We had the good fortune of connecting with Danielle W Carter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danielle, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
Incremental progress is powerful in creating monumental change. I align my habits with my personal vision, and welcome opportunities that match the creative path I envision ahead as a music artist, songwriter and jewelry designer.
There is a list of practices that I keep on auto-pilot, and they provided the foundation that helped me achieve some recent career wins: 1) delivered dynamic live shows locally and on the East Coast in collaboration with many heart-felt charitable organizations, 2) awarded First Place in the International Songwriters Song Day Contest, and 3) debuted an original Dani W + Drew song in a new series directed by Ava DuVernay for Oprah’s OWN TV. Excited for what my team and I will accomplish together next!
+ Picture it! In the morning, I take five minutes to fully envision my future world tour. My senses are activated as I feel the stage under my feet, the lights shining on all the smiling faces in the audience, and they are singing “Tell Me How You Really Feel” from the bottom of their hearts. Drew is stage right rocking out on the guitar and our bandmates are deep in the groove for the double encore finale. Eyes open, wide awake. I open my eyes and begin my day with loving, limitless energy.
+ Early and often! I’ve got it down to a science…most days! I do vocal warmups, brainstorm new song ideas,and rehearse material for stage or to record in the studio. I’ve grown to appreciate skill building after my initial training at The Songwriting School of Los Angeles. Now I understand the power of actively maintaining and expanding my craft for the benefit of my friends, who will be listening and watching. They deserve the best from me too!
+ Let it go! A while back, I started acupuncture sessions at The Star Tulip Clinic and feel more grounded than ever. Releasing fear and stagnant energy is invigorating. I can feel the changes in my voice over time–it’s liberating as a performer! So much gets stored in the body, and it’s wonderful to stay tuned-in and tuned-up.
+Eat to live!—Eating nutrient dense food keeps me feeling light and satisfied. Yes, I admit to sipping the celery juice. I take vitamins and focus my meals on adding more fruits and veggies in my meals. On the go, I travel with my Juice PLUS+ Chewables (aka “gummies”)–a best kept secret, which I order through my family. My folks are advocates of healthy living, nutrition and education so I had a strong start!
+ Face it! I recently tossed out my old makeup bag and traded it in for natural makeup by the 100% Pure brand. More fruit- and plant-based cosmetic options are becoming available. I’m noticing my skin light up, blemishes fading, and even a slight boost in mood from nutrition. Love feeling a productive glow on stage and off!
+ Great minds! Getting out of my head and into a few good books is the ultimate stay-cation. Clive Davis, Bo Eason, L.A. Reid, and Matthew Knowles have my attention. Because many of them share experience within the music industry, it’s really interesting to notice how each success story overlaps and intersects with another’s. Whether book, podcast, or attending a conference, I’ve always been keen on learning from others and applying new approaches for my entrepreneurial mindset.
+ Add a Gold Star! Truth be told, I’m the artist-business creative who loves checking off my to-do list with a little victory dance! I write down “WINS” so I can easily reflect upon what worked well and then make any planning adjustments. My days stay fun, challenging and relevant to my long-term goals. If any of these habits work for expanding your personal vision, take one and pass it down!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The music I write often champions love, well-being and community. Because of the uplifting messages, the Dani W + Drew band is often called to perform at community events with soulful visions. I am proud that my original music can empower others, especially when it helps women to recognize their own strength and pursue their dreams. It’s for this reason that I am proud and appreciative that “Legacy” won first place for most inspirational song during the launch of the International Songwriters Song Day Contest. The contest celebrates songwriters across the world and recognizes the first day the human voice was recorded. I wrote “Legacy” when I was feeling stuck and was in need of encouragement and community. It is an honor to watch how this song has grown wings to connect with so many other people who need an anthem.
The creative path is not easy; every step appears as you’re taking it. It takes courage to share and be vulnerable. Also, when the creativity is flowing, it is challenging to focus on just one thing. During my music career, I’ve also launched a jewelry collection called ONYX xoxo which features signature ear cuffs. My mentor, Michael Dolan, reminds me that whether jewelry or music, the source of that creativity is unified. He helped me understand that it’s in my nature to invent, and that this is a blessing. I’ve learned to embrace my blessings and struggles because they usually give way to a song that I need to write and share.
The biggest lesson I embrace and am practicing now is to have patience. Don’t rush to get to the end goal and miss out on the prizes along the way. I’m enjoying every small and big win, every interaction. When I first started, I was chasing the end of my success story. Now I see the gold in every idea, every personal interaction, every note, every word. That’s where the magic lies…all around us.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend was visiting the LA area for a week, every day would include a fun activity such as grabbing a milk tea boba in Little Tokyo, taking pictures in the arts district, roller skating at the beach, going to an artisan craft market by WeAreDTLA, enjoying a drive-in movie or watching a live music concert at Hotel Café. We would dine all over, including my favorite Thai restaurant called Min’s Kitchen in La Canada.
There are so many good places to eat around town but one night we would stay in. We would watch movies, eat popcorn, and catch up on life while we paint our nails and enjoy a home spa. Before my best friend leaves, we would throw a backyard BBQ with the inevitable jam session!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Behind every victory is a village of people I truly admire and appreciate! My team and I greatly appreciate Chris Rizik and Keivu Knox at SoulTracks music blog for premiering the “Tell Me How You Really Feel” official video release, which is out now!
A huge shout out to our “Tell Me How You Really Feel” creative team! This includes Mary Bee and David Air of Bee In The Air Productions, who crafted the most heartfelt music video. Big thank you to our music producer Lyell Evans Roeder, who brought this song to life with kismet timing for debut on Oprah’s OWN television series “Cherish The Day”.
Special thanks to Director Ava DuVernay and all the change-makers on her production team who continue to create content addressing systemic issues in an impactful and thoughtful way.
Special thanks to Barry Coffing, Founder of the Springboard Festival, and his team who continue to inspire and provide real world opportunities for my band and other independent artists! Big thank you to Rob Seals and The Songwriting School of Los Angeles for providing a safe and joyful space to discover my voice and to clarify my message as an artist.
The Dani W+Drew band includes the talented Samuel Andrew Garcia, Abe Gearig, Russell Tessier, and Music Director Gaku Murata. Love you guys! Thank you for always giving your best. You are all lighting up the world in a much needed way!
Other: Dani W + Drew Instagram: @DaniWDrewMusic https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCRC8mV9x42VDIGmxIFQT9yQ/videos https://www.soultracks.com/first-listen-daniw-drew-how-you-really-feel Shop Music & Jewelry: https://www.daniellewcarter.com/shop https://www.inlovewithonyx.com/ Instagram: @Onyx_Xoxo
Ojo De Loba Photography. Be In The Air Productions. The Real John Kim.