Danah-Lee, from Ottawa in Canada, releases her new EP titled, 'These Are a Few of My Favourite Hymns', recorded remotely during the pandemic. Louder Than The Music chatted with Danah to find out more about her music and the importance of overcoming insecurities and guilt.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?
Well, my name is Danah-Lee... most folks call me, Danah. I’ve been playing and making music from the young age of eight years old. Growing up, I took piano and vocal lessons but my real growth in music took place when I started playing in the worship team at my church as a teenager. And then, the most profound impact on my musical path was playing in the campus worship team at my Bible College. I grew in every way possible; especially as a musician.
Tell us about your new EP ‘These Are a Few of My Favourite Hymns’ (great title by the way!) and what the inspiration behind it was?
Why, thank you! I’ve been writing and releasing albums on all of the major platforms for a number of years, (none of which I would consider “Christian“... just songs written from the experiences of a human doing real life). And life can be is hard!!!
However, I had a gnawing and tugging at my heart to release some of my favourite Christian songs. Some are old praise songs, hymns and even one from present times.
Which is your favourite track on the EP and why?
My favourite track is “As the Deer”.
I can remember the very first time I EVER heard “As the Deer”. I was 10 years old... and the sound of Mrs. Liske’s voice echoed through our sanctuary. Even as a child... I remember loving this song from the very moment my ears could memorize every lyric and melody. This was pivotal for me... I knew in that moment that music would be my life’s path.
What message would you like people to take from your music?
You know, sometimes we get so down on ourselves and hung up that we are not worthy. It is the age old tale of guilt. We tend to focus on guilt instead of how we are brilliantly made in the Creator’s image. This guilt can spiral us into all sorts of internal stories and it is just not helpful. For many years I did not feel confident in my own abilities because I felt guilty for embracing some of my best qualities. But one thing is for certain - God loves us!!! For many years, I didn’t feel I was worthy to sing these praises... I felt like I didn’t fit into the mold... so I shut down spiritually. But after decades of grueling self loathing, I realized that we can just come as we are. No matter who we are... our voices are important as our source of expression and identity as a created being. I strongly believe that using our voice in praise in gratitude... no matter who we are is a unique, sacred and God given offering that we can offer back.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
I am a huge lover of female Canadian artists. I’m biased. Jann Arden, Sarah McLaughlin, Chantal Kreveizuk... and many more. These women are strong and confident in their art.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
Hands down Diane Warren she is a brilliant songwriter of dozens upon dozens of hits.
How would you define success in your career as an artist?
Being at a place where you can successfully make a living from your own art or music in general.
What is your favourite album of all time?
Mirrorball by Sarah McLachlan
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?
U2 “Stay (Faraway, So Close!)”
What does the next year hold for you?
I own a very booming music school “More Than A Song Studios”. Pre-pandemic I was in the process of writing and releasing tracks with some of the students for an album. My hope is to continue this work. And although we have a few singles released on Spotify and Apple, I hope to finish the complete album, “The Act of Education”.