Known for her dynamic performances and infectious energy, divaDanielle started her career after catching a record that the infamous Darren Emerson threw into the crowd in 2003 (Grant Nelson’s “Free & Switch” for those who were wondering). After many years in the LA underground scene, she started releasing original tracks through InStereo Recordings. Her debut track (and now Diva theme song) “Work” spent 6 months on the Beatport House 100. In 2015 she struck gold with “I Got A Man,” a collaboration with DJ Dan, spending a month in the House Top 10. She has since released charting Funky House, Tech House and Bass House tracks on labels such as WyldCard Records, Fort Knox Recordings, Late Night Munchies and Wulfpack as well as put out numerous bootlegs, including a Tech House remix of Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts”. With forthcoming releases on InStereo and Admit One Records, she continues to consistently place in Beatport and Traxsource's Top 100 charts and be featured in their curated Best Of and Staff Picks lists.
With a fierce desire to promote women in music alongside an affinity for unicorns, Danielle trail-blazed her way through the California music scene with her self-dubbed brand, ‘Music 4 Unicorns,’ a mix of House, Tech House and Nu Disco. And, after a long relationship with InStereo as an artist, she has now taken the reins as the Label Manager, working side by side with her mentor and friend, DJ Dan. Much like the mythical creature, divaDanielle is one of a kind.
Please share a story that includes a happy memory as an artist and has made a huge impact on your artistry. I always tell people working with DJ Dan made me a better DJ. The way he mixes and weaves a DJ, it has a sort of relentless power to it. In 2014, I went with him when he played one of the mainstages at EDC. He played a track I made called, "Work." To hear the track on that huge of a sound system in front of that large of a crowd, it was next level. The artistry of when he played it in the set and how he mixed it in, gave it all that much more power. It really inspired me to keep pushing forward with my career. Seeing how the crowd reacted, thousands of people who didn't know me or that I was up on the stage...seeing their joy, it was so inspiring.
How do you choose to lead a Happy Healthy life as an artist?
I always make time for self care. Truthfully it might be number one above making music. It's kinda the thing that helps me be creative. I need quite alone time to sort of gestate an idea before I ever sit down to play. So I get up early every morning and give myself about 2 hours that are just for me. No emails. No calls. No tv. I meditate. I read. I walk my dog. I exercise. Sometimes I'll listen to a podcast that I feel like will start my day off right. Something spiritual or uplifting. That's how I start every day of my life. It's made a huge difference. Who did you learn from to instill those values?
I think I just learned it from experience. I hit a point in my career when I wasn't happy. I was exhausted all the time. I was sick everytime I travelled somewhere. No energy for anything. I actually took a 3 year break from production to get myself together. I had really run myself ragged. Was there a turning point of how you decided to put yourself first? I remember waking up one morning and saying to myself, I need to meditate again. Oprah was doing one of her 21 day meditation challenges with Deepak Chopra and I just signed up. It might sound cheesy but I needed something at that moment in time. It re-opened a door to those practices and bloomed from there. Was it hard work to make sure that you focused on your well being and not only your art?
I work every day at it. I have to actively remind myself to take care of myself. I know I will feel better about my art when I feel better about myself. How do you like to promote a healthy lifestyle?
I think most people that really know me or follow me online see me post and talk about it on my socials. And I also stay sober at gigs. I don't drink anymore while DJing. I want to show up as a professional and also show others that it's possible to do. That it's possible to be in the dance music community AND take care of yourself. Life can be a party and incredibly healing at the same time. In what ways are you connecting with fans to check in on each other?
Over Covid, the livestreams became an incredible tool for connection. I can't tell you how many people told me that live streams were one of the few things they had to look forward to. That they could meet in there and talk to other people dancing in their live rooms. As we've started to move out into the world again, I've been sharing my journey on my socials as well. So people can see it's always an easy thing to do. We can't necessarily just pick up where we left off. I also post about my journey with body image issues. I think the more I share about myself, the more others can see that they are not alone and we can use different forums to chat and open up to one another. Who checks in on YOU when you need it most?
My besties. My mom. My dad. I lived in LA for 20 years. Though I'm in Oakland now, I have a small group of girl friends that are ride or die. Even if we haven't spoken for weeks, we check in and we always pick up where we left off. Thank goodness for them! Changing habits can be hard. Which was the habit that you had to change and how it's changed your life now?
Cocaine. In the dance music industry, your job, your life is basically a party. And it's really easy to lose your way and go off the rails. Everyone is doing it. You could stay up to sunrise every night if you wanted to. People are offering you everything under the sun from their time to any drug you could imagine. Now so much time has passed, it doesn't seem like it's even a thing. But there was a moment where I felt things get dark. Constant drama. Barely any new music coming out of me. Emotions going up and down. Exhaustion. I looked at my life and I knew something needed to change. I wasn't enjoying what I was doing anymore. I was just staying awake and at some point I looked around and wondered "who are these people and what am I doing?" Stopping using drugs, especially when it was so a part of a particular lifestyle was scary. And not because I felt addicted in the traditional sense. I wondered who I would be? Would people still want me at the party? Honestly, everything just got better. My relationships. My artistry. My gigs. Once I was clear headed and stable, things just started to fall into place. Is there a song, book, movie, show or anything that always gives you the motivation you need?
I love Chani Nicholas' astrology podcast! Every Monday, I listen to her week ahead. The way she breaks things down is not only fun to listen to but also gives you things to reflect on. I'm into astrology so it's definitely my thing. I know it's not for everyone. She is phenomenal though. She also integrates meditations in. Totally my cup of tea! Ha! Whether you are an artist or whatever you do, I feel like she challenges you to really get present with where you are and what is going on around you in your immediate world and the world at large. I love her podcast! What is the mantra of 2022?!
Express yourself! Cue Madonna. That's what it's been for me at least. I set a goal to release music every month this year. I'm just letting it all come out! Give all the inside scoop of your latest project!
My newest release is a remix for an artist named "AirBall." We sampled a classic Styx track. Mine is sort of a techier take on the song. I love throwing remixes into my sets. They always bring back old memories for people and people love hearing something they know. https://www.instagram.com/divadanielle https://www.facebook.com/Music4Unicorns https://soundcloud.com/divadanielle https://www.tiktok.com/@divadanielleirl