Nice to meet you
Daya on Pride, Moving West, and Her Love of Coldplay
This is Nice to Meet You, where we provide all the need-to-know information on the newest voices in pop culture. Think of it as a blind date, if the date were cooler than anyone you’ll probably ever go out with. Allow us to break the ice; we promise you’ll fall in love.
Daya spent quarantine writing some of her most stirring and intimate songs to date. The Pittsburgh native, now 22, may seem a bit young to be ushering in a new chapter of her musical career already— but Daya started young. The singer-songwriter was just a junior in high school when she released her chart-topping single “Hide Away,” and a senior when she dropped her debut album Sit Still, Look Pretty. With these milestones under her belt, the artist has recently released her second EP, The Difference, via Sandlot Records. Recording vocals in near total isolation, Daya tells us via Zoom, was like “singing into a void. It definitely resulted in my most honest music yet.” To celebrate the release of The Difference, Daya spoke to Interview about her musical beginnings, her first Pride celebration, and her Chris Martin obsession.
On The Difference: It’s a collection of songs that I wrote over the course of quarantine with my songwriters and producers over Zoom. I think it’s a true reflection of my mental and emotional state in quarantine and the emotional ups and downs. I was spending a lot more time with myself than I had before, and getting to know the parts of myself that I was just skating on the surface of without diving into before.
On Los Angeles: My favorite thing about it is probably the versatility. If I want to go to the beach one day, I can. If I want to be in the city, I can. I want to be up at the Hills, I can. Just a little bit of everything.
On her musical upbringing: I started with piano when I was three. That was the only time that I could sit still in one place. I continued it for a really long time. I did classical for a long time and then I switched to jazz when I was 10. I think I was always trying to challenge myself and push myself further. I took music lessons, did theater and played in rock bands. I just tried everything when I was younger. By 15 or so, I started writing my own stuff and I started reaching out to people in the industry and doing little shows around Pittsburgh.
On how she got her start in the music industry: My voice teacher in Pittsburgh introduced me to a writer they’d gone to school with who had lived in LA for a few years. He really liked my voice and some songs I’d written and was interested in me coming out for a weekend to do a little writing camp with him and his friends. That was the weekend I wrote my first single “Hide Away,” and “Back to Me,” which was another song off my first EP. I put it out a few months after that and I was still a junior in high school. It was such a whirlwind of an experience.
On her first Pride in LA: It was just after I’d released my first EP and the Pulse shooting, which was really heavy. There were so many mixed emotions that day because it was so inspiring and motivating to see the entire community come together, the way that they did after that. It was a reminder of why Pride exists and that we still need to continue to have these types of demonstrations to express that we deserve to exist as much as anyone else. And we deserve to have fun lives and to go to the club, to be ourselves authentically and not worry.
On her favorite track on the EP, “Tokyo Drifting:” It just has a very nostalgic vibe and just transports me back to a specific time in my life. It’s very nineties, kind of an alternative vibe, which is a lot of what I listened to when I was younger. It’s about feeling like you’ve drifted apart from someone and there’s no way to recover the distance now.
On her dream collaborator: I would love to work with Chris Martin someday. I’ve been obsessed with his voice since I was super young. Coldplay was one of the first concerts I saw when I was little. I went through a really obsessive Coldplay phase. I feel like our voices would sound good together.
On her favorite munchies snack: Sour Patch Kids are definitely my go-to. Can’t get enough of them. The watermelon flavor is it for me.
On what’s next: I’m back in the studio already. Every time I release something, it reminds me of what it feels like, and I just want to do it over and over again. I’ve been working a lot with the same crew and I’m really excited about the stuff that we’re doing. I have some tour dates scheduled for the fall, so I’m really looking forward to starting to live a real life again.