When Daya released the single "Hide Away" six months ago, she was still an ordinary Pittsburgh high schooler -- she had to balance her musical aspirations with homework and prom preparation. The day that "Hide Away" came out last April, her teachers played it in their classes and some of her friends would be blasting it on their phones in the hallways, and Daya figured that would be the extent of its popularity.
"I didn't know if it would ever be on the radio, if people across the country would ever hear it," Daya tells Fuse. "I just thought it was some little thing."
The whip-smart pop single about refusing to settle for inattentive dudes is no longer little: "Hide Away" is a Hot 100 hit, moving up to No. 85 in its fifth week on the chart, and has amassed 2.3 million YouTube views while slowly gaining national radio exposure. Daya has already performed the song on The TODAY Show, just released an official music video and is working to ensure that "Hide Away" becomes a proper smash.
"For me to go from a normal high school girl last spring to traveling the country, visiting radio stations, doing a bunch of shows with some of my favorite artists -- it's been surreal and exciting," she says. "I was at a radio show with Tori Kelly a couple weeks ago, and that was just amazing. I've been watching her on YouTube and listening to her songs for years."
Daya (pronounced DAY-uh) was a student at the Accelerando Music Conservatory near Pittsburgh when she co-wrote "Hide Away" last winter. The song's title refers to its central thesis: "Where do the good boys go to hide away?" The singer spends the majority of the pop track ruminating on the trappings of most young men who "like the girls who laugh at anything," and informing girls that they should be looking for a guy who's "fly as a mother." It's a masterful showcase of personality that makes time for multiple immediate hooks.
The singer says that the boys in her high school class were (fairly) accepting of "Hide Away's" themes: "They kind of played it cool and didn't really comment that much on the message of it," she says with a laugh. As the song began to take off, Daya says that "I have had a lot of guys message me and say, 'Thanks for finally recognizing us good guys!'"
Following its spring release, Sirius XM picked up on the track in June, and local radio started giving the record a shot soon after. The inclusive tone of "Hide Away" has resonated with females of all ages, according to the teen singer-songwriter.
"A lot of girls have reached out and told me how the song has impacted their lives in a positive way, and that they can totally relate," Daya notes. "This one mom came up to me after a show and said, 'This is great for my 12-year-old daughter before she enters her teenage years, and it's great for me, because I'm still trying to find that right person.' This is a song that's not just for a younger audience."
"Hide Away" highlighted Daya's self-titled debut EP, which was released via her ARTBEATZ label in August and will be available in Target stores across the country beginning today. The singer says that she'll spend the next few months focusing on interviews and performances, while also writing and recording for her debut album, which she hopes to release early next year.
Along with "Hide Away," one of her EP's standouts is "Thirsty," another clever track that touches upon guys who are generally trying too hard. Daya admits that there have been a few more thirsty people in her life now that she's a budding star, but that she tries to stay grounded.
"I'm still best friends with my group [of friends] back home, but there have been people from my high school who have come up to me, and you can just tell that they're trying to be friends with me now since all of this has happened," she says. "I'm like, 'Okay, whatever, we were never really friends. I'm good.'"