Singer-Songwriter Daphne Willis has made a name for herself in the music world. The Chicago-born and raised singer now resides in Nashville. Her music influences include Elvis Costello and Michael Jackson. Her music style is refreshing and has a contemporary feeling to it.
She released her first EP back in 2007. Three years later, Willis released her first full-length album, entitled What To Say (2010), which was co-produced by Tim Lauer and Grammy award-winner Gary Paczosa. One year later, she released her second album, which reached #2 in the iTunes Top 40 Singer/Songwriter charts. Since then, Willis has released two new singles, made countless appearances on the main stage at LA Pride and Nashville Pride and is finishing up her acoustic EP, entitled Coming Together, which re-imagines five classic tracks from The Beatles.
We here at PopWrapped got to sit and chat with Daphne about life, advocacy, and her newest single "Somebody's Someone."
PopWrapped: What got you interested in becoming a singer?
Daphne Willis: Both of my parents were music majors. My mother was a vocal major and had me singing pretty much since I popped out. ;)
PW: Did you always want to pursue music?
DW: I didn't initially plan to pursue music as a profession. I went to DePaul University and got halfway through before dropping out to follow my heart. Music has always been my passion, and I always planned to write and be involved in music on some level, but it wasn't until I had a record deal from Vanguard Records sitting in my lap at age 20 that I thought I could actually make a career out of it. I've been very lucky to have the best of both worlds and pursue my dreams.
Daphne Willis 'Somebody's Someone'
PW: Talk to us more about your single, “Somebody’s Someone.” What was the inspiration for the single?
DW: I believe mental health is a spectrum. I have been all over that spectrum throughout the course of my life. I have been through periods of depression, I have insomnia (the worst) and I battle with anxiety and PTSD. I know how isolating all of it is. That loneliness is the most awful feeling when you're already feeling hopeless. I wrote the song with my buddy Jenn Bostic as a reminder to ourselves, and our family and friends that we are not alone in our suffering. We are all somebody's someone.
PW: What was the writing/recording process like?
DW: I live in Nashville where co-writers are standard practice. Jenn and I have been friends for a long time and have had similar life experiences. We feel very open with each other, and that always cultivates the best and most honest work. It comes from a place of love and that's the best place to be! I co-produced the song with Tyler Cain (another very talented friend). We wanted the song to have group vibes and energy, so I asked my friends Kyshona Armstrong and Devon Gilfillian to come show some love on the track. I think the collaborative efforts on this song have given it the warmth the message deserves and needs and couldn't be happier with how it came out.
Daphne Willis On Giving Back
PW: You have done various work with different organizations. How important is it to give back?
DW: Giving back is playing your part in your life's conversation with the universe, if that makes sense? It's vital to living a fulfilled life. Helping others is helping yourself, too. I think the best way to explain this is to use a quote: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel" - Maya Angelou.
PW: How much have these organizations impacted your life?
DW: These organizations and their champions have made a huge impact on me. I haven't always felt like I had anything to give or to say. I think it takes that encouragement and support to get someone to the place where they actually CAN help others. I certainly wouldn't be where I am without them, and I couldn't be more grateful.
PW: What guidance would you give to those who suffer/have suffered from various mental illness?
DW: Try new things and talk to people about it. Everyone is wired differently, so different things work for different people. Depending on your own situation, there is a solution out there, but it's up to you and only you to find it. Use your support systems, find your motivation and don't be afraid to try ... or to fail and try again.
PW: What do you hope people get from listening to your music?
DW: I hope people feel encouraged and inspired in anyway. That they feel less alone. I listen to music that is positive and empowering and so I try to make music that reflects that.
PW: Is there a favorite moment you’ve had in your career thus far?
DW: When I put "Somebody's Someone" out there, I had no idea how people were going to react. It was a very vulnerable and scary moment for me. When I realized that people really "got" the message and that this was going to be something positive and potentially useful for people, I was beside myself with joy.
PW: Do you have a favorite touring destination?
DW: I love touring! I don't have a favorite place ... too many amazing places lol.
PW: What is next for you?
DW: More shows and more released music. Also starting a social campaign for "Somebody's Someone" that will end in fan-inspired music videos and eventually a book!
PW: What would you like to say to your fans?
DW: Thank you for being so incredibly supportive.
After chatting with Daphne, I sat down and listened to her single "Somebody's Someone." Let me tell you, I was blown away by this song! The message is so powerful and is inspirational beyond words. The song is so moving, and Daphne's vocals are one of a kind and made for a song like this.
Thanks again to Daphne for taking the time to chat with us. You can catch her on all social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook. Make sure you check out her single "Somebody's Someone" where all music can be purchased.