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The Eighth Note: Danica Bryant

The Eighth Note is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Musicians. A chance for us to catch up with people & see what they’re up to, or introduce you to a new musician/band and their music.
Up next is Danica Bryant.

Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
I’m a singer-songwriter who grew up in Hawke’s Bay, and moved to Wellington at the start of this year. My music is a blend of pop, rock, country, folk and everything in between. I really pride myself on my songwriting being extremely confessional and honest. When I write, I want you to feel, and I want every word to have purpose. So far in my career I’ve managed to win APRA and Smokefree Rockquest’s National Best Lyric Award in 2018, and Play It Strange’s Who Loves Who Competition in 2019. Earlier this year I had the pleasure of opening for Sir Elton John on his ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ tour, and I’m now releasing my debut EP, ‘Cider’.

What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
On July 31st, I released my debut EP, Cider, recorded with Wellington’s amazing Tiny Triumph Recordings. This is my first actual studio release and it has been a complete whirlwind, especially due to the constantly changing landscape of my life with moving cities, starting university, and being really thrown off by the COVID-19 situation. But I’m so happy to finally put these four tracks out into the world. I’ve had a few songs out over the years, including my track ‘Sugarbones’ which won The Hits Local Music competition back in April. It’s exciting to finally share a fully realized body of work now with ‘Cider’.

Where is the best place people can follow you & find your music?
I’m on all major streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, you name it. I share lots of information about performances and releases on my Facebook, and then get a bit more personal on my Instagram and YouTube! I also sell merchandise on RedBubble.

What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
This was a surprisingly difficult question!
I’m a massive Taylor Swift fan, and have always defended her profusely, because I just admire her honesty and sound so much. I think she’s incredibly creative and a lot more genuine than many people give her credit for. Her album RED probably influenced my writing the most. It crosses so many genres and just sees Taylor being so real and inventive. It still amazes me that she can make ridiculously catchy pop songs like We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, at the same time she’s writing intense stuff like The Last Time, or beautiful historical narratives like The Lucky One and Starlight.
Drive by Bic Runga is another magical one. My parents would play the album on roadtrips. When I was really young, I made up dance routines to the upbeat songs, and sang very dramatic renditions of the sad ones. Bic’s tour with Dave Dobbyn and Tim Finn in 2010 was also my first concert, so I have so many incredible memories with the songs off Drive. Then my last choice has to be Pure Heroine by Lorde. When I first heard that record I became obsessed with breaking down all the lyrics, trying to unpack Lorde’s experiences and prepare for my own. It came out when I was about twelve. The way she told stories about teenage life was so unique to me and again, just so true, in such a fresh way.

Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
There are so many amazing musicians in this city that I can’t wait to get to know better. Someone I love, and who has been really kind and helpful to me in the process of releasing ‘Cider’, is Ebony Lamb, who writes the most impressive folk music I’ve heard in a long time. Also, no idea if she’s still in Wellington, but Ladyhawke was always a big inspiration to me and I’d love to meet her.

What’s your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
Because I only got here a month or two before lockdown, I haven’t played much here yet, but there are so many venues I’m desperate to play. In particular, I’d love to play at San Fran or Meow!

In your songwriting or composing (or the band’s songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
I tend to build songs around words that fixate me somehow. I’ll hear a word I love the sound or meaning of, and spin it to fit a situation I want to discuss. That means I end up with tons of lyrics in my phone notes that get properly developed once I pick up a guitar and try to figure out a melody. Writing a song really does happen differently every time, but quite often, those collections of lyrics are what I rely on. Of course there are also times where I’ll experience something that really emotionally impacts me, and I find the best way to deal with it is to immediately sit down and try to get it out however I can.

Where/when is your next gig?
I’m playing Valhalla for the first time with Ivy Blue, Yann De Lore and Tristan Cordelia on September 9th. It’s going to be equally terrifying and awesome, so I suggest you come along and witness my first true Wellington show!

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