Daya [pronunciation “dey-uh”] drives pop music down a different path. Perhaps, it’s a result of her classical piano training, the fact that her multi-ethnicity has been the catalyst for family visits across the globe, or a natural cleverness that’s as striking as her dynamic vocal range. It could just be due to the fact that this 16 year old singer and songwriter has always known what she wanted to do.
“Ever since I was three-years-old, I wanted to play music,” she affirms. “It showed me who I am, and I get to tell my story of self-discovery in my songs.”
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. Building off of her formal training and curiosity of the pop music world, they stirred up a singular style that’s as fresh as it is fiery.
“It’s pop music, but there’s always a message,” she explains. “We added in elements of everything that inspires me, from R&B to Indie music. We really wanted to tell an honest story.”
Their week together yielded her debut single “Hide Away.” Combining simplistic synth melodies, a power hook, and an emotionally charged vocal, the song poses the question, “Where do the good boys go to hide away?”
“To me, ‘Hide Away’ is about waiting for that someone who will love and appreciate you for exactly who you are. As a sixteen-year-old, I’m still figuring out who I am and what it is that I want. I’m not in any rush to settle.”
Soon after the song was recorded, Barletta introduced Daya to Steve Zap of Z Entertainment. He immediately fell in love with her fresh, new voice and knew the song would be an undeniable hit. Hits 1 on Sirius XM was the first station to fully embrace “Hide Away” and they lead the charge helping light up radio waves across the country. “Hide Away”began to organically catch fire online, drawing acclaim from YouTuber Tyler Oakley and celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton and landing on Spotify’s Artists To Watch 2015 Playlist. It set the foundation for her self-titled EP, Daya.
It’s hard not to get crazy over Daya and her music. She brings a rich experience that belies her age. One of five sisters, she’s traveled from India and Africa to Europe and China, even volunteering to help teenagers in Central America alongside her family. No matter where in the world she is, though, music is always right there with her.
“When it comes to my music, I always want to make sure that I’m doing something that sounds unique, while still conveying a message that’s universal” she leaves off. “I want to empower people to recognize their dreams, be able to chase them, and never be afraid of that.”