Danielle Di: Well growing up as a child you were taught to speak a certain way and act in a particular manner. My household was with mom and dad and they did teach me to be a strong and independent woman and sure enough as you grow older you don't always listen to your parents and you want to be defiant and deviant and all that but you do remain grounded...so of course the rebel in me came out and I think that is displayed in my music...you'll hear the boldness, the independence and you'll hear the strength in what I'll say and do and I'm not afraid to say certain things. So I definitely carry my childhood characteristic along the way with some of the principles. But as it relates to how I grew up, obviously my mother wouldn't approve of all my songs I do (laughs) however as I said before you can hear the boldness coming forth, which I learnt from my parents.
JAmusic: When you got into the music business where did you see yourself fitting in at the moment and where did you think you'd end up?
D: I wouldn't say I saw the Grammy's coming and all those accolades but I just wanted to be successful on my musical journey...but i did see myself becoming a musical ambassador for my country one day. Starting out I just wanted to go to the highest height that I possibly can with my career; just focusing on putting in the hard work and I have a home now that I'm working with, which is with the legends themselves Sly and Robbie, and having a home and having guidance especially as a woman, goes a long way. In most cases you bounce around first doing songs as they come along but of course you need direction and that's what I have with Sly and Robbie right now.
JAmusic: Doing a lot of work with the legendary Sly and Robbie, what's the greatest lessons you've learnt from them?
D: Well I've learnt patience and discipline and have gained a lot more confidence in myself and my songs; believe it or not. When you see someone of that calibre believing in your craft and you as a person and taking the time to mould your work to represent them just speaks volumes...there are more lessons, but just to name a few those for sure!
JAmusic: What's your single moment of personal failure and looking back on it now how has it made you stronger as an individual?
D: Well obviously we all make mistakes on a daily basis; no matter how small it may be. And I've learnt to dust it off and go again. I've learnt to apply more confidence to particular situations. And as Marcus Garvey once said "With confidence you have won even before you have started" and certainly failure makes you a stronger person and failure highlights what we don't want...so you just have to keep on going. So that's really my lesson being learnt...to dust off mistakes and move on.
JAmusic: When it comes to your visuals are you as hands-on as possible or do you just pitch an idea and have the director do their thing?
D: I try to be as hands-on as possible because I've learnt, unfortunately the hard way, that you can't leave everything up to any one person. I understand that you won't be able to get every going the way you want it to be all the time but I do try to have a shared vision with my team.
JAmusic: Are there specific songs that you hold dear to your heart or is every song treated like a child and you don't like to play favourites?
D: Well I have to play favourites with the more successful singles (laughs hysterically).
JAmusic: Do you know immediately when you've written or recorded something great or are you surprised by what critics and fans gravitate to?
D: Can I tell you that sometimes you might not like a song as an artiste and those are the ones that goes out there and create havoc...mean while there are other songs that you'd expect to be major and people don't really gravitate to it, then there are songs that you know from the get-go they will be a hit; based on the production and the lyrical content...so you can tell.
JAmusic: So you're on the verge of releasing the EP Danielle Di: The Rebel, what can persons expect from it?
D: Quality music that's showcasing what Danielle is all about. It's really a reintroduction to Danielle the artiste showing off my versatility and diversity. I know that after Rebel came out and created a storm, I kind of disappeared but I've really been putting in the work and we do hope it will be well received. It should be out within the first two weeks of February so everyone can be on the lookout for it.
JAmusic: Let's talk about the lead singles Pat it Up and My Man, could you describe both singles and the story behind them.
D: Okay Pat It Up is a female empowerment single and not a derogatory song that it may seem to be. You can pat up your chest, pat up your shoulders, pat up your head...wherever you want to pat up and just feel strong and be bold and confident and know that you're on top of the world. My Man is on a Sly and Robbie riddim called Triplets produced back in 1984 that was huge and I am the first person – thank God – to actually voice on it, and the song is about being involved in a relationship with a guy that is not necessarily the riches guy but he has potential and you can love this person without him having large quantities of money and you can respect him and have fun with him nonetheless. Two different songs, different genres but great nonetheless (laughs).
JAmusic: So for 2013 we'll be hearing a lot about the rebel or you're going to disappear on us again?
D: (laughs) No-no, 2013 will be seeing a lot of me and more projects to be released and keeping the flow of music and imagery consistent.