Artist/Band: Marie Danielle
Hometown: Harrisburg, PA
Latest Album/Release: Hustler
Influences: Joni Mitchell, Conor Oberst, Bruce Springsteen and Lucinda Williams are the biggest influences on the whole. I love storytellers. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Father John Misty and Fleet Foxes. Television, Cate Le Bon and The Beach Boys.
TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
Danielle: Folk. My first record “Hustler” definitely had an Americana vibe to it. The one I’m working on now is darker, more electric. And definitely weirder. With a different sound than anything I’ve done before. We were talking about it in the studio… Interstellar Folk was the genre that stuck.
TrunkSpace: We’re all our own worst critic. Where are you hardest on yourself when it comes to your music?
Danielle: I always criticize my writing. Except for those songs that are rare bolts of inspiration, when they come pouring out of the universe, I find myself changing lyrics, altering chord progressions and just agonizing over what I’m trying to say and if it’s coming across.
TrunkSpace: We read that you have lived in both Los Angeles and in New York City. Have the cities themselves affected your songwriting? Did they elicit a particular mood that trickled into your writing?
Danielle: Absolutely. Right now, when I’m writing it often seems as if I’m still walking down Hollywood Blvd, even though I’ve been gone from LA for half a year. I had wanted out of Los Angeles for so long. I felt stuck. It felt like purgatory. It’s been a long time since I lived in New York, so it doesn’t have the same effect on me or my songwriting.
TrunkSpace: Honesty is always a powerful tool in songwriting, but do you ever worry about putting too much of yourself into your songs?
Danielle: I don’t think you can put too much of yourself in songs. I worry about it being disingenuous, worry about it not being me. About being phony. I like it when I’m a little afraid of playing the song, scared to give too much away. If it isn’t a little dangerous, it isn’t worth doing.
TrunkSpace: It sounds like that for a long time, your music was something that you kept very private and to yourself. Now that you share your music with the world, how has that creative openness changed your life?
Danielle: The more public my music became the more I wanted to make music. I left LA and started touring and working on a new record. I’ve gotten to play with a lot of amazing artists I really admire and met new artists that are fantastic as well. But, it does put the pressure on. Now I can’t just sit down and write a song the way I used to. There’s always the next record to think of, if it fits, if it’ll be done in time… thinking about all the professional aspects and then hoping it all still comes out authentic.
TrunkSpace: What does your songwriting process look like? Do you need to be in a particular mindset or creative zone in order to write?
Danielle: It really depends on the day. Sometimes it’s a chord progression, sometimes it’s a melody, or even just a title. And then you just have to keep chipping away, without forcing but without being lazy either. It’s a struggle. I hate writing but love having written.
TrunkSpace: You spend a lot of time on the road. Are you someone who feels at home on the highways and byways or is the physical aspect of touring a strain on you emotionally/physically?
Danielle: I love the road. There is a solitude about it, kind of like removing yourself a step away from society. And the driving is so meditative. I do a lot of writing in my head while driving. But it does get tiring. And lonely. I think I want a band just to share the driving.
TrunkSpace: Where are you most at home with your music? Is it on a stage or in the studio and why?
Danielle: I love being in the studio. Right now, I’ve gotten really lucky and have this great band from Mississippi backing me up, Young Valley. We just clicked and the next record will be interesting, it’s a bit of a departure from “Hustler.” I don’t think you can get that kind of transformation on the stage.
TrunkSpace: In your opinion, what is the most universal subject matter to write about… the thing that all listeners can relate to? It is love? Is it loss? Is it something else?
Danielle: I think that depends on who is listening, but to me, it’s love and loss. I don’t know if people want to hear about your happy days. Happiness tends towards the shallow. Losing someone you love is dark and tortuous. It has a depth to it. It’s unique and universal at the same time.
TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Marie Danielle for the rest of 2017?
Danielle: I’m finishing the new record down in Mississippi. I’ve been working at this fantastic studio in Water Valley. Dial Back Sound with Bronson Tew. We have found such a great vibe for this record, we just hit it off and it’s like we’ve been playing together for years. I probably won’t release the new one ‘til early 2018, but it’s what this year is about. I’ll be heading back to Europe in the fall and touring some more in the US before and after that.