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You might recognize LA singer-songwriter Dana Williams from her spot in last year’s holiday Apple commercial (that probably made you cry) or for her beautiful duets with actress Leighton Meester, but the 26-year-old will probably be standing out best on her own, following the release of her new single “Fooling Myself” this week. Her talent pretty much speaks for itself: she made it to the final round of ABC’s talent competition Rising Star and got some incredible advice from Kesha along the way.
While it’s pretty easy to tell that Williams’ songs are about love and everything that comes along with relationships, sonically, her music crosses a wide-range of genres, ranging from pop and jazz, to soul and R&B. She’s even been described as a “modern-day Ella Fitzgerald.” Williams’ next EP Let’s Fall will come out before the end of 2015, but you can get a taste of the first track from it with first single, “Fooling Myself.” Before her EP drops, Williams filled us in on working with Leighton Meester, her love for Fleetwood Mac and her strategy for releasing music. Check out her latest single “Fooling Myself” below.
Finding her voice: I come from a musical family, so my main inspiration and motivation to make music was initially my father, but as I got older I discovered Ella Fitzgerald and have been immensely inspired by her voice. I never get tired of listening to her. I have also come to love Billie Holiday, Carole King and Nina Simone.
Collaborating with everyone’s favorite Gossip Girl: I met Leighton many years ago in middle school. She and my sister were close friends and kept in touch. After I graduated from college, I played her a few of my songs and she liked them so she asked me to open for her on tour. It’s nice to have a friend who appreciates what I do! After a while, we realized how much fun it was to sing duets together. I love singing duets, so from time to time we get together and harmonize.
Playing pretend: If I could be any one person for a day, it would probably Billie Holiday. I’d like to get all dressed up and sing the blues in a smokey club with a big band.
Her latest EP: This EP is about the mysterious nature of relationships that anyone might ponder. I have some love songs, some songs of longing and some songs about maybe getting to know someone a little bit better… There’s also an extraterrestrial song in there. As of now I do not have a full length album coming out. I have been writing a lot and like the idea of putting out EPs. I think at this point in the history of music, it is nice to put out smaller collections of music that can stand on their own. It is more efficient, and there is more room to more quickly evolve as an artist along with today’s society.
Loving your locks: Well to be honest, the most important thing I have learned about maintaining my hair is that having it trimmed regularly keeps it very healthy. I also started deep conditioning it with Shea Moisture once a week and started using gentle products like Alba Botanica.
Dream collaboration: One person who I would love to collaborate with, is actually someone who’s music is quite different from mine, is Fetty Wap. I really love his melodies, I have covered a couple of them already! But there are so many great artists out right now and it’s hard to narrow it to just one! I have recently been listening to Leon Bridges non stop. I’d love to sing a duet with him.
Fleetwood Mac fangirl: My favorite Fleetwood Mac song is still ‘Dreams’!
Style inspiration: Much like my musical inspiration, my style inspiration is very eclectic. I really love the elegance of Rita Hayworth, Ronnie Spector also Brigitte Bardot, Carly Simon, Bianca Jagger and Mazzy Star. In general I like to be comfy, so my go to outfit is probably a pair of jeans and a vintage tee shirt, or a long flowy dress and my leather jacket or jean jacket, depending on how chilly it is.