Christiana Danielle: Resignation
Words + Interview By: Tyrone Davis
Newcomer, Christiana Danielle is a singer and songwriter from Ft. Wayne, Indiana who completed NBC’s “The Voice (Season 14)” as a top 10 contestant on “Team Alicia (Keys)” earlier this year. I recently got the opportunity to speak with her during a Fall shopping party and special in-store performance at Macy’s in Castleton Square Mall in Indianapolis, IN. She has an amazing voice, bubbly personality and a promising career.
For starters, how did you grow up?
I grew up in church and started singing at around 4 years old in the choir, funerals and stuff like that. I was really outgoing as a little kid. As I got older, I realized my voice didn’t sound like a lot of other people’s and I became shy and went into my own little shell. I graduated high school in 2013 and then went to Huntington University to get my Bachelor’s in social work and I graduated in 2017.
Speaking of social work, why is treating mental health (especially within our community) important?
Black mental health is so important on a personal level and for the black community to take our mental health seriously. If our leg is hurting, we’re not ashamed to go to the doctor and say we’re having leg pain so if something in our mind isn’t going right, if our mental health isn’t right, we shouldn’t feel ashamed coming forth and telling somebody. There are a lot of things we internalize as black people. We go through a lot, you know. Racism is real! We go through a lot of stuff from society and it’s important for us to embrace our mental health and love ourselves through that avenue.
Once you started really getting into the music side of things, what landed you on NBC’s, “The Voice”?
When I graduated high school, I decided I was going to be more outgoing in singing and I ended up joining a worship team at Huntington University. That was the extent of what I did. I didn’t do any shows or anything outside of school. It was just sing worship at chapel and that was it. When I graduated college, I felt like I really needed to go for it. I had already made a profile for “The Voice” a year prior but I was too scared to submit a video but after graduating, I went to St. Louis for an open call and the rest is history.
How does someone who was as shy as she was perform on TV in front of millions of people?
Just straight up GOD! I was super shy. Even before I would go on stage on the show, I’d be freaking out, talking to my friends and just trying to pray and calm down. I really do feel like GOD has blessed me with a gift and when I look at it that way, me singing and that being utilized for other people’s healing or happiness, then I can totally zone in and go for it. So yea, all GOD, lol!
What was your favorite performance on the show?
My favorite performance was, “Ain’t No Sunshine”. That was a song that I really pushed for because a lot of the times, I was doing remixes of songs, which is cool but I really wanted to go back to my roots and that’s the kind of music that I love. I love soul. I love blues. I love jazz. Doing that on stage, scatting with the saxophone player on TV during the show, that hadn’t hap-pen on the show so I was so excited.
What was it like being on “Team Alicia (Keys)”? Is there anything you learned from her in particular that you will carry with you forever?
She never gave me specific advice on what to do to notes or anything. When we were together in sessions, she would always tell me, “Ok, let’s paint a story. What story do you want to tell and how are you going to tell it? How are you going to tell it in your body language? How are you going to tell it vocally and musically?” and the most important thing I took from her is to always follow my instincts. I second-guess myself A LOT. I would be nervous A LOT and she would always be like, “Calm down. You got this. Follow your instincts.” She’s super Zen. She’s super chill and that kind of rubbed off on me.
So, now you’re working on a single?
Yessssss! I’m working on my single and it’s a song that I actually wrote. I’m super excited. This and the music industry is new to me. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d be pursuing it full on like I am but I started writing when I got off the show. My single is actually a journal/spoken word piece that I wrote 2 years ago, not thinking it was going to be a song. I’m really excited. It’s called, “Resignation” and it’s talking about freedom and resigning from social norms, pressure and anything that tries to change you. We’re all created perfectly in GOD’s eyes. He was intentional when he made us.
Ok, random question: Your love-hate relationship with eggs?
OH, MY GOSH! So, sometimes I love eggs. I love breakfast food and then I don’t even know I’m going to hate them until after I take my first bite. I’m like, “Oh, my Gosh.” I just either throw up or gag so I really don’t know, lol!
Other than your single, what do you have coming up next?
I have a show October 19th in Ft. Wayne, Indiana! Get your tickets! It’s at the Clyde Theatre. You can go online and follow me on Instagram. I’ve posted the link. I’m preparing my first headlining show. It’s going to be so fun. I plan on performing a couple of originals, my single, “Resignation” for the first time and I plan on doing a mini Nina Simone tribute. She is my ultimate inspiration for everything. She’s amazing to me.
Photo By: Michael D. Johnson