When Chicago-native Daphne Willis decided to move to Nashville, things started to look up for the singer/songwriter. But her struggles while growing up and throughout her life have given her a wealth of inspiration to draw on for some killers songs. The first song I was introduced to was “Dopamine”. Her ability to take such a personal situation and make it public in a song is courage on a completely different level. And we had to talk with the up and coming artist. Well, the musical gods decided that we were worthy and so, I am so happy to introduce to you: Daphne Willis!
Lemonade Magazine: Hey Daphne! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Most of our readers are just getting to know you. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Daphne Willis: I grew up in Chicago and moved to Nashville in 2010 to pursue music full time and because I got signed to Vanguard Records. I now write for Sony/ATV and am independent on the artist side, both of which I love. I write songs about positive thinking and self-empowerment because music is a tool I use constantly in life to overcome any and all obstacles.
LM: Your latest single, “Dopamine”, is a pretty dark, yet infectious, song. What was the inspiration behind the track?
DW: Thank you! “Dopamine” is a dark but also very vibrant track for me. It is about ending my struggle with self-medication and finding love and passion where that darkness used to be. To me, it is a celebratory song and one that took me 12 years to be able to write.
LM: And another of your songs, “Somebody’s Someone”, is a wonderful ballad that advocates for mental health. Can you give us a little insight into the origin of the song?
DW: I wrote “Somebody’s Someone” with my buddy Jenn Bostic. We have been writing for a years now and so we get pretty personal in our conversations surrounding the song. We both have been touched by these issues and know all too well how isolating it can be when you or a loved one are struggling. We wanted to write a song that reminded us and others that we are not alone and that we all matter.
LM: There is this amazing depth and dichotomy between your songs, like “Done With Bein’ Done” has a hip-hop influence. What is your songwriting process like when composing in these different styles?
DW: I compose songs in many different atmospheres and I think it definitely creates a different vibe. For example, “Somebody’s Someone” was written on a piano, and “Dopamine” was written to a track that was almost totally completed. So when there’s more rhythmic elements present, I think it changes the syncopation of the lyrics and stylistically the outcome is very different. I hope that makes sense!
LM: So now that you’ve released a few singles, what are your plans for rest of 2017 heading in to 2018?
DW: We are gearing up to release an album this fall! I couldn’t be more excited to get these songs out. This will be conceptually be the most vulnerable of projects I have ever released. It’s scary and liberating all at once! Whooooooo!
LM: Thanks again, Daphne for your time! We really appreciate it!
DW: Thank YOU! Y’all kick ass!
Do not forget to pick up music by Daphne Willis including “Dopamine” and “Somebody’s Someone” on iTunes now! And check out the playlist she built to help her cope with her mental illness and depression!