There’s just something about small town life that seems to resonate with people. And if you’re fortunate to be a part of that club, Dakota Danielle has an anthem of sorts, her new single, “Backroads.”
After nearly two years between single releases, Dakota has made her return with a rocking, powerhouse, good-timing tune that fits somewhere between Gretchen Wilson and Miranda Lambert’s 2000s-era catalog. Following her emotionally heavy 2019 single “One Day Closer to You,” Dakota offers a major change of pace with “Backroads,” released just in time for windows down driving.
We chatted with Dakota all about “Backroads,” as well as the success of her debut single, “One Church,” using songwriting as therapy, her love of motivational speaking and more!
Pro Country: Your debut single, “One Church,” has independently earned over 70,000 streams on Spotify, as well as several thousand more views and streams across platforms. What did it mean to you to come out of the gate that way and to be able to tangibly see the support both yourself and the song received?
Dakota Danielle: The success of “One Church” meant a lot to me. It made me have more confidence in what I was doing. I was so thankful everyone loved/supported me and the song. I felt like it was a good out of the gate song to go with because it’s about where I grew up and a place I’ll always consider home.
PC: What do you think it is about “One Church” that allowed it to connect with listeners the way it has?
DD: I feel like “One Church” really connected to listeners who were also from a small town like me. It’s relatable in that aspect and the melody is something that is easy to sing along with.
PC: You released your debut EP, My Mother’s Daughter, following the passing of your mother, with your bio stating that writing the EP began your healing process. How cathartic is it for you to put your thoughts and feelings into the four songs that made up the EP and release them into the world?
DD: It was a difficult time for me and writing/releasing those songs were what helped me get through everything. It was an emotional process writing the songs, but I felt almost a little weight being lifted off my shoulders when I would finish writing a song. I wanted to release them to the world in the hopes that maybe someone else needed help and hear them as well.
PC: Your single, “One Day Closer to You” chronicles the loss of both of your parents, and was released soon before your father passed. Did the song take on a new meaning for you after losing your father?
DD: The song definitely took on a new meaning for me after my father passed. It became a song that was about both of them. I have an even stronger emotional attachment to “One Day Closer To You” since both of my parents are gone.
PC: “One Day Closer to You” offers a hopeful take on very heavy personal tragedies. How were you able to remain hopeful in light of such events?
DD: I have to thank my parents for my attitude of hope during all of my tragic events. They were two people who had been through a lot but never complained once. They were strong, stubborn and determined to just enjoy life, no matter what road blocks they ran into. I learned everything from watching how they handled tragedies and hard times.
PC: Your new single, “Backroads” comes nearly two years after “One Day Closer to You.” What was the anticipation level like for you to be releasing new music after a bit of a layoff?
DD: I was so excited to get new music released after a year off! I was determined to show fans a more upbeat, fun and sassy side of me. I feel like “Backroads” does exactly that! 🙂
PC: Can you talk about the inspiration behind “Backroads”?
DD: I wrote “Backroads” with two of my best friends, Leah Crose and Katie Ray. We were inspired by how in some places, specifically small towns like where I grew up, there was not a lot to do besides drive around on backroads. I remember my teenage years when we would get into some trouble on the backroads, and I thought it could make just a fun, upbeat song. It was such a fun time writing this song!
PC: While most of your catalog is very acoustic-driven, “Backroads” is a rocking, electrified and energetic song. Can you talk about taking that new sonic step and from what part of your sonic influence you drew on?
DD: I have always been a fan of 80s music and classic rock. I thought this song would be a perfect fit for showing that off a bit.
PC: Your bio mentions that you often make appearances at schools to deliver motivational speeches for children. What do you hope they take away from your speeches? What has drawn you to continuously deliver them?
DD: I did do some motivational speaking at schools before COVID. I really wanted the kids to remember to not be afraid to pursue their dreams if they are prepared to work hard and do what it takes to accomplish them. I also wanted them to remember to just be kind to one another, as you never know what someone is going through. I like to do the motivational speeches because I like to help other people learn from my mistakes and the knowledge that I have learned along my path.
PC: Of the things you can control, what are your plans for 2021?
DD: NEW MUSIC! I want this year to be full of new music and growing my socials/fan base.
*Dakota’s music is featured on The Best of Pro Country playlist!*