“What I hope the music is conveying is an ever unfolding story and the fact that I’m always growing and changing.” ~ Daena Jay
Daena Jay is a singer/songwriter whose life would actually seem to be changing with far more frequency than the average individual. She comes from South Africa, but has also called London, Durban, and Perth home at various points in her life. However, she’s currently based out of LA. This March saw the release of Daena Jay’s sophomore effort, SUBDIVISION, a five track EP that has the singer headed in a less morose and a more empowered direction. Daena says that her latest EP was actually quite a different process from her debut, When the Bough Breaks: “For the first EP, a lot of the songs had been written by me, in my own room, about my own personal experience, but for SUBDIVISION all the songs were co-written with Bobby Hartry and we didn’t set out to create an EP, we just started working without having any constraints and it was a lot more fun.”
When asked if Daena has a favorite song on SUBDIVISION, she explains that that’s a bit like choosing a favorite child. However, when I tell her that “What You Always Wanted,” a playfully synthy anti-love song, is my personal favorite, she explains that the songs is, “About the restlessness of love and relationships and what we really want.” She also admits that “Heart Beat Ready,” a sultry and soulful post-R&B ballad, is especially fun for her because it’s, “such a departure.” However, I’m most intrigued by our discussion of opening track, “I Will”: “I’m totally nerdy.
I wanted to be a college professor before I got into music. I read a lot and I was reading Kierkegaard and reading about the history of the slave trade and oppression and I wrote ‘I Will’ about shackles and the shuffling of shackles and the idea of the human spirit versus oppression.” When it comes to musical influences, which is hard to deduce, as Daena tends to cover a lot of ground, she stated, “I tend to gravitate toward strong female artists, especially those that are really musically talented, like Feist and Imogen Heap – I always tend to go back to the oldies-but-goodies.”
And as “uncool” as it can be to ask musicians about something as “trivial” as their sense of fashion, Daena has a style worth commenting on and where she gets her sartorial style is just as telling as anything she says about her music: “I’ve always loved to dress up and anything that looks slightly ridiculous I’m drawn to. I mean, anytime you take yourself too seriously you miss out on good times.”
Pick up your own copy of Subdivision today.