Danniella Dee's debut EP ‘Reflections’ is a fusion of sound, paying homage to the rhythms of Soul while influenced by classical R&B, hip-hop and ever-so-gentle touches of drum n bass. Various sonic blends throughout the project mirror multiple real-life themes that hold different faces.
Starting with the title ‘Reflections’, the opener beckons us to look through life from the lens of the inner child: a wildling, innocent creature that looks at the world with bright eyes and playtime. ‘Stutter’ possesses a feel-good groove, as ‘Women’ champions femininity in all its glory. Closing with ‘Transition’, is a bouncier sound compared to where we began, harnessing a darker aura as listeners transport back to everyday reality at the end of the EP.
“I'm confident that there's something on this project for everyone to resonate with," Danniella explains. “It's important for me to be able to connect with as many people as possible through my art. The songs are diverse in style, but they all have something that connects them - an ethereal, dreamy quality.”
1. Tell us a bit about your story: who are you and what has your journey looked like so far?
I’m Danniella Dee, singer-songwriter, producer & DJ hailing from Coventry, UK. My musical side definitely comes from my dad, who’s also a DJ & musician. Growing up, there were always reggae records playing, or a jam session going on in the music room. I went to a lot of crazy gigs with him as a young girl as well, which must have given me a taste for it. My formal music training started when I joined a Church choir at 11. I was there for 7 years, 3 times a week... Rehearsing, singing in services & learning the piano. I remember moaning a lot about having to go, but looking back... I'm glad my parents made me see it through. The knowledge I gained from my time there came in useful when I started producing my own music, which started around age 19. My boyfriend at the time put a cracked version of Logic on my laptop, and I became obsessed with bringing the ideas I had in my head to life. Since releasing my first single in 2019, I’ve experimented with a few different genres... And it’s only now I feel I have my feet firmly rooted to the ground of self-belief, with a strong & clear sense of direction.
2. Who inspires you musically and creatively?
Most of my best ideas come out of time spent in solitude, meditating on the people in my life, difficult experiences I’ve faced, or observing life just passing by... The less outside influence involved in the initial creation stages of an idea, the more pure it usually is. Once I’ve got that, I’ll then usually refer to elements I like from artists that inspire me, to help produce and arrange the idea in full. Michael Jackson was my favourite artist growing up... I remember my 6th birthday, asking the DJ to play him back to back. As I've gotten older, I've grown a deep appreciation for artists such as Marvin Gaye, Roy Ayers & Sade. Reggae music is what's in my bones, though... Especially 70’s Reggae. My favourite album is Hugh Mundell - Africa Must Be Free By 1983. The raw, perfectly imperfect instrumentals underneath his young, yet hauntingly beautiful voice always serves as a reminder that the most powerful music is that which accurately decorates time, and can evoke the feeling from that time, no matter where or when you’re listening.
3. What was the creative process behind your new music release?
My debut EP “Reflections” is a collection of songs I've produced and written over the years, exploring themes such as womanhood, reflecting on your younger self, romantic desire, the value in platonic relationships, one's divine purpose in life and the journey to discover it. I wanted there to be something on this EP for everyone, so I made sure to pick songs that were quite diverse sonically... But all laced with an ethereal, dreamy quality.
In the summer last year I was grateful to receive some funding to studio record the project with my band, which meant I could incorporate live instruments into the songs the way I’d wanted. It was hard work, juggling everyone’s availability & trying to stick to schedule... Especially as an independent artist with no support behind you. But, there were plenty of fun & special moments, and I learned a lot during the process which will help me be more efficient and organised when it comes to my next project.
4. What’s the best advice you’ve received during your journey?
“It’s highly unlikely that anyone else will pick up on the small details that worry you.”
5. How do you nurture your creativity?
Time spent outdoors is essential for me - I have to get out every day. Being barefoot on the ground,looking at trees, bodies of water... All help my mind slow down and allow me to reconnect with the natural, divine order within. In a lot of ways, modern life is a creativity killer, so I really have to make purposeful, consistent efforts to look after myself on a fundamental level. Burnout is a horrible place to be, but it teaches you the importance of taking time to rest, recharge and just do nothing - and also not to feel guilty about it.
6. What do you hope your new music will reveal to your listeners?
My hope is that listeners will enjoy discovering a reflection of themselves they might have forgotten, or not seen before. Someone recently described Stutter - the first single off the EP - as 'Light on the ears, heavy on the heart'. I feel like most of my songs express that quality, in one way or another. The songs that I hold dearest are those which are attached to special memories and feelings. I’d like to think my music can
accompany people through similar happy times... Or even to help them through difficult times. I put my whole heart into what I do, so when people tell me how my music touched them, I smile... because it means me and that person share the same heart.
7. Are there any upcoming shows or projects we can look forward to?
I’m currently working on a couple of records to release at the end of the year, around the time of my first ever headline show. It’s happening in London in November, and I’m feeling equally nervous and excited about it. It’s a huge milestone. I’ve been working on developing my live setup to match my vision, and the headline will be the perfect opportunity to showcase it in full.
8. Is there any advice you want to give to new artists?
If you pour your heart into making a song, and are brave enough to put it out into the world, you are a successful artist. Say yes to opportunities that excite you but seem scary - they’re the golden opportunities given to help you grow into the artist & person you were meant to be.