Danelle Elizabeth isn’t your typical music school grad. Yes, she has a Bachelor’s degree in music, but her journey has been anything but typical.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, at the age of 9 she moved with her family to the states. This set in motion a whirlwind of events that would shape her early life, taking her to Chicago, Minnesota, Miami and eventually Nashville.
-“We lived all over the place… mostly because of my parents' careers. We were only supposed to be in America for three years while they went to graduate school, but things just didn't work out that way. It was a tough transition for us as kids. We were awkward little foreign kids and such easy targets. Sometimes music felt like one of the only safe ways to express myself.”
And express herself she did. Danelle began playing piano at age 4, and by 14 she had moved on to guitar and taken up songwriting. Being the daughter of a preacher, there were always opportunities to sing and play at church. Eventually, she led the worship services, led rehearsals and wrote arrangements for the band and directed the youth choir.
“We are a musical family… everybody plays something and sings. We used to put on concerts for every guest that came over to the house. People almost expected it. Choreography, intermission, harmonies and all! I went nuts with it though. I was in every school musical, every choir, every talent show or competition. Whatever I could find to do.”
This lifelong passion led her to study music in college, earning a Commercial Music degree in Nashville,Tennessee. However, she soon after discovered that college hadn’t prepared her to pursue her dreams as much as life had.
-“Music school was a good foundation, but it totally jaded me. I had to go through detox after I graduated. I didn't wanna hear anything about bass lines and harmonies for a good while!”
In the years following college, Danelle kept herself busy by delving into acting and commercial modeling, all the while, staying close to the Nashville music scene. She racked up an impressive list of credits.
Yet, it wasn’t long before her own creative spirit was itching to be heard and she found herself writing music again.
-“My songs have always been about life and love. The perspective is different from when I started writing, but some of the same things are important to me.”
As she prepares to release her first EP those same themes of life and love still ring true in her music. With influences ranging from James Taylor and Stevie Wonder to India.Arie and Katy Perry and a style that includes elements of jazz, soul, folk and pop, listeners will agree that her music is as well travelled as is she.