By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Dark pop Filipina-American artist Lisa Danaë has released her new single “STARLET,” which revolves around the search for self-love and owning her identity in the midst of a harsh journey to find her place in the music industry.
According to Danaë, the name “STARLET” was based off praise she read from a Musical Notes Global review about her. It sparked her mindset that she has forged her own path now, instead of wishing she was like other celebrities as she had before.
Based in California, the self-confessed Disney fanatic/”90’s kid” started to make music in 2013 and routinely performs livestream shows and does a talk-music podcast called Sound Scrub.
The Music Bugle had the chance to chat with her about “STARLET” and more.
Music Bugle – How would you say social media has helped you throughout your journey as an up-and-coming musician?
Lisa Danaë – Social media has allowed me to reach and connect with an audience from around the world at no cost. When you’re an independent artist funding everything on your own, it can be pretty stressful trying to figure out how to finance marketing, but social media has helped many of us to put our music in the eyes of people in many different countries. I also love social media because as a creative, I get to use it as another outlet to share my artistry aside from music.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Lisa Danaë – Artists that I have on repeat right now are The Weeknd, Dua Lipa, Post Malone – even though Post hasn’t released anything new recently – Doja Cat and I still play “Golden Hour” by Kacey Musgraves at least once a day.
Music Bugle – What was your mindset when putting together “STARLET”? Did it come together quickly?
Lisa Danaë – “STARLET” was written pretty quickly, but the production took a while because this was the first time we worked remotely on a song. This song was inspired by a music writer who wrote reviews on my past releases, “Type Erase” and “1445.” She called me a “rising pop starlet” and my co-writer, a girl named jaen, called me saying, “We need to write a song called ‘STARLET,'” and I agreed! We hadn’t heard that term used recently, so we thought it was fresh. Once we established the theme of self-love and empowerment, the lyrics and melody flowed easily. From there, we took it to the producer, John McLucas and because of distance and scheduling, we decided to do this production remotely, but I was definitely trying to get used to communicating via email describing sounds that we wanted. Trying to explain changes was difficult for me, so we probably had 10 production demos before I even laid down the vocals. I would prefer to write with people in person to bounce off that energy in the room, but if distance is a factor, especially with everything going on in the world, then we need to learn how to adjust and use the tools we’re given.
Music Bugle – As far as the artwork for “STARLET,” what inspired your ideas?
Lisa Danaë – My videographer Josh Suguitan and I were storyboarding the music video and when we started thinking about outfit options. He asked me, “What makes you a starlet?” and I started thinking about how I dress and different personalities that make me who I am. I ended up reaching out to my close friend and up-and-coming stylist, Aylin Padron and she started telling me what she notices about my personal style. I love the 70s, definitely 90s and also, early 2000s fashion. I had some pieces already that I hadn’t styled yet, like the purple iridescent biker shorts and I knew I wanted to sell button pins for merchandise, so that’s where the denim bucket hat came into play. From there, we started styling around each piece and ultimately, decided that there are four different fashion styles that I generally play with on a daily basis. Each look represents my personality, which in turn, makes up the starlet that is Lisa Danaë.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your genre of music?
Lisa Danaë – I really enjoy how cinematic dark pop is. Specifically for “STARLET,” I can just imagine this in a TV show, a movie, or even a video game. I also love how I can blend so many different types of genres that I grew up with and currently listen to and admire because it just gives me a lot more to play with. I love the idea of mixing positive lyrics with darker tones and melodies and vice versa! I think dark pop is an interesting sound and really versatile.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Los Angeles to someone who has never been there before?
Lisa Danaë – Traffic galore! No, but really, I grew up in Orange County and would go to Los Angeles often before I ended up moving here and it’s really nice. There are a lot of hidden gems in LA that are definitely worth seeing, but if you’re not a lover of traffic or pretty much having to drive everywhere you go, then it may not be for you. Los Angeles is fast-paced as well and sadly, people can be impatient, but my mind is constantly moving, so I like being in a fast environment.
Music Bugle – In what ways have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Lisa Danaë – My experience has been pretty positive, minus the moments when I miss human interaction, but I’ve been creating different types of content to share my music and just kind of went full force with it. I’ve been writing, hosting my music podcast called Sound Scrub, creating content to push my YouTube channel, joining Zoom meetings with other independent artists, writers, producers, mainly in the sync licensing world, to connect and making funny, relatable TikTok videos! Overall, I kind of feel like I’ve been given the gift of time to create more and more.
Music Bugle – What’s something people should know about you as a person, away from music?
Lisa Danaë – I’m actually pretty shy and I have my guard up a lot. You can also read my emotions pretty well and I can tell right away if I’m going to vibe with you or not, so don’t take it personal. I’ve been through too much with people stabbing me in the back and taking advantage of me to where you really need to work for my friendship and build a relationship but at the same time, I still feel like I’m really easygoing and get along with the majority. I just want to be surrounded by positive people and I’m very intuitive, so I detect right away if there is going to be a connection. On a lighter note, I’m funny, loyal and persistent.
Music Bugle – Which song of yours would you call the hardest to write?
Lisa Danaë – I have one coming out towards the end of the year – may get pushed back to 2021 – that was not only emotionally difficult to write, but my co-writer, a girl named jaen and I spent a lot of writing sessions on it, specially on the lyrics. My music is pretty specific to my personal experiences, but I always try to find ways in writing to make it more universal as I know a lot of people can relate to the overall lyrical theme. This particular song is about grieving. I lost two grandparents last year, pretty much back-to-back, so we spent a lot of time rewriting the pre-chorus, chorus and bridge, I believe, as the verses are very much sp specific to the events that happened to paint the visual, but we know that a lot of people can relate to grieving and dealing with loss, so we just wanted to make sure that those sections were more relatable.
Music Bugle – Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?
Lisa Danaë – Definitely continuing to release more music, whether it’s through collaboration or my own, performing whether that;’s through live-streaming or if we’re allowed to do in-person live shows and continuing to represent and bring awareness to the talent that the Filipino-American community has to offer!