Despite Explosive Fame, Dodie Remains Focused
The singer talks about her new EP, her sold out tour, and more.
Soft-spoken and armed with a guitar, keyboard and a mound of thick curly hair, singer-songwriter Dodie took the stage at Rough Trade on January 10 to perform a quick half-hour set in support of her latest EP, Human .
As Dodie entered the spotlight, a massive gaggle of teens, who had all traveled through New York on one of its coldest evenings to see the artist's expeditious set, screamed and bellowed at a volume that briefly startled her. "I thought that gig was going to be a little bit more intimate so I wasn't quite prepared for the volume," the singer told me after the show, "but as soon as I realized how much fun it was, I settled in nicely to this weird loud choir of an audience!"
While the name Dodie may be lost on millenials, Gen Z knows her well. At age 16, with a baritone ukulele, a soothing voice, and empathetic lyrics, Dodie began to gain traction as a YouTube recording artist, quickly garnering over 700,000 fans and over 350 million views. "My life doesn't match up to the plans I had at all," Dodie said of her explosive popularity. "It's both brilliant and painful." She released her first two EPs, Intertwined (2016) and You (2017), completely independently, with both EPs placing in the top 40 on the UK Album Charts. "The feeling I had at the very beginning was electric excitement," the singer said.
Dodie's latest single, "If I'm Being Honest," opens with the line " I was told this is where I would start loving myself ," seemingly an ode to Dodie's continued journey for self-acceptance. "It was definitely scary at first to share my songs with different people who had different ideas," Dodie said of crafting Human . "But in the end, I had little nuggets of creativity, and deeper sounding songs that I would have never been able to do on my own." She closed out her set with the track; tears could be seen glistening on teens' faces as they passionately sang the chorus. "There isn't a better feeling than working on a song, falling in love with it, and seeing everyone else love it too," Dodie said.
As 2019 kicks off, the 23-year-old singer is gearing up for the biggest year in her career. While she just completed a sold-out US tour, Dodie will hit the road again in February and embark on a massive European tour on which she will play at London's legendary Roundhouse–her biggest venue to date. "With Human , I had a version after weeks of working on it that sounded too electronic for me, so I encouraged everyone to get back in the studio and give it that organic root back," the singer said. "I'm so pleased I did." As Dodie's empathetic tracks continue to seize the hearts of teens everywhere, Dodie just wants to stay focused. "I think the more you practice something, the more you learn what you like, but more importantly what you don't like," she said. "My sound is growing, but the element of it, of me, is still going to be there."
Mackenzie Cummings-Grady is a creative writer who resides in the Brooklyn area. Mackenzie's work has previously appeared in The Boston Globe, Billboard, and Metropolis Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @mjcummingsgrady.
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