We sat down with emerging transnational talent Daada to chat about her most recent release, ‘Song for You’, music, and more. A German-Colombian artist raised in Tanzania, Daada creates multilingual music that transcends borders, blending Pop, Afropop, and Latin sounds while weaving stories in English, Spanish, Swahili, and German. Her name, “Daada” derived from Swahili for “sister” reflects her commitment to themes of sisterhood and womanhood. Recently gaining viral traction on TikTok and Instagram in Kenya, her music has earned editorial playlisting on Spotify and Boomplay, as well as airplay and interviews across Europe, Africa, and Latin America. Recognized by Amazon Music Germany Breakthrough & All Hands on Deck as a Top-6 Newcomer, Daada is set to release a second EP in 2024, created between Berlin, Bogota, and Nairobi, further showcasing her global influences.

Stream ‘Song for You’ while you read our interview with Daada below.

Did you have an ‘Aha!’ moment, where you realized that being a musician is what you wanted to do with your life? If so, what was it?

When I was very young I didn’t really ever doubt it – it was just something I knew I was going to do. At some point when I started writing proper songs at 9 or so I do remember quite clearly a deep feeling of joy that confirmed  it though.

Tell us a little bit about your personal and musical experience of growing up in Tanzania.

I grew up very rurally in a town not far from natural wonders like Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti. My family grew coffee so when I think of my childhood, a lot of memories of the farm, of climbing lots of trees and exploring the outdoors with my big brother come to mind. I am very grateful for it. I went to boarding school for a little bit and while incredibly homesick I wrote a song about home. It’s called ‘Amani’ and I stitched together a bunch of home videos to go with it on YouTube. That’s probably the most personal thing I have ever shared on the internet.

Tell us about the inspiration for your latest track, ‘Song for You’.

Being an independent artist can be a rollercoaster. There are a lot of emotional ups and downs you have to get through. I don’t know how I would still be on it without my family and friends and the sweetest of fans that I have the fortune to be accompanied by. There were a lot of cool things that happened in 2023, from performing on national television in Kenya and Tanzania, to playing my first festival in Germany. During each of these live moments especially, I felt a really big pang of gratefulness for the faces in the audience smiling back at me and rooting for me.  It’s this image of them looking up at me on stage, radiating love, that was in my head the entire time writing ‘Song for You’. That’s why ‘Song for You’ starts with that line.

Break down your creative process for us. Is it spontaneous, or do you have any rituals?

It is very spontaneous. Either me and my guitar or piano, or more recently a beat. In the latter case for instance, I only open and listen to the beat once I am in front of my laptop and with my mic, because I like to immediately record whatever pops in my head spontaneously when I hear it. That said, often I will have something I want to say and write about far in advance and will very intentionally create around that.

What has been the most defining moment of your musical career?

I think so far it has been producing my upcoming EP and touring in East Africa in 2023. I shared my music for the first time on stages, TV and radio at home; went viral on TikTok at home; met so many great people in such a short period of time; made this EP that makes me feel more at home in music than I have ever felt. The more I think about it the more I understand why I titled the EP ‘Home’!!

How do you engage with your audience when you are performing?

I love interacting with my audience. Weirdly I feel more at ease speaking to big audiences than to small ones. The intimacy of a Sofar Sounds for example, I find much scarier than playing a festival with a bigger audience. But either way, I love it and I love to give my audience a bit of the inside scoop on songs; things they wouldn’t otherwise know. It becomes our little secret.

Do you have any ‘comfort’ songs, albums or artists that you keep returning to and never get tired of listening to?

I love this question. I actually have a playlist called “timelessly delicious”! Some of my favourites on there are: ‘Ithaca’ by Beatenberg, ‘Canto a Colombia’ by Juan Luis Guerra, ‘Pata Pata’ by Miriam Makeba, ‘Magic’ by Coldplay.

Tell us about a recent adventure from your travels!

I recently traveled to Mallorca to shoot the video for ‘Song for You’! We found a breathtaking deserted beach in the North of the island and my brother and I shot the video and artwork there!

Do you have any non-musical hobbies? In another world where you aren’t a musician, what would you be?

I think in a parallel universe I might have become a researcher. I studied undergrad Economics and wrote my thesis on parliamentary gender quotas in Africa. Maybe parallel-universe-Daada is pursuing that. I also have always said that one day when I retire I will have a flower shop. 

What’s next for Daada? Any upcoming tours, releases or collaborations?

First and foremostly – I am dropping my EP June 21st! (You can pre-save it via my instagram bio linked below). The songs are in English, German, Spanish and Swahili and are a fusion of Afro / Latin sounds! Apart from this – lots of live! I have some Europe dates scheduled including Surfana Festival in September!

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