Just 11 months ago, Daya’s parents were pushing her to apply to college, just in-case this whole singing career didn’t pan out.
Fast forward to October 2016, just a few weeks shy of her 18th birthday, and suffice to say the artist will be deferring.
“I did apply last year,” Daya, nee Grace Tandon, told me last weekend after opening for Fergie inside Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena. “It was just kind of a back-up and my parents wanted me to, blah-blah-blah.”
Daya’s older sister attends Brown University in Rhode Island. And the “Hide Away” songstress doesn’t rule out an eventual return to the classroom, but at the moment that certainly isn’t necessary. In less than a year, the Pittsburgh-born singer has scored two top 10 hits at pop radio as a title artist.
But without question her biggest song to-date is the contribution she made to The Chainsmokers’ “Don’t Let Me Down,” a song that grabbed Daya her first ever American Music Award nomination for “Best Collaboration.” “Don’t Let Me Down” also ended up accumulating the most spins of any single this past summer at pop radio.
“That’s crazy! That’s just so wild!” a clearly excited Daya replied when I informed her of that fact. “I didn’t know that it would be that big. I mean, I knew that it was a great song and I was so happy to collaborate with them on it because they’re awesome but you never know with radio.”
Daya is certainly becoming more familiar with the airwaves though. Her latest hit is the title track from her debut album, “Sit Still, Look Pretty.”
“(The song) was always special to me,” she said. “It just kind of felt natural for me to name the album ‘Sit Still, Look Pretty,’ and I think that’s kind of what I want my brand to be as young female artist in this industry; don’t let people limit you in what you can do.”
After all, it’s not like Daya was born in Los Angeles or New York. She grew up in Pittsburgh and the man who executive produced her album, Gino Barletta, is from Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
“This is our baby together that we just created over this past year and a weight feels lifted off of all of our shoulders,” she noted. “We’ve all just helped each other out. We all work hard and are passionate and good things are happening.”
And if they keep that up, who knows what the next 11 months could have in store.