Hellion Magazine - meet: Daniela Brooker

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(Photography By Lyall Aston)


meet: Daniela Brooker

By Heike Dempster

May 30th 2013


Flushed and with 'more freckles than usual' singer Daniela Brooker sits across from me in the Miami sunshine. It is a perfect day and the U.K. native is soaking up every minute before heading back into the British spring.

Daniela is in the U.S. to promote her forthcoming debut album “PS” which will be released in the U.S. on July 29th. The smiling and charismatic 19-year old redhead is enjoying her Miami experience. Not just for the weather and the beach but the presence of Latin culture. Daniela is half Venezuelan and she is excited to speak some Spanish, absorb the Latin vibes in Miami and unlike in the UK, meet Venezuelans.

Traveling is one of Daniela’s favorite pastimes. She enjoys the annual family trips to Venezuela and Barbados, her number 1 destination in the Caribbean. Babados is also a place where she would love to perform. Another dream destination she still wants to experience is Asia. Especially Thailand and Hong Kong, which are high up on the list of her fantasy Asian travels.

Talking about her debut album “PS” Daniela gets enthusiastic. She wrote the album together with her two guitarists, one of whom also produced the album. Anyone expecting a pop record from this teenager will be quite surprised when they hear the album. Even though Daniela’s main fan base are girls between the ages of 15 and 25 the album will appeal to a much wider audience. After years of experimentation Daniela has matured and her co-writers, who “only listen to the Beatles” have had some influence as well. Instead of collaborating with hot artists the young singer decided to “be real and just about the music”. Daniela claims, “It is not about names. We are not using any samples, sound effects or auto tune. The album was recorded with my band, raw and natural, and we even have a string section.”

Privately, Daniela listens to “a bit of everything” from Etta James to Christina Aguilera, Prince and Beyonce but her main musical influences are Fleetwood Mac and Michael Jackson. She calls her music British mixed with soul and an Americana feel.

“PS” was written in Los Angeles and has an undeniable California feel. The title actually refers to the hotel, Park Suites, where Daniela was staying when writing the songs. The LA lifestyle, Cali sound and the lazy, beachy attitude inspired the artist and changed the direction of her music and career. The LA trip sparked something in the singer and had such an impact that the music changed from pop to a more soulful Americana sound.

The music on “PS” is very mature, which is balanced out by the lyrics. Daniela says she created a “very simplistic album about what would happen to a girl at 19.” The songs are about her personal life experiences. There is some romance but many of the songs are inspired by family and friends. “It is so easy just to write about relationships,” says the songstress “It is the most universal topic and it is what people want to hear so there are a lot of songs about it but I always try to write it in an interesting way, a different perspective and not just a break up or a love song.”

A recent break up might have given Daniela some inspiration for songs but she does not appear too distraught. She is very happy actually to be able to focus on her music and career without the demands of a serious relationship. Dating is also off the agenda for the near future. “I don’t have enough time for boys at the moment,” she says, flushing, and laughs her infectious laugh. She does use the words “amazing,” “over the top” and “embarrassed” quite often and overall sounds like a normal, sometimes awkward, gushing teenager. Add in that Daniela is on the brink of embarking on a truly, well, 'amazing' journey you can imagine the excitement.

The next step is the release of Daniela’s new single “Breathe” in May (July 15th in the U.S.A.). The rock song tells a story “about two people who are friends, having a moment, and it changes everything.” the video was already shot in April in Manchester in the UK in an old fashioned English home. Daniela mixes her personal experiences with her friends’ stories and some of her friends might even be surprised by what they will hear on “PS.”

Once the album is released Daniela will hit the road, first in the U.K. and Europe and then in the U.S. to promote the album and grace as many stages as she can. She loves to perform live with her full band and “go a bit crazy,” especially when it comes to her stage outfits. She admits she is “very fussy” with her styling and prefers to choose her own outfits.

Daniela loves elaborate clothes that make a statement and gets attention. Miami was of course a perfect shopping heaven for a fashionista who likes “everything over the top.” Her current designer obsession is French label Balmain and it would be a dream come true to get some stage couture by Olivier Rousteing. Maybe we will see Daniela at the front rows very soon if her timetable admits and the designers will send some outfits to eliminate future embarrassing moments. “Sometimes I wear some outrageous clothes on stage and then, like a year later, I am like what was I wearing!!! I am embarrassed all the time.”

For the summer Daniela wants to make sure to hit some of the UK festivals and see artists like Emily Sunday, Justin Timberlake and Jay Z live to be inspired for her upcoming tour. She will travel with a close-knit group including her father, who is also her manager, her mother, bother, sister and publicist Brad Taylor. Working with people she trusts and gets along with makes the touring and hard work more relaxing and keeps the family together. Plus, her mom can do the cooking since Daniela, admittedly, is not a great cook. The gym is also not her friend but she goes regularly to keep fit. Just do not ask her to watch sports!

Fame, fortune and paparazzi do not worry Daniela. She takes every day as it comes and enjoys every minute. Her musical journey really began seven years ago when young Daniela wrote her first song. “Listening back the lyrics were a bit cheesy.” she says and set foot into a recording booth for the first time at the tender age of 13. She remembers her first studio experience in a big industrial building in East London as very exciting even though the studio was the size of a cupboard and she had to sing in a tiny space.

Daniela had years to grow in the industry before taking the step into the spotlight. She took time testing out different sounds, trying various genres and finding her own voice. She attended drama school and trained in theater and even though she does not see herself in musical theater in the future she remembers some performances quite fondly. She reminisces, “I was always cast as the evil one because of my deep voice but being bad is more fun and definitely has better costumes. The damsel in distress is always the boring character.”

Making it from the school stage to the big arenas is a dream come true for Daniela. “Amazing!,“ she says. She played the big arenas in the UK when she recently toured with The Saturdays and she loves the energy of the mega stadiums. Her participation in the “Pinktober” tour for Breast Cancer month introduced her to a new audience in the USA last year as well.

Daniela is ready to take the world by storm and cannot wait for her debut album “PS” to be released. She had her first few paparazzi encounters and finds it mainly “embarrassing.” She is not worried about it and she accepts it as part of the job. “Don’t try to be in the public eye if you don’t want your picture taken,” she simply states.

One of her pictures might just end up on the arm of one of her biggest fans. A young gentleman, who messages her every day and attends all her UK performances, has decided to get a tattoo of his favorite star. She just laughs about it when she recalls the social media conversation and the choice of photo. A picture of Daniela at Halloween last year, dressed up as a Playboy bunny. “My friend made me go as it! Embarrassing!”

Daniela clearly is having the time of her life and is ready for the next step in her career. The charismatic, hard working singer knows what she wants and she has the talent, knowledge and team that she needs to succeed. We will see her in concert near us very soon and that is what she lives for. “If I could live every day doing a show I would be happy.”