Many things demand our attention in our daily lives. Some days are filled with basking in the toils and fulfillment of exercising musical creativity in a home studio. Some days are filled with meeting up with community members to discuss different initiatives and programs for criminal justice reform. Some days are filled with joking around and tutoring a nephew on a school night. For Danielle Ponder, sometimes, those are all in the same day. Self-determination and motivation radiate from Ms. Ponder and her fight for equality and love cannot be tamed. With her knowledge of social and governmental factors, she works tirelessly to educate and influence change through her music.
“As an artist, I have art and a business. It’s difficult. It’s taxing.” Handling a heavy load of tangible and intangible work isn’t new territory for Danielle Ponder. Right now, she is a full-time musician who also does work fighting toward criminal justice reform. Her pursuits and endeavors right now all stem from her former position of being a full-time public defender 60-70 hours a week. Even with a packed schedule, Ponder raises awareness about local progressive political candidates and gives feedback on programs and grants that help advocate for reforming the criminal justice system. Her efforts here are not separate from her music. She works to make them go hand in hand. Just this past July, she held an event with non-profit ‘Citizen Action of New York’ at their Justice Works Conference. She spoke on the transformative power of music, which ended with some volunteers creating an original song.
Right now, this is a time for her to work toward understanding her art and work, figuring out how to set prices to a livable wage and how to market oneself and one’s creativity while staying original and in-touch with the current atmosphere. Ponder works through each day, and each struggle to learn and grow. She knows her purpose in this life and believes everything will be taken care of by faith. “It’s gonna happen. There’s no other option.”