Dana Marie // Feature Friday


Dana Marie

Album: SHE

Release date: April 28, 2017

Label: Unsigned

Album review: Hayley

Photos: Kayla Lee

Dana Marie is a singer / songwriter who has recently graduated from Nashville's Belmont university, a prestigious school offering multiple music based degrees. Mixing her own personal experiences with the broader feelings of discovering your true self and following your heart, rather than the expectations that have been set out for you, Dana's album, SHE, paints a picture that is familiar to many, yet with a more personal twist.

An impressive aspect of the overall sound present in SHE is the lack of musical immaturity that many artists are faced with in regards to early releases, both in musical skill as well as writing style. Each track is diverse and intriguing, rather than predictable. Dana's lyrics reach out to the listener with a gentle hand and show a new perspective that is first full of self doubt, followed by self discovery, and finally, self love.

SHE, a concept-album composed by Nashville based singer songwriter, Dana Marie, takes you through the struggles and feelings of being torn in two by expectations and what is truly being felt by oneself. Coming to realize that she was bisexual, Dana Marie knew she had to write this album. With soft and sweet guitars, emotional lyrics, and passionate rhythms, her album, SHE, will leave you feeling warm and full of hope.

The opening track, "State of Mind", leads the listener into a world where everything is uncertain but there’s more out there, you just don’t know where. Lyrics such as “I tried to see what everyone around me finds / I want the good the good, the bad, the lows, the highs” welcome doubt, yet with a glimmer of hope which can be heard in the following lyrics: “There’s got to be something more in this life.”

The second track, “Reeling”, deeper explores those feelings of uncertainty and questioning oneself, and reveals that Dana didn't know how to take on this change in life. Feeling that she had to go back to being "who she was before, she pushes her developing feelings aside.

Throughout the later tracks on SHE, the listener starts feeling ripped down the middle with impassioned sympathy (or empathy if you can personally relate to this album) but, there’s a glimmer of light shining at the end.

The last song title is something that could be relatable for a lot of LGBTQIAP+ people, “We’re Okay.” Everything resolves the way you’d hope it would. The end of this album feels like being wrapped in your favorite soft blanket, and holding hands with your significant other. 

We had the opportunity to chat with Dana recently and talked about inclusivity in the music scene, Nashville, and more! Read on to find out a bit more about Dana Marie.

(Album review written by Hayley)

Q: What concepts did you go through before deciding on the concept for "SHE", or did you initially know that that was it? 

A: Well I actually did a concept album as part of my senior thesis for Belmont, so I knew that I wanted to make a concept album since sophomore year. I had no idea how to write a concept album-- I've never done this before! I didn't have any other ideas before this one-- It's mostly autobiographical. I made this discovery about myself freshman year but it took about a year after that to fully realize it, and then it was clear to me and I was like "I have my concept" so it kind of worked out.

Q: What overall is your take away for listeners if they are struggling with the same thing that you went through in order to create the album? If there's just one thing that people take away from it or learn about themselves, what would you want that to be? 

A: I think it's important for people to know that it's okay to not know who you are yet. It's okay to be going through that period of discovery because a lot of times, you know, artists who are in the LBTQ+ community are loud and proud about it which is awesome but people who aren't at that stage yet-- it's kind of a lot of pressure. I want them to know that it's okay not to know.

Q: In a male dominated industry, have you encountered any difficulty so far where it's either someone not being confident in your ability as a musician or trying to take over your project? 

A: Yeah, I do think that the industry can be really sexist sometimes, which sucks, especially in the writing world, and in the artist world. I'm a songwriter first and foremost and I feel like a lot of writers just forget that there are women and will talk about "all the guys in town" and I'm like..."and girls". I feel like sometimes we're really invisible.

Q: What do you think that people can do in their local scene to make it more inclusive for people of all genders as well as Non Binary people? 

A: Stuff like this (BABEFEST**) is super awesome. It's hard. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. You might be the only woman in a writers round or a lineup at a show. Hopefully that will encourage others to do it, too.

Q: What were your expectations of Nashville before moving here, and were you surprised?

A: So before moving here, I really had no idea what to expect, since I had never been to the south before but I definitely thought that the focus was really only on country music. It was awesome discovering the underground indie scene that's all over the city!  Of course, I decided to stay in Nashville after graduating Belmont, and that was mostly because of the amazing and welcoming community here. Especially for songwriters, the community here is so collaborative, with a focus on co writing; whereas in NY and LA, it is definitely more cutthroat and competitive. I'm definitely here to stay!

**BABEFEST was a backyard festival put on by Babe Booking in Nashville, TN.