Daya: Cool, confident and not afraid to push an agenda - Metro US

Daya: Cool, confident and not afraid to push an agenda

Pittsburgh pop star Daya, bornGrace Martine Tandon
Nathan Johnson

Seventeen-year-old powerhouse Daya is behind girl power anthems “Sit Still, Look Pretty” and “Hide Away,” as well as the haunting vocals on Chainsmoker’s “Don’t Let Me Down.” The Pittsburgh native is already platinum and gold-certified and has a forthcoming full-length studio album (named for her single “Sit Still, Look Pretty”) due out Oct. 7 from Artbeatz. Weaving between contagious clean-cut pop and grooving synth-soundscapes with the lyrical wide-eyed, self-awareness of pre-Calvin, post-Harry Taylor Swift, the artist born Grace Martine Tandon just might be the voice Gen-Z is searching for.

Fans who pre-order the album are getting access to the song “Cool” — can you tell me a little about the song?
It’s one I’ve been performing live a lot recently, so some people might be already familiar with it. It’s a great lead-off to the album release because it’s a feel-good song, and I think it really showcases my voice and production. It’s about being in that kind of relationship where you feel so good in the moment, and you don’t want it to ever end.

It’s also a love song, which could be the first some fans are hearing from you.
I think it’s my first song that’s accepting of love. “Hide Away” and “Sit Still, Look Pretty” were both pushing [love] away, but it shows I went through so many phases during the time I was writing these songs.

Both of those songs [“Sit Still, Look Pretty” and “Hide Away”] have strong social messages. Was it important for you to lead with them for your introduction to the world?
I tend to write about what I know and I think there’s room for gender equality. I want people to know that, and that that’s something that’s important to me.

You’re heading out on your first headlining tour in 2017, what can we expect from your live show?
I’ve been looking forward to it since “Hide Away.” I’ve been in opening slots, but I haven’t done anything that’s fully mine yet. This is my debut to the world. I’ll be able to design everything with my team, from top to bottom — the production, music. It’s going to be fun.

You finished your senior year this year, but were clearly super busy. Did you feel like you missed out on any of those traditional senior year activities?
I graduated in spring and took all of my senior year online. There were definitely moments that I felt like I was missing out on things because senior year is just so laid back and my friends were having so much fun with it. But then I looked at what was happening my life and decided I was much happier. [Laughs] I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.

If you go:

Feb. 18, 2017
The Trocadero Theatre
Philadelphia, PA

Feb. 19, 2017
Paradise Rock Club
Boston, MA

Feb. 21, 2017
Irving Plaza
New York, NY

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