July 24th 2017
Get To Know Our Girl DaniLeigh
Who Is DaniLeigh?
You haven’t heard sugar and spice until you’ve heard Miami-born DaniLeigh — with a sultry voice that’s punctuated by bold delivery and a carefree attitude, the 22-year-old triple threat is the perfect combination of sweet and sassy. And despite her rapid rise to success, she’s still the girl next door who can Milly Rock better than anyone you know. Her Dominican upbringing heavily influences her love of dance and shines through in her music as well.
From singing to dancing to creative directing, DaniLeigh has always been a self-starter: “I finally came out of my shell when I started doing covers and putting them out on YouTube when I was 14,” she remembers. After steadily building a loyal fanbase, she moved to Los Angeles in 2011, where she was later discovered by Prince and worked on his “Breakfast Can Wait” video: “I was 18, and that was my very first, big directing gig.” DaniLeigh has since racked up experience dancing on stage, alongside the likes of Meghan Trainor, Pitbull and Pharell, in addition to playing lead dancer in music videos for Daddy Yankee, Nelly Furtado, and TimeFlies, eventually signing to Def Jam at the start of 2017.
With plans to release her debut project, Summer with Friends, this Fall, DaniLeigh has given fans a taste of her talent with tracks like “Lurkin,” and “Play,” ft. Kap G. Get to know the girl behind the music, and learn more about her two new tracks.
Did you know early on that you wanted to sing and dance?
Yeah, I started dancing when I was twelve years old. I actually always sang as a little girl, but for some reason I was super shy to sing in front of anybody. I finally came out of my shell when I started doing covers and putting them out on YouTube when I was like 14.
Who were some of your biggest influences growing up?
My biggest influences were probably Aaliyah and Missy Elliott; her creative vision was so dope to me. She always has the coolest videos that incorporate dance. I also love Rihanna. Her style, and just every record she got on, she just delivered.
Photo: Mike Ricardo Ent
How would you describe your style?
I think my style is very 90’s driven. I am low-key stuck in the 90’s. I go thrifting all the time just to find cool pieces because I don’t like to wear things you can find at a typical store.
You’re a singer, dancer, and direct, but what do you think you enjoy the most?
I think it all starts with the music, so I would say singing because that’s what brings the inspiration behind the creative directing and the dance moves.
How do you find inspiration for your music?
Through life honestly. All my music is very real to me so I definitely just go off what I’m going through in the moment or the beat usually inspires me. I can always visualize a music video when I hear the beat.
Can you discuss how your Latin culture influences your music?
I was raised in a big Dominican family and we would have all these parties with meringue and bachata so that just kind of flows through my blood. When it comes to my music, I love to incorporate that too to show love and respect to my people and to show that I love being Dominican.
“Play” is about this moment right now. I just got this deal with Def Jam so I felt like I just made a play. I’m finally going because I’ve been doing this for a long time - six years out here in Cali working hard and grinding and then finally hitting that big opportunity, so that was my play and that’s how that came about.
“Lurkin” was actually a fun song that started through a conversation. I was in the studio with Goldie the writer and Cosign and we were talking about how people are always lurking on Instagram and then I was like “why y’all always lurkin?” and then she started doing melodies, I started doing melodies, and Co started playing the beat and that's just how that song came about.
What does it mean for you to be a part of Def Jam?
To be a part of Def Jam is just a number one goal that I’ve always had in my life, honestly. The fact that my one of my biggest influences, Rihanna, started out at Def Jam is huge deal to me. I felt Def Jam didn’t have anybody like me, so I felt like it was a good spot for me to be in. They believed in my vision, who I was and weren’t trying to change me and let me be true to who I am and that means everything.
By Nishat Baig