Dee Daniels was the 2020-2021 Winner of the Western Canadian Music Awards Spiritual Artist of the Year. She also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Capilano University and is the Recipient of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II!
But what impresses us most about Dee is her natural stage presence and the musical invitation she emanates so naturally as she sings. So, we asked her to share key moments of insight on singing and her career:
A favorite quote that inspires you:
“It’s the mind that is musical, not the body” – George Peckham, Vocal teacher
A key turning point in developing your own unique vocal work?
Having two initial lessons with George Peckham. He told me singing was literally just an extension of speaking. All registers that you use when speaking you can access when singing. You’re merely sustaining the tones. He was right!
What was your first performance?
I was invited to join an established band in Seattle, WA during the weekends. I was teaching art in a local high school at the time. The gig was in a popular local tavern. It took only two weekends of performing with the band before I was hooked and committed to six nights a week and joined the band.
What did you learn from that performance?
I learned that though I was passionate about art at that time, my true calling was music.
What’s an important lesson you’ve learned in terms of vocal health?
Have a healthy diet; get enough rest/sleep and avoid air conditioning.
A vocal artist who inspires you?
Beyoncé – it’s her ability to connect with her audience; her use of colors, textures, and range in the telling of stories; her overall commitment to inspire and uplift people through her music, her dedication to excellence.
A lesson with tech that’s helped you make or share your music?
Knowing which mic is best for you both on stage and in the recording studio. I use a Shure Beta 58 microphone for live performance and a Neumann U87 for recording.
What is one video of your singing that was particularly easy (or hard!) to complete – and what made it so?
My 2021 video, Let Freedom Ring (The Ballad of John Lewis) from my CD, The Promise Deluxe Edition, was very easy. It’s one of my original compositions. I was inspired by the song’s message which is composed of four sentences taken from the last essay written by the late US Representative and Civil Rights leader, John Lewis.
An object (at home) that inspires you in your musical work
My old Roland XP80 keyboard
What performance would you single out as being a “turning point” & why?
Recording “The Promise Deluxe Edition” CD which is all original with the exception of one song. The musical genre is inspirational/gospel…not jazz which is the genre I’m known for. The lyrics and music were “gifted” to me via meditation as I was going through treatment for breast cancer. My greatest desire is that the messages of the songs provide support and inspiration to listeners through their personal trials.
What were one or two critical steps you took to reach larger audiences with your music?
I decided to diversify my music to include the classical music world via Symphony Pops programs with orchestras. I also included public speaking, and of course have expanded my teaching opportunities.
What are some of your career dreams/goals?
To increase my motivational speaking opportunities, write my memoir, perform at the White House, and produce at least three more CDs of original material.
What are you currently working on in terms of your music-career?
I released my new CD, The Promise Deluxe Edition, on May 7, 2021. I’m now in planning mode for the next cd that will be in duet with Juno Award winner Denzal Sinclaire. It will be released in 2022 if COVID protocols are soon relaxed.
Dee Daniels – With a palpable authenticity, towering four-octave range, and a powerful blues and gospel-tinged jazz vocal approach, Dee Daniels has built a sterling reputation amongst jazz fans and critics around the world. Whether accompanying herself at the piano, fronting a combo, big band, symphony orchestra, or recording with numerous jazz luminaries, she is a unique talent who transcends orchestra, or recording with numerous jazz luminaries, she is a unique talent who transcends musical borders. http://www.deedaniels.com/