IN A NUTSHELL:
This music has a pulse and heart of its own. Danielle blends pop/ rock/ blues/ jazz with rhythmic keys, rich vocals, and powerfully prosed tunes. It's old school meets new school with influences from Bach to Blues to Broadway. Her first CD "ELEMENTS" was written, recorded and produced entirely by herself. The songs "Caught In A Landslide", "Stringing Me Along" and "Hurricane" received online and college radio airplay, placing well on Indie song charts and competitions. Currently Danielle calls both Denver, CO and NYC home and she writes, records and performs whenever there is an inspiration or opportunity. Her new CD "BITTER GIRL" will be released soon and she is gearing up for a big 2013 !!
THE WHOLE STORY:
Danielle began playing piano at age 7 and learned "Love Will Keep Us Together" as her first pop song. Musical endeavors were a continuum growing up with a musician/ vocalist/ songwriter/ producer father (Pete Antell) and talented siblings as well. Shaping and coloring Danielle's palette was a little bit of everything: jazz standards, motown, funk and soul, blues, 60s rock, 70s melodies, 80s new wave, 90s jam bands, grunge, folk, country, and showtunes. But she was influenced the most by female singer/songwriters of the 90s -- those who could sing, write and play. "They were the real catalyst for my finding my own voice. Great art inspires authentic art in others."
Being exposed to musicians and live performances as a child set the course for artistry early on. "My dad was on tour with Fleetwood Mac and The Doobie Bros. and I'd always hoped one day I could do that. Once we were backstage, I was standing next to Christie McVie's piano, embracing the musician ambience and thinking how natural it felt. It was magical having those little tidbits as part of your childhood. And growing up on Long Island, there was always a hometown Billy Joel connection. Though he was much older, we shared the same elementary music and high school chorale teachers. We all knew the "village green" he wrote about because we shared the same stomping grounds. It made me realize your art can have a say in this world. That has stuck with me my whole life."
Another layer of Danielle's music education was the recording element. She had headphones on as a youngster and used to sit in on her dad's home studio sessions -- even running the TEAC machines and printing live sessions. "I caught the recording bug early because it just made sense to me. Sound is magic and still amazes me to this day. I was the one at school always making the mix tapes for everyone (the original mix tapes)." She was also into the club scene of the 80s embracing underground music the DJs would spin. "We collected 12" dance records, the extended versions of new wave, disco, and funk songs that permeated the clubs. I was hearing Madonna on the dance floor long before she hit radio. We bought records regularly and would sit listening to whole album sides and read all the liner notes. It's sad that people don't buy & value music as much today, it's the same price it was 40 years ago ... "
Dance also played a major part in Danielle's upbringing and she had significant terpsichorean involvement during her college years. "Choreographing and performing shows each semester gave me purpose and a huge creative outlet. The discipline you get from dance and theater is unparalleled. I loved putting on shows, from conception to costumes to curtain. I was really involved in show production as well as the rigorous physical demands of dance. Being president of the club taught me how putting on a show is really done. Applying for funding, working with faculty, selling tickets, obtaining press, running auditions, designing show programs, coordinating the audio and lighting ... there's alot to it behind the scenes. It gave me professional show production experience that has served well in my music career."
After college Danielle migrated west and performed a few summers in the Rocky Mountains, singing Broadway, Country, and Pop tunes in mountain lodges. She called Colorado home for awhile and performed at every opportunity, but because the region is a mega-mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, she got very involved in mountain biking. She raced for a sponsored factory team for a few years and explored the Rocky Mountains feverishly. "The mountain biking circuit enabled me to travel through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and California. I pushed myself mentally and physically like never before." When her racing years ended music presented itself in a whole new light. Songwriting.
"One day after doing vocal exercises I was sitting at the piano & left the tape recorder running, as I often did when playing. Something came over me and songs started coming fast & furiously. It was my first real encounter with the muse and I felt I was finally on an authentic path in life. I was composing music with form, content, and emotion and it felt effortless. I left Colorado and moved back east on a farm/brewery in eastern Connecticut. There was this gorgeous open room with hardwood floors and natural reverb and a baby grand to practice on. I would wake up with music and lyrics in my head, formulate them on the piano, record onto my 4-track, and made a whole lotta demos. It was a magical period and I embraced the creative process wholeheartedly. After a few months I moved into NYC and stayed almost 2 years. I was working by day as a legal secretary, singing backup in a cover band, performing at open stages, and apprenticing at recording studios. Alot of growing pains and paying dues. The competition was fierce and the music industry brutal, but I was not about to get deterred. I was being offered gigs from my open mic nights and knew I had to start putting on my own original performances. Showtime."
Danielle put together her first original band in Denver, CO that lasted almost 5 years. Rehearsals, writing charts/arrangements, auditioning players and trying to make something happen from nothing is a big feat to be challenged by only the brave! Her band was billed as The Dani Brae Band and the music had a jam-band influenced jazz/pop/rock sound. "Loved the band and loved the players and had such hopes for that band taking off. We gigged as much as possible and had awesome chemistry and improvisational ability. Just as I thought things would get bigger, unfortunately they got smaller. The band broke up when the energy to constantly gig, promote, and believe was fading. I realized then that very few can and will stay the course. And it was time to make a record."
"Though already in the hands of several studios for production, my CD hadn't reached any stage of completion. I was unhappy with many of the studios I was recording at and thought I could do better -- so I cultivated new audio engineering skills. My drums and bass were already on analog tape and I tracked the remaining instrumentation on Pro Tools. All the editing and mixing was through intense trial and error but was a labor of love for me that re-ignited my passion for audio (with my own art as the guinea pig !). And finally, 2 years later, I had a finished record with "ELEMENTS" ! My CD was self-released on ITUNES and I joined the independent artist revolution. Having your first CD out there is pretty exhilarating. So what it didn't make the Billboard charts? I made my own album !! "
Danielle's songs are on internet radio and have received college radio airplay. She has played in music festivals and venues of all sizes, shapes and status. She put herself on a mini-tour in 2008 playing from LA, Vegas, Denver, Austin, Nashville, and up the east coast. She has placed well on Indie Artist song charts and competitions and can pull from a 100+ song catalog of original music. Her second CD is in production and is a compilation of the " . . . raw, rough and radical energy experienced through challenging times. I tried to take all the not-so-nice things people have said and done and make something poetic out of it. In other words, I channeled the anger into art . . . " The title of the new CD is "BITTER GIRL" and will be released in early Spring !! And 2013 is sure to be a busy, busy year ...