I Am Dani
Welcome to my site. I am a singer/songwriter from the most historic music city in the world..."Memphis, TN".
I released my first album at age 15, "Outside the Lines", and here is what Mark Jordan from the Commerical Appeal had to say about it. "One might liken Dani to the 70's versions of Tanya Tucker or Lorrie Morgan, country ing'enues who likewise exuded a quality and attitude way beyond their years. Dani and her producers, Jim Allison and Stephanie McKenna, co-wrote all 12 tracks. Dani has fashioned a record that has its sights set squarely on the top of the contemporary country charts. The quality of the material is remarkable for what is essentially an independent release. What is even more impressive is the assuredness with which Dani tackles each track."
I did take that Album to Nashville in 2003 and met with all the Major Labels but they all told me to come back when I was 21. That was pretty hard to hear but it was probably a blessing that nothing happened. It allowed me to step back and dial in on my Memphis Roots and heritage even more and try different things and write songs that just came out and weren't necessarily written for a specific genre. I also put a band together and started traveling and playing a wide variety of venues. That has helped me grow as an artist and a person as much as anything. I've had some incredible band members that have taught me a ton over the past 10 years that I will always be thankful and grateful for.
I've opened for a wide variety of artists ranging from Bo Diddley to Jason Aldean to Sister Hazel and many more. Bo Diddley sent his granddaughter out to invite me to visit with him backstage after his show. He had 3 pieces of advice for me..."Don't Trust just Anybody", "Don't do drugs" & "make sure you get paid." I cherish the 45 minutes I got to spend with him and some of his family. He was an Icon that is missed by the Music World. When I came off the stage at the Pensacola Springfest in 2004 Buddy Guy called me a "Baby Doll" and took a photo with me on his way to the stage, where he opened for Patti LaBelle...And...Delbert McClinton asked me to share his stage and perform "Stormy Monday" with him, which was such an honor and a blast. It has been a crazy and exciting journey and I have loved "almost" every minute of it.
In 2006 American Idol came to Memphis and I decided to get in line with 16,000 others and give it a shot. Long story short...I made it to Hollywood. Simon said he liked the Blues part of my voice and Paula called me an "Old Soul". Randy wasn't crazy about me. In Hollywood I made the first cut along with Melinda DooLittle who was in our group of 6. I was one the final 45 girls left going into the group round where I Blanked on my words and got cut. I panicked and had the "Deer in the Headlights" look and they sent me home. It was a good thing to go through overall but it is very hard on you. I have to admit that I had a few bruises from that experience but I believe that ultimately it made me stronger as a singer, songwriter and a person.
Most of the songs I have written over the last 6-7 years have dealt with relationship issues. When you think of issues you think of problems, pain, heartache, etc...and there is a lot of that in the songs I have written during this time. A couple years ago I wrote a Love Song, unexpectedly, that kind of caught me off guard. That isn't usually what comes from my writing but that is what happened with "Melt Me Like Butter". I also wrote a song at 2:00 in the morning that just came to me while I was sleeping. It was during a tough time emotionally when I was being super critical of myself, which can be destructive. "Break Yourself" came from that song writing experience. Those songs are good therapy for me because it can help you get stuff out of your system and move on.
I released a 4 song EP in 2008 titled "Wasted Rain" that was recorded in both Nashville (Vibe 56 Studios) and Memphis (LeeWay Studios) and was mixed by the incomparable David Leonard (Bare Naked Ladies, Prince, and many, many more). I also shot a music video here in Memphis, which was directed by John Paul Clark (winner of Craig Brewer "Black Snake Moan" trailer contest), around 1 of the songs on the EP which was also the Title Track, "Wasted Rain", which is about Domestic Violence. Proceeds from the EP and Video go to "The Moriah House", which is an orgianization that helps Women and Children Escape and Recover from Domestic Violence situations. Wasted Rain is also one of the songs selected to be included on the "Taste of Memphis" Musicians Cookbook/CD project that was launched late 2010 by the Memphis Music Commission.
I was recently honored to be inducted as a Memphis Emissary of Music member. Below is some of the Commercial Appeal's description of the event:
"This annual event is in it's 3rd year and is a Celebration in recognition of Women’s History Month. The event will salute the career achievements and contributions made to Memphis Music by eight (8) phenomenal female songwriters, musicians, and vocalists. The 2011 Emissaries are Barbara Blue, Dani, Dawn Hopkins, JoJo Jeffries, Amy LaVere, Valerie June, Sheri Jones-Moffett and Lil Rounds. They join the ranks of previous inductees such as Reba Russell, Nancy Apple, Jackie Johnson, Susan Marshall & Ruby Wilson. The Memphis and Shelby County Music Commission created this event to recognize women from Memphis that have made an impact on Memphis Music." I am humbled and honored to be in the company of such great Memphis Female artists. They inspire me to be better at what I do and to keep growing and creating.
So where am I going with my music in 2013 and beyond? I am working on several projects. I have an acoustic Duo project called the "Young Petty Thieves" that will consist of Originals and Classic Covers from my duo Partner and long time friend, Mr. Zack Mack, and yours truly. Zack was my first Lead Guitar player that played and toured with me for 6 years. Zack and I started song writing when I was 15 and he was 17 and we are excited about writing and recording some new music with this project. I'm also working on a new Full Band "Mostly Original Music" project with some awesome Memphis Musicians that will roll out this summer (more to come on these projects in the coming months).
2013 is going to be an exciting year. Please sign up for my newsletter and I'll keep you posted on events and my new music. Hope to see you at a show soon.