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Daya’s ‘Sit Still, Look Pretty': An Inspiring Debut From a Pop Star With Promise

Daya Sit Still Look Pretty Cover

I had the privilege of attending the listening party for rising star Daya’s debut album Sit Still, Look Pretty earlier this week, where we were treated to a first play of the LP — and trust me, it’ll cure your pop fix for a little while.

The truth is, I’ve known of Daya before any of this was even thought possible.

I remember driving around LA in April of 2015 with songwriter and friend Leland (Brett McLaughlin), listening to songs he’d written that week in the car as Daya’s voice sang through the speakers for the first time. I was immediately singing along to “Hide Away,” tipping the pop bop for success. Leland modestly said “we’ll see.”

Almost a year later, the same song hit No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100, and Team Daya was up and running.

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Her fantastic team, including manager Steve Zap and writer-producer Gino “Farrago” Barletta, helped to create her first EP, released last September, featuring songwriter Britten Newbill, Leland (Brett McLaughlin), producer Scott “Noisecastle III” Bruzenak and Mike Campbell. She performed on tour with Alessia Cara and Tori Kelly in September of last year, and featured on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

Fast forward just one year later, and I’m here at a listening party in LA.

Daya Performing Listening Party Sit Still Look Pretty
Dale Anthoni / Artbeatz

Daya kicked off the night with a live performance of her collaboration with The Chainsmokers, summer hit “Don’t Let Me Down,” and thanked everyone for their continued support throughout her journey. Later, she’d close out the night with performances of her hit singles “Hide Away” & “Sit Still, Look Pretty.”

As we listened to the record, I noticed a more grown-up sound — right from the first track, “Dare.” The 17-year-old singer sounded confident and mature, and the track sounds like it would feel right at home on Selena Gomez’s latest album, Revival.

The production on this album is fresh and clean, and the melodies are incredibly catchy — I was singing the whole ride home — featuring the talents of many songwriters and producers, including Jonas Jeberg and Lukas Loules.

The song “Love Of My Life” was a stand-out for me, featuring tropical island-inspired melodies with help from amazing co-writer, Chloe Angelides. “Cool”, which was released recently with the pre-order of the album, is a laid-back midtempo reminiscent of something on Alessia Cara’s album.

“I want to empower people to recognize their dreams, be able to chase them, and never be afraid of that,” Daya said of her album. That message comes through in her music, especially in “Talk” and title track “Sit Still, Look Pretty,” where Daya encourages the listener to be the best version of themselves.

The song “Words”, co-written by Melanie Fontana, got the crowd going with its upbeat pop vibe and catchy hooks.

And if you’re a fan of “Don’t Let Me Down,” be sure to check out the last song on the album: “We Are.” Daya’s voice really lends itself to this type of dance song well.

Daya Performing Listening Party Sit Still Look Pretty
Dale Anthoni / Artbeatz

The thing I loved most about the listening party was that Daya made sure she thanked every person who attended, and got to know them. She’s fun, extremely grateful and has a great sense of humor; we took silly photos together eating Pinkberry in the photobooth.

After the show, I chatted with her Mom, who was blown away by the album and her daughter’s journey. It’s inspiring to watch Daya go from a high school senior from Pittsburgh to a voice being heard all over the radio in less than two years. The moral of the story? Believe in yourself, go after your dreams, be thankful, and surround yourself with people who support you.

Daya’s debut album, Sit Still, Look Pretty, is out today (Oct. 7), and you can catch her on the Sit Still, Look Pretty Tour beginning in February 2017.

Daya Talks Us Through Her Debut Album:

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Next: Daya, Fifth Harmony to Perform at Jingle Ball Tour

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