This time last year, Daya was still a relatively unknown quantity, a Pittsburgh high schooler with a debut single that had received some love within the pop blogosphere. Now, the 17-year-old is a bona fide hitmaker, with three Top 40 singles and a forthcoming debut album that promises more empowerment for young listeners.
“Nothing in my life now is the same as it was a year ago,” says Daya, who first spoke with Fuse last October, when debut single “Hide Away” was creeping up the lower half of the Hot 100. “I was a senior in high school, and I wasn’t thinking that far down the road about my career. But the change has been great, I’ve embraced it, and I’m super excited for what’s to come.”
“Hide Away,” which Daya used as a platform against settling for lame guys, became a national radio hit, but her first single as a lead artist was eclipsed by her ubiquitous collaboration with the Chainsmokers, “Don’t Let Me Down.” That contemplative electro-pop track has resided in the Top 10 for months; meanwhile, the follow-up to “Hide Away,” “Sit Still, Look Pretty,” has quietly reached No. 29 on the tally, and is still climbing.
Going 3-for-3 at radio is an enviable way to set up a debut LP, and Sit Still, Look Pretty will arrive on Oct. 7 in order to capitalize on a hugely successful summer. Daya says that the album, executive produced by Gino “Farrago” Barletta, will delight fans of her three big hits, and follow their blueprint of pairing identity-positive lyrics with slick refrains.
“‘Hide Away’ and ‘Sit Still, Look Pretty’ have catchy hooks and messages that carry through the rest of the album, because I wrote those about going after who you are and not being overly dependent on finding a boy or putting all your happiness into that,” Daya explains. “A lot of the album… it’s about finding yourself. And ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ is a preview of the album too, because it’s more in that electronic lane. I worked with a lot of different producers on this, and I played with a lot of different sounds.”
Daya specifically can’t wait for fans to hear “Words,” one of eight new songs on Sit Still, Look Pretty. “It’s such a catchy hook, and the production on it is incredible,” she says. “I also really love ‘Dare,’ which is about going after my ambitions and proving everyone wrong who told me I couldn’t do this. It’s a little sassy.”
Along with the hit singles, Daya has spent nearly all of 2016 on tour, with various festivals and support dates (she opened for Jack and Jack earlier this year) leaving her with little time to return home to the Pittsburgh area. In early 2017, she’ll head back out on her first headlining tour—and is looking forward to another jam-packed year.
“You have to be very go-with-the-flow, down-for-anything type of person,” Daya says of adjusting to life on the road. “You have to adjust your mindset to that, because otherwise, you’ll get so overwhelmed. Every time I look at my schedule, I literally have an anxiety attack! But if I just take it one day at a time, it’s not so bad.”
Listen to Daya's interview on the Pop Chat podcast below: