I didn't know much about Daphne Willis until I met her last week besides the fact that she had really cool hair and killer pipes, but from the moment we said hello, I knew that this girl was a vibrant force. Something special. A Chicago-born Nashville transplant, Daphne is cultured, cool, confident, and comfortable. Conversation seems to come as easy to her as songwriting and we had a ton to talk about.
Though based in Nashville, Daphne is always on the move. She has been touring the country playing shows in promotion of her new album out next month. Her leading single from the new album is "Dopamine." Daphne told me this song is personal to her. Having been in recovery for a year, "Dopamine" is about going from "self-medicating to self-love." Daphne and I talked about self-care and self-love. "You can do it," she encourages. While some prefer meditation, Daphne shared her own routine with us. Wim Hof developed an ice bath therapy technique that involves a breathing exercise and then sitting in an ice bath for several minutes. This therapy is geared toward healing physical and mental ailments. She urges us to try or whatever remedy that fits into your day. Daphne also does yoga and works out, "I think that's enough," she jokes, but we agree, the main idea is taking time out of your crazy life for just you.
Watch my interview with Daphne Willis here.
Daphne has always been really connected to music. With two music major parents, she was exposed to the classics at an early age. "I grew up with tons of different kinds of music," she said. A fan of Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Ella Fitzgerald, and Michael Jackson, Daphne has appreciated every far reach of music but they have one thing in common, greatness. Daphne looks up to a lot of songwriters in the business like Sam Smith, Sia, and Ryan Tedder. She told me that Nashville is notorious for co-writing so she loves to collaborate with other artists. "The more you collaborate the better the songs are when you perform live," she says, urging the value of having a different perspective in her songs. She told me that she used to have an old school tape recorder she'd carry around to record ideas on, but now uses her iPhone. Thank God for iPhones we agreed. In addition to playing guitar, Daphne used to play sax. No longer in practice, she still has a fondness for the instrument and included two "shameless" sax solos on her next album.
It was unreal hearing Daphne in such an intimate setting. Such a powerhouse, the room was electric as she played "Dopamine," contrasted by the energetic but somber tone of her second song "Somebody's Someone." Our Facebook live blew up with kind words from Daphne's fans who are by the way amazing. Their affection for Daphne and her music was genuine and visceral. On the contrary, I got to see Daphne perform in a larger setting the following night. Her show at Rockwood Music Hall was just as electric. It seemed like her bag of tricks were endless, playing song after song only pausing for some funny stories and witty mic banter. She did a rocking cover of "Eleanor Rigby" by The Beatles, a hilarious song about internet stalkers, and played the unreleased title song on her new album, "Freaks Like Me." Stay tuned for Freaks Like Me out next month!
Watch a clip from her live performance at Rockwood Music Hall.
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