Q&A with multinational artist, Daada

We caught up with Daada, a rising transnational talent whose diverse musical style reflecting her multicultural background blending Pop, Afropop, and Latin influences. Born in Germany to Colombian parents and raised in Tanzania, creates multilingual pop music in English, Spanish, Swahili, and German. Recently, she gained viral fame on TikTok and Instagram in Kenya, with over 500K views on two videos of her singing. Her music has been featured on Spotify and Boomplay playlists, and she’s been interviewed and aired on radio stations in Europe, Africa, and Latin America. Daada’s work has also received attention from various digital and print media outlets, earning her a nomination for the Amazon Music Germany Breakthrough & All Hands on Deck as Top-6 Newcomer. In 2024, she plans to release a second EP, crafted across Berlin, Bogota, and Nairobi.

Tell us about you, how long have you been producing music? What inspired you to start? 

I grew up in a German-Colombian family in Tanzania. I make music that combines all of that into my own brand of pop that’s sort of like a kaleidoscope of where I come from – I sing in different languages and the music I am releasing at the moment is very embedded in a mix of Afropop / Latin.  

My violin is what first inspired me to start writing songs. My parents put little five year old Daada in violin lessons and two years later I started playing melodies on it while singing lyrics that I made up. The game changer was the guitar though. My brother played guitar, and him being my idol, I always wanted to do what he did. So when I was maybe around 8 or 9 I took my grandma’s old guitar which hung on the wall in our living room as decoration, and started spending hours on end in my room learning the chords to songs I liked (back then it was the likes of Shakira, Avril Lavigne and Taylor Swift) and crafting my own. Then I began playing around with Garageband and also getting my first taste of recording studios here and there. It’s been a journey. 

The music industry is super competitive these days, was there a moment in your life that you wanted to give up on music?  How did you manage to stay focused and achieve what you want? 

I’ve never wanted to give up on music. I don’t think I ever could. But have there been difficult days? Yes. A few years ago, before I had really realised for myself what my vision was and found my sound, I had a couple of experiences with rejection and people not taking me seriously that hit quite hard. I think what got me through it and still gets me through rough days is first and foremost my family and the grounding, steadying effect that unconditional love from family or close friends has. But also realising that truly the most important thing is you believing in yourself and you being passionate about what you are doing. You, yourself are the one person who needs to be happy with what you’re doing, for it to be successful.  

How would you describe your creative processes? Who writes the lyrics to the songs? Are the music and lyrics written in conjunction, or separately? Where does the inspiration come from? 

I am a songwriter at heart. I grew up writing songs and have many notebooks and iPhone notes overflowing with lyrics and chords and (fragments of) songs. I first started writing music alone in my bedroom. These hours of fiddling around on my guitar and writing poetry to go with it are a very holy and powerful form of solitude. Songwriting can be something so intimate. I remember when I first started writing and was proud of a song I had written, I would go find my mum and play it for her and my heart would be pounding from how nerve wracking it was to expose my inner world – even just to my mum! My process has evolved in the sense that while I will forever love and go back to the process of sitting on my bed with my guitar and losing track of time in my little bubble of raw emotions and guitar picking, I have also started creating alongside others, either by writing and creating from scratch in a studio together or writing melodies and lyrics on a beat someone sends me.

Lyrics are really important to me and although I do co-write songs, I write all my lyrics myself. It’s the most intimate part of songwriting for me and also one of the funnest for me. I see a song like a puzzle. Each word is a puzzle piece that I know is waiting for me to find it. There’s nothing more satisfying for me than writing good lyrics.

Inspiration for me comes from processing things or emotions I’ve experienced in the past or am experiencing currently. I have a very vivid imagination, so sometimes that initial idea can even evolve into something that perhaps I haven’t necessarily experienced in the flesh. 

What’s your favourite track from the upcoming album and what other bands/artists are you listening to right now?  

I honestly can’t choose. I love each and every song so deeply for different reasons. Moonlight’, which just came out, is incredibly special because it was made with a good friend, Claudio, who really understood me and where I am from even though we made the song within a day of knowing each other. Lyrically it is about a difficult time I was going through mentally and emotionally and musically it truly represents me and the different places I am from – from the hints of Reggaeton, Cumbia and Afro-rhythms to the trilingual lyrics. 

This EP for me feels like banger upon banger. I’m not allowed to give too much away, but I will just say that the next single from the EP which will be out sooooon is also definitely a contender to be my favourite. It’s dedicated to all my supporters and fans and friends and family who are on this journey with me. For anyone who has been following my releases throughout the last few months, you will see it is really the most natural place to go musically. It’s super super summery, catchy and contagious and I think you will like it! I made it in Kenya!

Artists I’m listening a lot to at the moment include Karol G, Rauw Alejandro, Ayra Starr, Sauti Sol, Beatenberg, and a lot of classical music like Dvořák

What’s next for you?

Releasing this EP and everything that happens backstage surrounding that is really engulfing all of me at the moment. The EP will be fully out in summer and I am beyond excited. I am also playing a few festivals and shows this summer in Europe – stay tuned to my Instagram where I’ll be announcing these soon.