Dakota’s debut single, No One, proves that the versatile young musician is one to look out for following her run on the latest season of American Idol.
Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge caught up with star-in-waiting to chat about her upcoming music video for No One, having creative control, overcoming bullies, and much more.
Q: I hear we don’t have long to wait for the music video for your debut single, ‘No One’. How have you found the process of putting together the visuals to match this empowering song?
A: I had such an amazing time coming up with ideas and filming the video! The song is about empowerment and being confident to be happy on your own, so the video has a very uplifting vibe. It’s super fun and I can’t wait for you to see it!
Q: Can you give us a teaser of what we can expect from the music video?
A: You can expect to see a lot of pink and I think that’s all I can say right now, but it’ll be amazing. Can’t wait!
Q: I’ve loved music videos ever since I stayed up way past my bedtime (I was 6 or 7 at the time) to watch Robbie Williams’ ‘Rock DJ’ on MTV. What are some of your all-time favourite music videos?
A: I love Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation video. I remember my mom showing me the video when I was younger and I was mesmerised by her dancing and how synchronised her backup dancers were. They looked like one person. It was absolutely amazing. I will never forget my first time seeing that video.
Q: You are fresh off the whirlwind of appearing on American Idol’s latest season. How does it feel to be out of that bubble and to have the independence to explore your own voice as an artist?
A: It feels amazing because on a TV show, you don’t have complete creative control, which is perfectly fine for the circumstances, but it is nice to be my own boss again. I love being able to experiment and try new things without the pressure of whether I’m going to be eliminated for taking risks or not.
Q: I can’t begin to fathom what it must feel like to be part of a show like ‘American Idol’. Do you feel comfortable yet with all these celebrity settings/interactions or is that something you are still getting used to?
A: I still am in awe when I see people like Lionel Richie in person. Legends like him are rare and to get advice from him was incredible. I was always in shock when the judges were talking to me and was trying to soak in all of the information because I value their opinions so much. I am definitely not used to it at all.
Q: Learning more about you beyond ‘No One’, I’ve been blown away by your versatility as a musician (five-octave vocal range and the ability to play multiple instruments). I was even more excited to hear you are inspired by the sounds of Stax and Motown. Are you excited to bring out your versatility as a performer? What is your vision for your work?
A: I am so excited to bring back aspects of classic R&B into the current pop world. It’s something I’ve always been passionate about because I grew up with these classics through my parents.
Q: You recently got to perform at the iconic Troubadour – which was heavily featured in the new Elton John biopic, ‘Rocketman’. Where does that rank in the goosebump-worthy experiences you’ve had so far in your career?
A: I’ve performed at the Troubadour numerous times since I was 9 years old. I was taking it for granted but once I was able to grasp the importance of the venue, my whole perspective changed. I am so honoured to have also grown up on that stage alongside the greats like Elton John.
Q: Speaking of Elton, that film captures the tragic family life that shaped much of his career and life. What drives you as an artist?
A: I was bullied throughout all of my schooling and I learned that I will never let anyone tell me who to be. I have been pushed around by a lot of people and I’ve finally realised that I don’t need to listen to them. My family and friends support me and I wanna make them proud by being me.
Q: I’m very excited to hear the music you put out in the coming months and years. What are your ambitions? Any goals you want to throw out there?
A: I want to be able to make music for people to connect to and make a living doing that. I want to come out with an EP or an album eventually.
Listen to ‘No One‘