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Interview: Daniela Brooker

Daniela Brooker

 

At the ripe age of 19, this Latin Londoner is no stranger to the big stage. Brooker has many years under her belt as a performer, drawing from a vast cache of musical influences to create a style that is as unique as it is diverse. Having recently completed her debut album, Brooker is eager to share that diversity with an even wider audience. We sat down on a phone interview with Brooker, covering everything from how she handles industry pressure at such a young age, to her multi-cultural background, and her entrepreneurial approach when it comes to surviving in the business. Scroll down to read on:

You have definitely made the rounds in the industry, what was it like being in the spotlight at such a young age?

“I had never had a family member in music, or been introduced by one person. It’s been a long process of meeting different people, it never really hit me. I’ve gone through the motions very slowly, one step at a time, I definitely think that kept me grounded, I didn’t think about it that much, to be honest.”

Was it more about staying in the moment?

“I’m definitely someone that lives in the moment, I’ve got a strong family that supports me, they always make sure I don’t get carried away with things and that I keep focused on what I’m meant to do.”

What lessons have you learned over the years that have helped you deal with the pressures that come along with it?

“Everyone has an opinion on what you should do, what you should be like, or what you should like. You have to stay true to what you’re there for and the music you want to make. Music Corporations try and change or mold you into the same thing, with a million other artists already doing it. The main thing for me has been to stick to what I want and not take criticism, just kind of ignore it and keep doing what I’m doing.”

What was it like growing up in a multi-cultural household, and how has that influenced you both on a personal and artistic level?

“My mum is Venezuelan and my dad’s English, couldn’t be more polar opposite cultures. Being part Latin, I think I’m a very open person, and that has definitely helped in my songwriting as well. I’m very open about writing different things, and I get on very well with people, and I’m just very honest in my songs. I try and write about things that happened to me. I can be quite the dramatic person at times, but I guess I always give myself material to write about. [laughs]”

Does it help coming from a place of honesty? In the sense that it allows you to stay true to it.

“Yeah, definitely. You’ve got to write about something that’s true and means something to you, for sure.”

Some artists fall into the trap of getting tied to a single genre, listening to a lot of your music, with such a plethora of influences incorporated into the music that you create, is that transition something that was easy for you?

“Yeah, I really have experimented with so many different sounds. I started recording when I was 13, the stuff I was doing then I would never play anyone now, but it’s important to go through the motions and the different styles. As you said, you can definitely hear the different types, I’m very much into Americana and Soul, I love pop as well. They’re kind of the styles that are in my album, they suit me as an artist, but I’m into everything, I like all sorts of music. It’s nice to have an album that has a mixture, no one likes everything, so I hope there’s at least one or two songs for everyone.”

There’s kind of a balance between you being a young voice, but also having that old soul mentality throughout the music, talk a little bit about that.

” It’s funny because when people see my pictures, I’m very young and I like dressing up, but when it comes to the music I like to keep it real and do music that I love. I’m into a lot of old, classic artists, it’s always a mix.”

HRC: You’ve taken a very hands-on approach when it comes to your career, were you always business-minded in terms of wanting to be involved in more than just the musical side of things?

” I’ve got a great team that helps me, but I always make sure that I’m in tune with everyone I work with, I love to have good people around me, it’s important to have a business head when it comes to your music. There are always going to be people that want to use you for certain things that aren’t necessarily in my best interest. My dad is my manager at the moment, he really has taught me a lot. I like to go to meetings so I really know what’s going on, music is always evolving, I think it’s important to have a hands-on approach.”

With a lot of artists being able to self-produce and adopt a DIY mentality with a lot of the technology that’s available, how has that affected your approach?

“It makes things so much more accessible and gives artists the opportunity to connect with people. It’s amazing what you can do now.”

For anyone that isn’t familiar with your music, how would you best sum it up?

“It’s a pop record, but the influences are Americana and Soul music. Two of the biggest artists that influenced me on this album are Michael Jackson and Fleetwood Mac, they’re definitely very different.”

You definitely wouldn’t expect those influences to be together on the same record, do you think it makes things more interesting?

“I like a lot of the Soul-y, Funky stuff, putting on a live show and touring is where I really feel at my best. I definitely like to have up-beat numbers and put slow jams in there as well.”

Talk a little bit about working on your debut album, how would you describe your songwriting process and your mindset going through that?

“I finished the album in January, it’s not actually coming out until this July. It’s very truthful, it’s very personal to me because the album is about experiences I was going through at the time, relationships, friendships etc. I started writing the album with my two guitarists and my bass player, we all have different influences. They played me a lot of D’Angelo and Prince stuff that I didn’t necessarily listen to much before, and I took a lot of my influences and put it into the album, so it’s kind of a collaboration with my band, I’m excited for everyone to hear it.”

“Before, I was obviously younger when I was writing stuff, so I had to make up quite a lot of the stuff I was writing about. Now, it means so much more to me and I hope they relate more because they are true stories…now you know everything about me. [laughs] I might have given a bit too much away.”

Do you still plan to record a Spanish language version as well?

“About a month ago I recorded one of the singles from the album, one of the slow songs. I recorded it in Spanish, and I’m looking to record a couple more as well. If I’m doing shows, I often throw in a Spanish song.”

It must be interesting to see people’s reactions.

“In England they are a bit shocked, no one ever realizes that I speak Spanish so it’s kind of funny. In America there is a much bigger Hispanic culture, but here it’s really a small portion of people.”

As a final question, what’s up next for you in the immediate future, and what are some of your goals further down the line?

“I’d definitely love to get back on tour and get my music out there. It’s one thing to listen to it on the record, and it’s another to actually have it live, that’s my main goal. And you know, have the album, people listening to it, liking it, just being able to reach as many people as possible, that’s kind of my near-future goal. I keep writing all the time, so as soon as this album’s out, I’ll be bringing another one straight after. I’m really excited for it to come out.”

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, and we wish you the best of luck on all your future endeavors.

“Thank you, and thank you for giving me your time as well.”

 

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