When Dani Rey was six years old, her dad put on a Diana Ross album while they were driving in their convertible, and from that moment on, she knew that she wanted to pursue music. A full-blooded Cuban who is fluent in both English and Spanish, the sixteen year old aspiring actress and singer moved to LA in order to commit herself to her career. In addition to pursuing music and acting, Dani is currently a Freshman at Penn State University World Campus, having graduated high school early. She recently released her freshman album, YO!, which includes seven songs, five of which were produced by five time Grammy award winning producer, Devine Evans. This urban pop album is rich with hip-swinging grooves and ear-catching melodies, with a heavy-hitting dance punch that is bound to catch even the most casual of listener’s attention. For her first single off the album, “YO!”, Dani teamed up with Grammy award winning Latin artist, Miguelito. Most recently, she performed with Internet sensation Jordyn Jones, Nickelodean’s Drake Bell, Will Jay from IM5 and Noah Urrea from A Madea Christmas at the 6th Annual Rockin’ a Cure concert. I had the good fortune to get the chance to chat with this promising young talent about her musical and acting idols, what it was like to work with Devin Evans and how she hopes to inspire people through her music. Check it out below!
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What inspired you to pursue music?
I was actually in a convertible when I was six years old and my dad put on Diana Ross, and I guess it really clicked. Maybe it was the great music and the wind blowing through my hair….not really sure but it was when I fell in love with music and how it made me feel. The desire has continued to grow and I love every aspect of it.
Do you remember the first song that you sang live?
I’m pretty sure it was Hannah Montana’s “I Got Nerve”, like at a talent show.
Who are some of your musical idols?
I have so many. Of course, Diana Ross. But I also love Justin Bieber Drake, Pitbull…and totally not in my genre but Andrea Bocelli. He’s amazing.
Yeah, he’s really cool! What’s your favorite song of his?
Oh my gosh, I know this song; it’s all Italian…Well, I just heard a new one with Christina Aguilera, that was good, but I can’t remember the name of the other song. I know if I heard it, I’d know what it is, but since it’s all in Italian, I have no idea.
How would you describe your musical style?
I would describe it as urban pop. It’s music you can hear on the radio but it’s not too cliché, with a lot of grooves to it.
If you had to choose one of your songs to describe you as an artist, what would it be and why?
My favorite song off the album is “Glow in the Dark” because I love the groove of it, but for the message, I think “Yo!” because it’s all about self-confidence and loving who you are. So, definitely “Yo!” would be the one.
What was it like working with Devine Evans?
Devine is amazing. He took his time with the process to really create my sound. We would listen to tons of tracks and find the ones we vibed with. He also brought in an amazing writer Day’nah Cooper to write my songs. I would give my input and thoughts and she would bring them to life. Devine really pushed me to do things that I didn’t think I could do. It was an amazing experience. He is so passionate! I love him.
How did you first hear about him?
Devine reached out to my manager looking for an artist to work with. We took a meeting and I instantly felt comfortable and loved the tracks and his vibe. As I sat there staring at all the accolades on his walls and listening to how passionate he is about music, I knew this was where I was supposed to be.
What was it like working with Miguelito?
He’s a great guy and now a good friend of mine. We are both the same age, both bilingual, and both love to laugh… so we bonded quickly. When we we were in the studio and during the video shoot hanging out, we really joked around a lot. But when its time to work, he’s really serious. I admire that because I think being able to mix the fun with a strong work ethic is amazing. We now get together and hang out at times because our parents really bonded as well.
In addition to pursuing music, you are also an aspiring actress. What kind of roles are you drawn to as an actress?
I think I’m more drawn to comedy. I like comedy with a little bit of a thriller, but I definitely like being the funny one.
If you could play any character on television or in the movies, who would it be and why?
I just recently saw “Spy” with Melissa McCarthy and I feel like that would be such a fun role to play. She’s amazing.
She is amazing. I’ve probably seen every one of her movies.
Oh my gosh, she is! “Tammy” is my favorite.
So, acting-wise, who are some of your idols?
Of course, Melissa McCarthy. I also love “Empire” so Taraji Henson. Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts….
Do you have any new acting projects in the works that you’d like to talk about?
For now, I’m really focusing on my album, but hopefully soon I’ll be able to give more focus to acting and auditioning.
How do you hope to inspire people through your music?
I hope to inspire people to be ok with being themselves and to not care about what other people think of them. My message is all about self-confidence and being who you are and loving yourself.
Before we end our call, is there anything else that you’d like to say about your new album?
My music is available on iTunes and Spotify. The music and lyric videos are on Vevo. Please connect with me on social media and let me know what you think. I love meeting new people and connecting. I truly hope people love my music and enjoy it.
You can watch the video for Dani Rey’s single, YO! ft. Miguelito, here: