Having been singing since she was five, it’s perhaps no surprise to find Dakota now making waves in the music world. As a contestant on the most recent season of American Idol, she reached a huge audience and earned herself an army of fans, while her debut single “No-One” quickly racked up thousands upon thousands of streams on Spotify. Her new single “Addicted” is out later this month and ahead of its release, Dakota spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about her favourite memory from her time on AI, the artists she’s most inspired by and her message for those who support her.
TITL: Let’s go back to the beginning. When did you first realise you had an interest in/passion for music?
Dakota: I have always loved music since I was little. My parents were constantly playing songs in the car and I always sang along. I gravitated towards music because it was something that brought people together and I was able to connect to it at a very young age.
TITL: Which one artist growing up made you think “I want to follow in their footsteps?”
D: Stevie Wonder.
TITL: You’re also a multi-instrumentalist. Of the six you play, do you have a favourite or do they each hold something special to and for you?
D: They are all very important to me but at the moment, my current favorite is keys.
TITL: What would you say is your unique selling point as an artist? What one thing makes you stand out from your many artistic counterparts?
D: I am a DIY artist. I have never had anyone just hand me opportunities. I always have to work hard for everything I do because I want to be a successful artist. Because of my drive and work ethic I stand out as an artist. I also write my own music which is something that a lot of others don’t. I am 100% a part of every aspect of my career and leading my path through hard work and dedication to my craft.
TITL: Which bands and artists have most influenced you over the course of your career and how do those influences impact the music you make?
D: Some artists that have impacted my music are Jessie J, Bruno Mars, Demi Lovato, Stevie Wonder, and Teena Marie. All of these artists have soul and messages that includes everyone. Their uplifting spirit in their music inspires me to be better and to inspire others to be better.
TITL: You reached a huge audience and have earned yourself an army of fans thanks to your appearances on American Idol. Looking back, did you ever think the show would give you the platform that it has and that so many people would get behind and support you like they did and continue to do?
D: I would just say that I am so, so, so, so, so grateful for all the support and love I recurved from everyone who had been following my journey. I never thought that I would gain so much encouragement this quickly.
TITL: What was it that made you put yourself forward and audition for the show?
D: I didn’t initially want to audition for the show because of some of the horror stories I’ve heard, but I don’t turn down opportunities. So, when Idol approached me to audition for the show I figured that I would only gain experience for myself as a musician and as a person
TITL: Any particularly memorable moments or highlights from your time on the show?
D: I absolutely loved singing at the Disney Aulani. It was so cool to sing on the beach in front of such a dynamic crowd. The love I got when I was singing was incredible and I will never forget that day.
TITL: A lot of music shows, such as American Idol, sometimes can and do get a bad reputation if those who feature on the shows and in particular make the semi-finals and such other milestones in the show, don’t go on to do that well. Do you think that’s fair, or are such shows unfairly criticised given that those who make it through the show are, in the case of AI, voted for by the public?
D: I believe that everyone on these shows whether they are featured or not has the opportunity to continue their music career regardless of what the show does for them. Their music doesn’t end when their season ends so I believe that it’s the artist’s responsibility to continue that momentum to grow their audience and put out more music for their fans.
TITL: Is there a story behind your new single “Addicted?”
D: My new single “Addicted” was written about how love can be so strong that it feels like you’re addicted to that person. This love is so powerful that it takes over your life in that you can never get that person out of your head and you can’t hide it.
TITL: Who or what most inspires your creativity when it comes to song-writing? Which song might you say is the greatest ever written and why?
D: My songs are written out of personal experience or from stories people have told me. One of the best songs ever written is “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King.
TITL: If you could put together your dream show with four bands or artists, living or dead, who would you choose and where would you play?
D: Queen, Stevie Wonder, Amy Winehouse and Teena Marie at Madison Square Garden.
TITL: Do you have any performances/tour dates lined up? Where can music fans next check you out?
D: I don’t have any shows to announce yet, but my music is on all platforms such as Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, etc. I have a new release coming out on September 27. I’m super excited!!! Please download and stream my song “Addicted.”
TITL: What are your thoughts on social media and is being part of the technology-obsessed society we all seem to be a part of something you like/enjoy or something you prefer to stay away from?
D: I definitely am caught up in social media as it is a huge part of the music industry but I do think it should be used in moderation. As younger generations rely on their phones to communicate and interact with people, they’re not going to develop in the way older generations have. I just think it – social media and phones – should be used in small dosages.
TITL: Are you working on an EP or an album?
D: I am always writing and recording music so I will continue to do so, but I am not sure whether that will turn into a full piece album or EP just yet.
TITL: Finally then, as a fairly new artist in what is a very competitive and cutthroat industry, what are your long-term aspirations? Whose career success and longevity would you most like to emulate and ultimately, what message do you want your music to leave on the world?
D: I want to be a successful touring artist making a career doing something I love which is performing. I have so much respect for Taylor Swift’s work ethic and career choices as she has changed her sound so many times to fit her life but she has always stayed true to herself and to her fans. I admire and aspire to be like her. One thing I would tell my fans to always do is to be yourself. Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t because you can.