“I always knew that I wanted to be a musician,” said singer, songwriter, and featured star Dana Williams, as she talks about her journey and what it means to be apart of a musical family.
In the past 365 days, the R&B songstress released a single titled ‘Holiday’, which was later accompanied by a visual and guitar acoustic. For Williams this is just the beginning and she is without a doubt self assured and driven for success. Introducing our August/September featured story, Industry News Magazine talks with the star in the making about about her unique melodies, future plans to test new mediums, family ties, and social media limitations.
Industry News Magazine: How would you describe your sound?
Dana Williams: I would say that my sound is very broad, but the overlying sound — the unifying sound is my voice, which is jazzy and soulful. It’s a little bit of R&B, pop, and folk, but always accompanied by a jazz and soulful melody on top of whatever I am singing.
INM: Talk a little bit about your journey and what inspired you to become a singer? Did you fall into it or is this something you always knew you were meant for?
DW: I come from a musical family, so I always knew I wanted to be a musician.
I’ve always been very shy and didn’t think that being a performer was possible for me. Then, I realized I really love performing and it’s just an extension of the art. My dad was a guitar player and my grandma was a big band singer, so I always had music and jazz in my life.
I feel like I’m continuing on my families legacy.
INM: You’re in a band as well, right?
DW: Lately, I’ve been playing a lot of solo shows, which is me and my guitar. I do play with a band, a larger sound, then I can also do a stripped down set.
INM: Seeing that you’ve managed to grab the attention of media outlets like Revolt, how does it feel to be a new voice for the youth or this generations music?
DW: I definitely feel like there is a huge responsibility especially as a woman of color. Right now, anytime you open the news there’s something awful that’s happening. There’s a responsibility for me as an artist and any young musician to speak out and stand for something.
INM: Talk about your first body of work. Your first EP. What was the process like putting it together and how has the creative process changed — if it did at all.
DW: It was a bit different this time. Last time, I was in a different place. I was writing more on my own time and then I had someone produce it — that was how I wrote my first couple of EP’s. I would write a bunch of songs and find someone that would suit them. But this time, I was signed to Alex Da Kid and it was a really collaborative process. He oversaw the whole project and that was really fun.
There was more of a structure. I was writing everyday, all day — not on my own time. Alex came into the studio to listen to what I’ve written and give me tips, talk about what I was writing, and why I was writing. That’s what led to me writing more serious things that were happening in my life instead of just a quick little love song. It was really intense and really fun. He pushed me to write so much — I really appreciated that.
INM: Any creative blocks during this time?
DW: A little. There were times that I had written 20 songs — even wrote over 60 songs in 2 months. At a certain point, I was like I don’t even know what I have to say right now. I’m really really grateful for him pushing me.
INM: During your NYC show, you did an epic cover of Cardi B’s ‘Be Careful.’ Where did the inspiration come from?
DW: I just really like that song. Before I started putting out a bunch of original music, I was doing a cover a week and that really forced me to listen to pop music, interpret it in my own way. So I just heard that song and I felt like it was a perfect opportunity to take a pop/rap song and just flip it into my style.
Watch the cover here.
INM: What are your thoughts on social media. I see you don’t post a lot, any particular reason why?
DW: One of the main reasons is that now that I’m putting out new music, I want to make sure what I’m posting — the voice of what I’m posting, reflects the voice of my music. I am kind of a private person anyways, so it’s nice to not have to worry about posting on time. It can be stressful and it’s still stressful, I’m like “oh, I have to post this week!”
INM: As you know, the music industry is constantly changing, any plans in the future to test new sounds?
DW: My next body of work is a collective. I think it touches on a lot of different genres. We really played with sound this time around.
INM: What songs or artist are currently on your playlist? It can be either mainstream and underground?
DW: I really like this Jessie Reyes song. I’ve been listening to ‘Stupid Girl’ by Jazmine Sulivan, Fool for you Snoh Aalegra, and Old bone by Wet.
INM: What advice would you give to those interested in getting their feet wet in the industry — as a singer, songwriter, creative?
DW: Be consistent. Persistent. Put yourself out there.
Photographed by: Ritchie King
Styled by: Kiara Miche’ Reed
Assistant Stylist: Terence B McNealy
Makeup by: Dominique Adams.
Hair by: Tierra Miller
Videographer: Amal Fawundu-Buford
BTS Photographer: Malik Chatman
Interviewed by: Kadijat Salawudeen
Assisted: Lianna Wright