first time any of my friends/family really heard me sing. It was a memory I will never forget (smiles).
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I would tell them to never give up, believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone - because that will help you learn and grow as an artist (smiles).
IN THIS PHOTO: Meredith Joi
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Music is a part of my life and, without it, I feel lost...but, if I have time to chill and unwind, I am definitely a Netflix person.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
I am choosing a song that I always love to listen to! Dust on the Bottle - David Lee Murphy (smiles)
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