Miami-born, LA-based artist DaniLeigh took over the Puma stage this past Saturday at Sole DXB in a performance that left us all mesmerised. New girl crush alert!
With her bold attitude, the 23 year-old triple threat is without doubt a force to be reckoned with, dancing alongside big names like Pharrell and Pitbull and recently signing to one of the biggest record labels, Def Jam.
Her big break, however, all started at the age of 18 when Prince (yes, THE Prince) discovered the artist online. “He reached out to me via email asking me to direct and star in his music video Breakfast Can Wait, and I couldn’t believe it!” DaniLeigh tells us in an interview just minutes before her performance at Sole.
Dani’s Dominican roots also play a big part in her music, helping her bring that extra bit of flavour into whatever project she takes on. “Were loud, soulful and passionate people, us Dominicans. Growing up with my big crazy family, we would always have parties so I was introduced to music from a very young age.”
With the release of her debut album The Plan and headlining the Be Yourself tour at the end of January, the future seems bright for this rising star. Here's what she had to say...
You’re a triple threat; a singer, dancer, and a creative director; how do all three shape and elevate the type of artist that you are?
I feel like my brand is very true to who I am as an individual. Everything that I preach is about staying true to myself. I’m confident enough in who I am and my music to be able to maintain that message. I started off in this industry as a dancer and that still correlates into the creation of my music today. Sometimes, when I’m in the studio recording, I'll start to dance and ask my producer to make me a beat to match my moves. Dancing helps me stay me. As far as creative directing, that’s all about connecting with different forms of art I can bring to the table.
How did you get the opportunity to work with Prince? What were some of the most important things you took from your time with him?
When I was 18 years old Prince reached out to me via email asking me to direct his music video Breakfast Can Wait and I couldn’t believe it! He found me online and said he loved my movement and gave me full creative control for the video. That was my first mark in the industry. Everything he taught me as an artist and a young woman is to be strong and confident and never compromise, which is exactly my brand now.
What does it mean to you to be a part of this year’s Sole DXB with PUMA?
I’m so excited to be here! I’m in Dubai for the first time and it’s been incredible. This event is starting to get hugely recognised worldwide. When I first posted that I was in Dubai, people were messaging me telling me to check out Sole DXB and I was like “I’m performing there!” It’s also really humbling to be a part of this year’s event alongside other legendary artists that I look up to like NAS.
What drew you to working with PUMA instead of other brands?
I love PUMA, I think that everything they’ve been doing so far is great as far as collaborating with other artists. A lot of different brands aren’t so focused on that within the music industry. PUMA uses their platform to lift up artists and creatives by supporting their visions. The brand definitely matches my aesthetic and vibe when it comes to similar messages that we're trying to put out into the world. We both understand the importance of collaborations, which ultimately is what’s going to help you grow. By working with others you’ll learn more. And of course, the style they’ve been putting out is another huge factor as to why I love them.