Featured Artist: Daphne Willis
There is something to be said for music with a message but creating a track that is both inspirational and worthy of singing along to is no easy task. It takes skill and an excellent songwriting ability to keep this type of song from coming off as cheesy or forced. Daphne Willis’ newest single, “Somebody’s Someone” from her upcoming EP accomplishes what every singer/songwriter hopes for their work, a soulful sound and a message that everyone can relate to.
Although the 30-year-old artist has reached a high level of success through the music she has released over the last ten years, “Somebody’s Someone” is gaining serious traction and it’s not hard to understand why. Millennials 365 caught up with the Nashville based singer to talk about family, mental health and most importantly music.
Can you tell me a little about “Somebody’s Someone” and what influenced the song?
I have been affected by mental health issues throughout my life and I kinda view that as a spectrum that we all fluctuate with, all over throughout our lives. I’ve definitely had some really tough times and tough years and some phases of self medication, depression, anxiety and terrible insomnia. So, I wrote the song with a friend of mine named Jenn Bostic, we were just talking about the feeling of wanting to reach out to someone and that isolation that you feel when you’re in the middle of those issues. We wanted to write a song that was a reminder to everybody that you’re not alone. Even when you feel like you’re alone and you’re suffering, you’re not alone, there’s so many people out there who are feeling that same pain and there are people you can reach out to whether it’s your family or friends or support groups.
I’m curious, who did you grow up listening to? When you listen to your music you can hear influences from all over.
Yeah, I grew up listening to a lot of The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd [and] Michael Jackson. I also listened to a lot of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey; R&B stuff. Ella Fitzgerald is a favorite vocalist of mine.
You talked a little bit about your anxiety, a lot of artists have come out recently saying, “I can’t tour because it makes me too anxious.” Do you think your music has helped with your anxiety or actually triggered it in some ways?
My music has definitely helped me through so much in my life, writing songs is so therapeutic for me.
There’s a line in the song “I could spare a twenty if I knew you’d be using it to get just what your need.” I think a lot of people can relate to that. What is your advice for people who want to get involved but really don’t know where to start?
I think the best thing you can do is go to your local resources, almost every city will have some kind of homeless shelter or homeless program for people to volunteer. I think that the issue and that whole line for me, I want to give them money, you know? I want to give people on the streets money but it’s hard because a lot of them have substance abuse issues. I drive around with food bars in my car. You can do food bars, you can do blankets, shirts just things they would need. A lot of times these people need something to do, they’re bored, they don’t have money to pay for Netflix so I’ll go in and play music.
You talk candidly about your struggle with addiction and self-medication. What would you say to someone right now that is dealing with an addiction problem and are not really sure they can move forward?
The hard thing about addiction is that you stop when you’re ready. The other thing is that it’s a full time job and people don’t realize how much energy and time it really does take to take those necessary steps.
What are you hoping comes out of this song and this EP?
For me it’s already kind of happening, you know? What I wanted when I wrote this song [was] for this to be something like a tool. I think songs are valuable when they create a conversation. I just want the song to start a conversation.
You can see Daphne Willis play in August during her 15-day run from Tennessee to Colorado. Her next single “Dopamine” is scheduled to drop on Aug. 4th and she is planning to add more tour dates through the end of the year.