DaNica Shirey took a several year break from the music business after her father’s passing, but now the powerhouse singer has returned to her passion thanks to her successful run on The Voice. Whether it’s her Battle Rounds performance of “Halo” or taking on Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love For You” during the Knockouts, Shirey has performed with a ton of confidence and inspiration (not to mention talent).
During our interview, Shirey talked about her feelings going into the Live Playoffs (she’s being coached by Pharrell), elaborated on her love for R&B/soul music, and explained why Bob Marley’s uplifting “Three Little Birds” is high on her personal music rotation.
Why “Saving All My Love For You” during Knockouts? Tacking Whitney Houston is a mighty order!
I really have been highly influenced by Whitney. It’s been one of those kind of things for me. I was little when I had my very first karaoke machine. My dad got it for me when I was 8.
I ended up having some instrumental, mixed CDs and I first learned a Whitney Houston song when I was 10. I sang it at the Apollo Theatre when I was 15. So she’s always been a big part of my life and she is kind of one of those untouchables and people don’t like (singers) doing her (songs). So I guess that kind of makes me want to do it (laughs).
I don’t feel like I could have been the same singer without her. I wanted to represent a little where I come from, you know (laughs)?
With Live Playoffs upon us, how much work goes into the process?
Knowing that we’re going into Lives, I’m super nervous and I’ve never done live TV before so I’m a little scared. I’m really excited. It’s not just up to my coach to save me – this is up to America now. So it’s kind of scary. I don’t know what America is going to want, and I may not be that person that they want to hear. But I can’t wait – and I’m finally getting recognized!
I walked down the street with Luke Wade and there was a lady who walked up and said, “Hi, I think you’re great!” And Luke says, “She’s on The Voice too.” And she said “I’m sorry, I don’t know who you are (laughs).”
I’ve noticed now with Battles and Knockouts airing, more people have recognized who I am and are coming up and saying hi to me. It’s really cool.
Luke was talking about how soul and R&B was a great way for him to directly connect with the audience. Do you feel the same way.
Yes, absolutely. For some reason, there’s just something different when I sing R&B music and soul. I feel it so much more. Everything that I sing – I feel it in my heart and I feel the emotions of the song. If I’m having an emotional day or I just don’t want to think about stuff, that would be my go-to music. I totally get why he said that. So true – it’s very true.
Do you have go-to singers or music that keeps you grounded and inspired time and time again?
I listen to a lot of Bob Marley too. He always makes me feel better. It’s just kind of the feel good music for me. That song “Three Little Birds” is a huge go-to. One of my girlfriends passed away in a car accident when I was 19 and I listened to that song every single day over and over again. My (friend) ended up buying me a sweatshirt with Bob Marley on it with the lyrics to that song because I listen to it so much.
Is it hard balancing your family life along with The Voice’s hectic schedule?
It’s hard. I do have to be away from my daughter, my fiance and my family. But at the end of the day, I just try and go with the flow as everything’s happening. I try not to think ahead because I might freak myself out a little bit. If I thought about the fact I would be out here for how long without seeing her, I would stress out.
But the cool thing is they provide travel to bring out your family and friends for each round that you do. She’s been able to come out and see me for the shows (but) she missed Knockouts because she was starting pre-school. She’ll be coming out for Lives.
I don’t find it that hard. I’m a stay at home mom. I think if I had work on top of this that would probably be a lot harder. For me, I’m very luck in the sense that I stay at home with her and I’m pretty good with my time (management) and juggling the two.
How does it feel to return to music with The Voice?
This has been my breakout moment again, because for a while there I hadn’t (done music). This has only encouraged me to keep chasing my dream. I know, coming out here, that this is not going to be just it for me. I definitely see my career going further and it’s all thanks to this opportunity. Obviously it’s going to give me more opportunities but just the experience and everything I’ve been learning so far from Pharrell song-wise that I didn’t know I could do before. I want to be able to continue to share that even after the competition.
I know I’m not going to stop and I’m not going to give up and I’ll use everything I’ve learned and put it into songwriting and all that good stuff (laughs)!
Thanks again for your time and good luck with the Live Playoffs.
Thank you so much!