Daya On Her Sophomore LP & The Importance Of Being Authentic: Interview

Mike Wass | October 30, 2018 12:54 pm
Daya's Cinematic 'New' Video
The teenager returns to the pop scene with a 'New' single and elaborate video.

Daya came out of nowhere to land a double-platinum, top 30 hit in 2015. The independently-released “Hide Away” was just too catchy to deny and the (then) 16-year-old soon found herself being molded into the next pop sensation with a Grammy-winning feature on The Chainsmokers’ “Don’t Let Me Down” and a legitimate girl-power anthem with “Sit Still, Look Pretty.” The budding superstar has done a lot of growing up since then. She casually came out in a thoughtful Instagram post, cut her hair and got to work on her sophomore album.

I recently caught up with Daya in Columbia, South Carolina where she was performing a college show and taking part in an intimate Q&A for fans as part of Verizon’s Verizon Up rewards program, which gives customers once-in-a-lifetime experiences and VIP tickets to music and sporting events. The (now) 20-year-old opened up about the importance of being authentic and true to herself as well as her desire to work with female producers. We also talked about the evolution of her sound. Get reacquainted with the hitmaker below.

A lot has changed since the last time we spoke. You came out, changed your image and your sound. When did you decide to be more open about who you are?

I think it was just the fact that I was introduced to the industry at such a young age. I was only 16, so I really didn’t know myself fully yet, and I think that the past couple years have kind of provided me some time for growth. Especially the past year, where I wasn’t so busy with touring and everything. I got to reflect on who I am and who I want to be to the world. I think that was the most crucial step in my career… to take a step back and recognize those things. Because if I’m not authentic to me, then how is anyone supposed to connect with me? I have to always tell my truth, and that’s the most important thing to me.

Is it nerve-wracking to do?

It’s nice because I don’t really have to go to as much effort, you know? It’s just like everything feels very natural. But, yeah, there are a lot more honest songs on this next album. I think that that’s exciting, but also kinda nerve wracking because I’ve always been a somewhat private person. So it’s gonna be interesting to see a lot of people having that bigger glimpse into my private life.

How far along are you with the new album?

We’re pretty much done. We have to wrap up a couple more things, but the majority of the album is there and it feels so good. I want to put it out tomorrow.

Where do songs like “Safe” and “New” fit into it? Are they just one-off singles?

Yeah, those are one-off singles. I think that they defined the period of time when they were released. I think “Safe” is a little bit different. It was more so a song that was based on a feeling, it’s meant to be a comfort song. It’s not necessarily in line with the rest of my stuff, but I definitely felt like I needed to put that song out. It just felt so, so real and hopefully it provides some solace for some of the people who have actually gone through the tragedy of events like Vegas. But, I think those were just kind of definitive of the period in which they were released.

Can you talk about your new sound? What’s the difference between this and your first album?

It’s hard to define an album, but it’s definitely just a blend of all of my inspirations and all of my favorite sounds. There’s some club songs on it, there are some party songs, there are some more intimate acoustic guitar songs. There’s a mix of it all.

Is it still very poppy?

I would say it’s definitely more experimental than my first album, and that has a lot to do with the fact that I didn’t write a lot of the songs on my first album. I wrote every single song on this new album alongside some great songwriters and producers. It’s definitely more in line with what I want to sound like sonically.

I know you’ve been in the studio with J Kash and Leland. Who else has contributed to the album?

I been in with some really, really great female producers, as well. I’ve been in with Alex Hope. She’s so epic. I also worked with Laleh, who’s a Swedish producer and songwriter. She won Producer of the Year at the Swedish Grammys. She’s so, so talented. I’ve definitely been trying to bring a lot of female producers and songwriters into the mix because I feel like that spotlight could definitely grow and is still growing. Just a bunch of people that I vibe with. So if we vibe from the start on a friendship level, then everything will be easy from there.

When will we get to hear some new stuff?

I can’t say, but the next couple months for sure.

I can’t wait to hear them. Thank you!

Thank you. Nice to see you again.

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