A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a listening party for the very eclectic woman hitting the scene fast and furious, Darnaa. Darnaa is originally from San Diego, currently residing in New York to push her career forward after years of song writing and performing. Some say artist development and real music is fallen by the waste side to pop, but Darnaa’s management won’t settle for short changing us. This week I got a wonderful opportunity to really sit down with Darnaa in the studio, even though she’s set to tour with the infamous R. Kelly.
As I spoke to Darnaa I realized no matter how far we get in life the thing that connects us to people is our relate able qualities to one another. When I sat with Darnaa I realized more and more how her life story had similarly mirrored lots of women who probably were afraid to tell the true stories of their lives. Darnaa's story is not only chilling, but triumphant because standing before you today is a woman with a history. "Darnaa was raped & molested by her two Brothers, beaten by her Mother (who was a prostitute), sold to a military man into matrimony at the age of fifteen by her Father (who was a drug dealer turned drug addict) and abused by that husband as well".
Some would think a woman with such a past would be a statistic today but no, she survived and has used her pain to give us some real in your face music.
Musically Darnaa is new, fresh, honest, unfiltered, and visually beautiful. One of the most compelling tracks on her album is "Runaway" where Darnaa tells her story through song of her struggles and pains. Most of her songs tell tales of what she really feels, and what she has learned. "Runaway" was initially released in ten cities, climbing as high as #2 in North Carolina station WRSV-M and into the top 40 in six of the ten cities. It is currently the #1 Indie Top 50 in Digital Radio Plays. One of the qualities I admire about Darnaa is her undying honesty, and unfiltered realness. Check out what we chatted about?
How can you inspire other women that have been through the same struggles?
I voice it, talk about it, if I talk about it most people will talk about their struggles. Women may have never spoken about this before and I inspire them to finally open up.
What peaked your interest in music? Influences, Family?
I loved to sing. I started singing with cartoons, church choir, and shows. I started taking it seriously when I came to New York.
What artists inspire you?
Nobody. I love instrumental, piano, dramatic music, orchestra, and violins. I like to put my own spin on things. I listen to a lot of male singers mostly. I try to listen to my own sound or just music in general not other vocalists.
How do you remain focused and centered?
I don't feel different. I don't let the celebrity get to me. I perform; I don't let it consume me. I'm humble; I’ve been through enough that the music industry can't affect me. I feel like I'm invincible. I've been through so much.
How do you feel about comparisons to the singer Rihanna?
I saw Rihanna the first time in high school, and I remember the first video S.O.S and I remember thinking wow I'm different from her. I like her music, I feel like some things are similar but we are definitely different. I'm more boring than Rihanna. Rihanna takes a lot of risk with her voice, but I have more of a consistent sound. I'm smooth, feminine, and I think that differentiates me from other females.
What’s your favorite song on the album?
A lot of songs, but as far as performing it’s not an original it’s a cover. I like loud music, but mostly I like the ballads.
How has it been getting ready to go on tour with R. Kelly?
I have been opening for so many people, KEM, Nicki, so doing R. Kelly feels good. My mom was in love with him, so in terms of that it feels good to open for him. I'm very excited about Miguel, because I saw Miguel and had no clue I would be working with him. He's definitely hot, so it should be good.
You are visibly beautiful how do you keep it business, in an industry that revolves around men?
I keep it friendly. You can be friendly, and professional. People definitely compliment me but I definitely keep my boundaries.
What does Darnaa do for fun?
I was more fun years ago. Music is very serious for me right now. I spend a lot of hours preparing, rehearsing, and doing music. My favorite things are sky diving, I love to do that. I have done that a few times. (We talked about sky diving naked, because I saw a pic online a few years back of someone who tried it.) I get scared but I love the rush of rides, going fast. Right now though I am watching a lot Lifetime television. Lol.