Independent Woman – The Hype Magazine
Published on March 22nd, 2021 | by MuzikScribe
Last October you unleashed “Sugar Honey Ice Tea,” featuring Shya L’Amour — How has the response been thus far?
The response has been overwhelmingly receptive from DJ’s, DJ pools and blogs. I’m enormously appreciative. My motto is: “One Lover (fan) at a time!”
Tell me about this particular composition — How did it actually come to fruition?
The melody and the lyrics for the hook came to me while I was driving one day. I sent the idea to my producer, Hytz; he created the track around it, we finished the recording at the studio, then later got the beautiful and talented Shya L’Amour to do a feature. And Voilà! “Sugar Honey Ice Tea” was born.
Your latest single is entitled “Love Me” — Talk to me about this track…
Well, I believe, all that anybody ever wants is to be loved. “Love Me” tells the story of a woman who gives her all to someone who isn’t deserving; but once she starts to love herself, she finds the power to break free of a toxic situation.
Both songs come courtesy of your upcoming EP, Abandoned, due out this fall — Conceptually, what does this title represent both to and for you?
The title “Abandoned” encompasses the raw emotions that fuels this EP. The title track on the EP paints the picture of the pain I was feeling after the split from my ex. I’ve been both abandoned professionally by the music industry and personally in my relationships; this EP touches on both experiences.
What all else exactly can be expected from this forthcoming body of work?
The entire body of work was created by my producer, Hytz, and myself. I write, come up with melodies…and he produces. Shya L’Amour is featured (on) “Sugar Honey Ice Tea,” and Beanz is featured on a song called “Take Your Girl.” I not only sing about the trials I’ve experienced in life on this EP, but I also sing about the triumphs; for instance the song titled “King Kong” – one of my favorite songs on the EP – is quite empowering. It’s such a vibe; I really get to talk my Sugar Honey Ice Tea on that record! I’m also working on a book and a documentary…so stay tuned!
I remember quite well your two previously released entries, the Missy Elliott assisted “Honk your Horn” and “Yo, Yo, Yo,” which built great anticipation for what was to become your Universal Records’ debut, Is There Another?! — But nothing ever materialized from said working relationship, how come? What actually happened with that entire situation?
I remember there was much excitement at the label about my project, then suddenly there wasn’t! During the moment of excitement, Missy heard my project and expressed interest in working with me. She ended up producing my first single, “Honk your Horn.” I found myself caught in the middle of a merger within the company. During the merger, those who were behind my project were either let go or left altogether…as a result, my management bailed on me without warning. I was alone and without support, and my project was never released.
Aside from all of that obvious disappointment, why still such a lengthy delay between these records?
LIFE! After I was let go from Universal Records, I decided to put a band together and do shows in NYC. I was pretty much on my own without any support or a team…I was in limbo for a long time trying to figure out what I was going to do, but I refused to give up on my music.
That being said, what all exactly had / have you been up to, both personally and professionally speaking, during this sixteen or so long years musical hiatus?
I’ve been out here living life, and it’s no joke! I have a beautiful 8 year old daughter, who keeps me on my toes. I’m back in the studio recording new music. I’m so glad music found its way back to me again!
Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Dani Stevenson?
I’ve always known I could sing, but it was when I received a standing ovation at my junior high school graduation that I realized music was what I wanted to pursue as a career.
Now you’re a Harlem, New York, native, correct? So growing up in the “Big Apple,” who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
I grew up on 131st and Lenox. My mother listened to Anita Baker, The Whispers, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Michael Jackson; that’s all she played! Then I discovered amazing artists; such as Mary J. Blige, Faith, Wu-Tang, TLC, Guy, Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men and so many others…then later, I was introduced to Jazz greats such as Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan, which heavily influenced my sound.
With that being said, how do you classify your overall sound and / or style?
I would say my sound is a combination of all of my musical influences. It’s R&B, Hip Hop, Pop and Jazz.
The masses first became familiar with you back in 2002 as the background vocalist for Nelly’s multi-platinum Grammy winning single, “Hot in Herre,” laced by The Neptunes — How did this opportunity even come about?
One day I got a call from my producer at the time to come into the city to record a song; he didn’t say with whom, but when I got there I saw Nelly and Pharrell in the room. My A&R at the time made the arrangement; we were label-mates.
“Hot in Herre” is such a bonafide Hip Hop staple — Did you have any idea (especially during its recording process) that it would become such a massive hit? Why do you feel that it has withstood the test of time over the course of two decades later? And, please describe for me the overall studio vibe on that fateful day?
I had no idea that the song would be (a) huge hit. But I do remember after recording my part, the energy in the room shifted from somewhat lukewarm to hot! *Lol* Nelly and Pharrell knew they had a hit on their hands, (so) they released it right away.
Switching gears here, what exactly do you want people to get from your music?
I want people to hear my story through my music, and I hope to inspire others to pursue their dreams and to never quit on themselves no matter how hard it gets.
If you could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Living, I would love to collaborate with Lauryn Hill, Jhene Aiko, Erykah Badu…dead, Billie Holiday, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, just to name a few.
If you could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why?
Coachella, because it’s always poppin’, the audience is bananas, and I believe it would be an amazing experience!
In terms of longevity, what do you feel it is that will continue to sustain you in this grueling industry?
Creating greats songs, always remaining humble, keeping a hungry spirit and staying true to myself.
Do you have any other outside / additional future aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?
Yes, I’ve started a lash extensions company, and I’m currently working on starting a pie business.
To date, what has been your biggest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?
Biggest career moment thus far is being completely independent.
Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?
I see myself entertaining audiences, producing and recording music, running and expanding my other business endeavors (and) developing other artists.
As for the immediate, what’s next for you, Dani?
Right now, my focus is to promote my new single, “Love Me,” which is out now on all digital music platforms, and continue to be open to new opportunities that come my way.
Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?
Look out for my EP entitled Abandoned (in October), and more virtual and live performances.
Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
Please follow me on all social media platforms: @thedanistevenson. Please stay tuned, because there is so much more to come!
Lovers Lane Entertainment