Catch up with singer-songwriter Danielle Prou and watch the video for her new single, "The Healer", off her forthcoming EP.
What first got you interested in music and in songwriting?
Danielle Prou: I used to be an actress and I would do musical camps when I was a really little kid, maybe 6 or 7. At first I did plays and then I started to do musicals, so I had to get into singing - I was kind of forced because I didn't want to - but then that's how I got into thinking, 'oh, maybe I can actually sing,' and then it kind of took off from there.
Do you remember the very first song you ever wrote?
I used to have a best friend and she was my neighbor. When we were kids, we had big dreams of being pop stars like Hilary Duff or JoJo and those were the kind of people we were listening to together, so we started writing songs ourselves because, hey, maybe we could do it too! So we just wrote the worst, most disgusting songs you've ever heard. They were absolutely ridiculous but they did get me started in writing.
Which other musicians would you say you've been influenced by?
Well, on the other side - completely the other side - my dad was raising me on classic rock so I've always listened to that sort of stuff with him, and then I'd go to my friend's house and we'd listen to those very, [laughs] very Disney pop stars so I kind of had a taste of both worlds. And, obviously, the musicianship and inspiration to write meaningful songs came from the classic rock side - not that Hilary Duff or JoJo and people like that weren't meaningful - but I definitely took a lot more inspiration from classic rock, it's just that we started writing songs because of those pop idols.
Which two songs would be at the top of your playlist now?
This band called Catfish and the Bottlemen that I just recently found have this song called "Soundcheck" and I really love that song; they're kind of an alternative band and I've been getting into alternative lately, so that one for sure. And then [laughs] I really like K-Pop, which surprised me but I really do, and there's a song called "Save Me" by a group called BTS; I think it's pretty recent and I kind of like it.. No, I do really like it [laughs].
Could you describe your own sound and how your current sound compares to your previous sound?
I think I'm still trying to figure out my sound. I listen to so many different genres of music and I pull different things from each genre because I'm not trying to label myself as anything - people want me to but I have no idea. If I'm listening to country recently, maybe my songs will sound more country; if I'm listening to rock, maybe my songs will sound more rock: it really depends on what I'm into at the moment and then I'll pull things from that kind of music and then that's what my music will sound like. I think that's different from when I started out because, when I started out, I was still in the pop princess mode, so for my first performance, I bought a really pretty party dress and inappropriately tall heels and I just was so ready to be 'pop star' and now I've sort of come into my own style; now when I go onstage, I have to beg my manager to let me wear my dirty, ugly sneakers, and my jeans, and my big, ugly T-shirts, because that's what I like. That's definitely changed, my style, specifically, in myself and in the songs that I choose. I actually used to let my coach and my dad be the ones who were picking my songs, and now I have a lot more freedom in picking the songs I wanna play, so I play a lot more songs that I really like and I think they embody my personally, so it's definitely changed, a lot.
What were your inspirations behind your new single and the video for "The Healer"?
I've been touring quite a few times and, as an introvert, I'm kind of strange because I don't mind performing - in fact, I love performing - and so I don't have stage fright, but those off the stage interactions with fans and the audience and other artists had me having heart attacks constantly and I was just a nervous wreck all the time and I was no fun to be around. I was in a heavy mood because I was just never happy and the music was being, not ruined, but the peace of music was being disturbed by the fact that I was having all this anxiety and that song came from that, this idea of "The Healer". It came after the fact, 'cause I was feeling better and I thought, maybe I could - not capitalize on my suffering - but maybe some good will come out of that curious time where I just wasn't feeling great, so I wrote that song and it's just about someone who's really struggling and they're trying to find someone else who will understand, but the only person who will understand is someone who's also struggling, so that's what "The Healer" is about. The video, I feel, is almost a direct embodiment of what the song is about.
Could you tell us more about your upcoming EP?
Yeah, definitely! So, so far for the EP, it's going to be five songs and I have three songs recorded; I have "The Healer", which came out as a single before but it's also going to be on the album; I recorded a cover of "You Make My Dreams Come True" by Hall & Oates but it's very dark, very slow, and I really like it; and then, the last one that I have so far is another original called "Humerus", spelled like the arm bone instead of the other word - I thought it was kind of dumb to do that and I kind of love it. That one's about being shy and how a shy person navigates their love life, which is, basically, they don't navigate it at all because they tend to get obsessed with people - this isn't me personally speaking - but they tend to like people and then they can never express those feelings, so you just sort of sit back on the sidelines feeling a love that you'll never ever have because you won't say anything, so that's called "Humerus".
Is there a track from that EP you're most excited to share with your fans?
I played "Humerus" for a couple of my friends and, actually, they really, really like it. They complained about the melodies - because there's a certain part that has a catchy melody - and they had it stuck in their heads all day for a couple days. I think that one people will really like and hopefully really relate to and it's not as dark as "The Healer"; it's sort of sarcastic, but it's still fun, so I think that will be a different kind of mood but still relatable and I hope people like it.
How would you sum up this EP in one sentence?
I'm still figuring it out. [Laughs] That would be the sentence that describes it, because none of the sounds are the same because, like I said, I'm taking different influences from different genres so, right now, I'm listening to lots of alternative, so this next original that I have to write - 'cause I need to write two more - this could sound completely different from the other two and people might be surprised but, you know, I'm still figuring it out so I'm not sure. I haven't quite landed on one sound that I consistently like and would want to keep repeating [laughs] so I'm still kind of exploring.
What do you hope your listeners are able to take away from your music?
I hope they're able to take away who I am. I guess it might sound cliché, but all the music that I make, even the covers that I do, they have a personal meaning to me; I don't just put out songs that are inane or empty, I put out songs with feelings and I put out my personal experiences - "The Healer" is from when I was really depressed, "Humerus" is about, basically, [laughs] the bachelor years and being unable to express romantic feelings - and it's just all parts of me, different sides of me, but still me, nonetheless. So, I hope people can understand, oh, this is a person putting their life into songs and sharing them.