Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with Danica Hunter find out more about her…
Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
I’m living in the East London now. I was born in Reading but I also consider myself a ‘wee bit’ Scottish as my parents are both from Scotland. I’ve always loved music as long as I can remember – all kinds of music. My parents say when I was born I didn’t cry – I sang ‘Lala’- they still tease me about it! However, I really started writing when I was about 15 years old and I had entered a national competition where you had to write an original song. I was coming to the end of school days, preparing for new friends, a new college and change so one day when I was locked out of my house I just started to write lyrics out on the back of a receipt – the result was my first song ‘Close Your Eyes’ – the judges loved it and I got to the final at Indigo in the O2 Arena and won runner up in the under 18 category. Within a couple of years I played Henley Festival – sharing the stage with the likes of Sting and Jools Holland and after that I played the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds festival – that was a great highlight for me!
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
Some of my best memories of loving music was locked up in the attic listening with my mum to all sorts of old vinyls, tapes and CDs – artists like Prince, Fleetwood Mac, The Eurythmics and lots of 1960s/70s/80s stuff. To this day my mum swears that one night when I was about 7 years old I seemed to know the lyrics and melody to every song she played – she couldn’t understand how I could know them all. In my teens I loved Duffy, Ellie Goulding, Amy Winehouse and Adele amongst others. More recently, I love artists like Grimes, Kali Uchis, Sky Ferreira, Etta Bond, Lorde, Ed Sheeran and Maverick Sabre amongst others.
How would you describe your sound?
I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with different genres including drum & bass, hip hop, R&B etc. I continue to experiment with fusions of different genres – right now I would describe myself as pop, soul with a twist of hiphop and R&B – but like I said I enjoy experimenting. My most recent single ‘Typical’ was the opposite to its title with distorted, heavy, low-fi production in contrast to my vocal and musical style with a creative, upbeat slant – I worked with a great producer Fred Cox to come up with the ideas.
What’s your local music scene like?
Well being in London I’m spoiled for choice and being in the Shoreditch and Stoke Newington area there’s so much creativity and live music so it’s amazing! And of course, I have to work to pay my rent and supplement my music so that old Human League song ‘I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar…..’ is a description of that!
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
I have lots of plans but the first half of the year will be more focused on the studio, making more videos and releasing more music to get my profile up. I’m already working on the next video single release and planning a series of live video sessions. The EP will come from all of that activity and gigging later in the year.
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
Wow now that’s a big question! The names that spring to mind would be Rudimental, Grimes, Sam Smith, Liam Bailey and of course Ed Sheeran.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
Yes, one memorable story was a few years ago when I got the opportunity to support the amazing Geno Washington (namesake of Dexy’s Midnight Runners track ‘Geno’). I had had a tough day so when I got to the Half Moon in London I had no idea what to expect from him. But he had me in stitches laughing and immediately put me at ease – he insisted in interviewing me in front of the audience – and he gave me amazing advice I will never forget. He told me ‘always go out on that stage and be yourself – tell them your story girl and you can’t go wrong’. Another funny one was when I was at a BBC masterclass at Abbey Road Studios and I had snuck into a session I wasn’t meant to be in because Maverick Sabre was on that panel and was my idol at the time – so I had to get in there. Near the end they asked if any of us would like to get up and sing. My friend Lucy Spraggan got up with her guitar and did her thing. Then they said we have one more minute – anyone else? I felt my arm rising in the air as I stumbled to the stage. I sang my own version of Sam Sparro’s ‘Black and Gold’ totally acapella. At the end my legs were jelly and Maverick came over to help me off the stage saying he loved my voice. I must have looked like such a wreck but it was all good in the end and I found my first manager in that room and was invited on the Jo Whiley Radio 2 show.
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
I want readers to know that I’m going to be ever changing and they can expect to see lots of different and exciting things coming from me. Also I support individuality and I think everyone should express themselves however they choose. I hope people will support and understand me too as I grow and develop and share as an artist. I want to keep people interested and on their feet. And another thing they should know is that I have a wicked sense of humour.