>> Former Youtube star Daisy Gray has received critical acclaim for her emotionally touching and deeply personal singles “About You” and “Rumours.” The rising pop artist sat down with us to discuss the humbling experience of working with big-name producers and give insightful advice on the importance of exiting unhealthy relationships.
What events made you decide to transition from performing covers on YouTube to writing original music?
Well I really have always wanted to put out original music. It was never anything that made me decide that. I had a lot of originals already written before I ever put my first cover up on YouTube. I think it was mainly just the nervousness of what people would think about my own stuff. When you sing other people’s songs there’s reassurance that if they don’t like it at least doesn’t fall all on you, maybe they like your voice but that song just wasn’t right. When you put out something you write, especially for me is that everything I write is very personal, there are a lot more factors. Do they like the lyrics, the melody, the production, your voice, the style? If they don’t like it that feels like more personal so there’s a lot more pressure. So I guess the only thing that really caused me to put out originals instead of covers was the courage to put myself out there and the surety in myself.
What have you learned from collaborating with big-name producers that have worked with popular artists such as Christina Aguilera, Mary J. Blige, and Justin Bieber?
I’ve learned that you can always improve yourself. All of these accomplished producers have an incredible work ethic and continue to strive for perfection, even though they are already so successful. At no point in any musical career will you hit your maximum potential. You can always learn something new. It’s also very humbling to work with such big names; it’s incredibly inspiring.
What do you think separates you from other pop artists?
I’d like to think that my career is a lot more personal to me than to a lot of artists right now. Although I can’t say this for a fact, I feel like the pop world is very fame-driven, or driven by a certain pop sound. I’ve seen a lot of artists compromise themselves for the bigger paycheck or larger following, or because their team or label steered her and they lost control of their artistry. My music is personal to me because I write, sing, and play it from personal experience and emotion. I've never compromised myself to become more popular or to plug into someone else’s vision of me.
How do you try and channel your own life experiences through your music?
I’ve been writing music since I was about 6 years old. It has always been my number one coping mechanism. I’m not much of a talker; I keep to myself when things are hard, and music is, I guess, my best friend that I talk to. My parents used to joke and say that they had no idea what was going on in my life and then I’d ask them to hear a song and they’d be like “ohhhhhh that’s why she’s been so moody.” I can honestly say every single song I have is based on an experience I’ve had in my life.
Could you describe the backstory surrounding your single ‘Rumours’?
Yeah it’s actually kind of a whirlwind of a story so I’ll try and summarize it up a little. Basically, I met this guy a couple years ago that I thought I really loved. We dated for a few months and some rumors about him began coming to the surface that were, well I guess they were not-- what any parent would want to hear about the guy their daughter was dating. My parents caught wind of the rumors and basically forbade me to see him ever again and made me break up with him. We didn’t talk for a couple months and then we crossed paths again and ended up dating in secret for a long time. ‘Rumours’ was a song I wrote kind of to say that I didn’t care what they thought--that it was all just gossip and that I would be with him anyway. Sorry mom and dad.. Ha ha!. Anyway, this guy and I spent the next couple years on and off dating in secret, driving around and talking a lot, until I found out that my parents were right and things ended. The classic story of young, dumb, teenage rebellion.
What advice would you give to young women dealing with unhealthy relationships?
End it. Do not stick around. Believe me, I get it… you make excuses and reassure yourself that it’ll change, maybe you even put it on yourself and think maybe it’s your fault. I’m loyal to a fault and love deeply and it’s a blessing in the right situation and a curse in the wrong one. It took me a while to figure out that staying in a bad relationship doesn’t just hurt you, it hurts them too. It’s preventing both of you from finding the person your actually supposed to be with. It’s preventing both of you from learning from the mistakes you keep making in that relationship.
Aside from music, what other pastimes do you turn to when you’re looking to express yourself and unwind?
I draw and pastel a lot. I write poetry a lot too. Those are a couple ways I express myself, but really when I unwind I like to almost not think about anything. Long drives, adventures, stupid stuff like tying a tire to the back of a truck and riding it down a road, or making a pool out of a trampoline and jumping off trees into it. Dirt biking, anything fast really. Adrenaline is a big part of unwinding for me so anything that scares me a little and makes for a good story.
Where do you see your musical career headed towards in the future?
I’m moving to Los Angeles after Christmas and buckling down on music. I’m not sure where it's going but I’m definitely excited to see what’s about to happen. <<