Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-03-03



Daya doesn't let us down
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

This article shared 2210 times since Wed Jun 15, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

At the age of 17 years old, Grace Tandon has transformed into breakout star Daya and is fulfilling her wildest dreams performing on stages around the world. She left Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, behind after her song "Hide Away" flew to the top of the charts, with the writing aid of Paramount Recording Studios.

It was only last year that her self-titled EP Daya debuted and Rolling Stone magazine picked her as "an artist to watch." Her next single, "Sit Still, Look Pretty," has also done well and her Chainsmokers collaboration "Don't Let Me Down" is currently a huge commercial success, both domestically and internationally.

It is easy to see why Daya is making headlines after hearing her perform live at the Pride festival in Los Angeles. Windy City Times talked to her backstage after her show.

Windy City Times: Hi, Daya. Have you been to Chicago much in the past?

Daya: I was only there for the first time at Lollapalooza last year. It was absolutely insane and I loved it.

WCT: You went as a spectator?

Daya: Yes, I went to watch. Hopefully, I will sing there sometime soon. I haven't explored the city much. Usually, I am in a city for just 24 hours.

WCT: You are at Pride Fest this year; what is your LGBT connection?

Daya: I have so many friends and family in the LGBTQ community. Playing there means so much to me because I get to the support them. I really believe that people should love who they want to love.

WCT: Did you always want to be a singer?

Daya: I did. I always dreamed of it. I remember going to concerts when I was younger such as Coldplay that my dad took me to. I was belting along to the songs and knew I wanted to do the same thing at some point in my life.

WCT: You have a unique voice. When did you realize you can sing?

Daya: I started taking lessons when I was 10 years old. I did music lessons a long time before that and I learned music theory. After that I took musical theater then switched to more pop. I was influenced by artists like Amy Winehouse and Adele.

WCT: Do you play musical instruments?

Daya: I studied classical piano for eight years. I then studied jazz piano, guitar, and the ukulele.

WCT: Ukulele? How Hawaiian of you…

Daya: Well, you only need to play five chords and you are all set for that one! [laughs]

WCT: Did you ever have regular jobs?

Daya: Honestly, I did babysitting jobs and that was it. I never have had a "job" job. People tell me I have it easy. I am 17, so I would have started to look for jobs last year and now I have this.

WCT: Where did the name Daya come from?

Daya: The name is actually a translation of my real name, Grace, in Hindi. I was just looking at translations one day and saw it as a way to make it fun and different for me. I came across it and fell in love with it. My grandpa is originally from India.

WCT: When the song "Hide Away" blew up on the radio, how did your life change?

Daya: Every part of it changed. Nothing was the same after that. I was doing shows and on the road promoting it. It took me overseas part of the time. I didn't see my friends everyday like I used to in high school. I had to take classes online. I just graduated last week. It was a struggle but I stuck with it.

WCT: That must have been a challenge.

Daya: Oh yeah. I was living the best of both worlds. I was doing school at the same time as doing shows. It was lots of craziness.

WCT: Are you having fun making this new music?

Daya: Yes, honestly, I can't wait for it to come out. It is electronic and pop. Pieces of me are in that music. I am really excited for the world to hear it.

WCT: You just played a song about letting someone go. Where did that song come from?

Daya: That song is called "Back to Me." It is about letting someone go that has done more harm to you than good. In the moment you are emotional. You want to keep them in your life because they have been there for so long but you realize to make yourself better you have to let them go.

WCT: Sounds personal. It is hard to perform slower tempo songs in these large settings?

Daya: It definitely was for this audience. I don't know if you noticed, but I switched up the tempo. I didn't do it too drastic so people wouldn't notice, but I knew this crowd needed something faster. It is a really important song for me so I like to include it in all of my sets.

WCT: What are your thoughts on [the shooting in] Orlando that just happened?

Daya: I woke up and thought, "What is this world coming to?" My heart goes out to all of the LGBTQ community, all the people involved, from the victims to the families and friends. It was really saddening and depressing. I didn't even want to perform today because I was so overwhelmed by the hatred in this country and world, but then I realized love is greater than that. We can stay together and love one another, especially at Pride where it is a celebration of love and life.

WCT: I'm glad you didn't back out.

Daya: I would never back out but I was apprehensive. I wasn't nervous about safety but there was so much going on.

WCT: Where does your style come from?

Daya: I just met my hair stylist today. We wanted to do something super funky and different. I have never done two buns on top of my head before so it was fun to try out. It is really cool and love it.

WCT: You have the gay glitter.

Daya: I was shedding it all over during my performance.

WCT: It will be all over your suitcase. Is there anyone you want to collaborate with?

Daya: I would love to collaborate with Ed Sheeran at some point. He is so talented as an artist; that would be a cool one.

WCT: It is easy to meet people at these events to work with.

Daya: I meet a ton of people that I connect with and make friends on the road. I miss my friend from home, so when I see people who are in the same position and are on their way up, they are performing every day and we have that in common.

WCT: You have the chops from what the crowd heard today.

Daya: Thank you. I just don't want to be repetitive and the same as someone else. I want to be different and known for my work. My new album will out by the end of the year.

WCT: Plans for a tour after that?

Daya: Yes, will do a headline tour after it drops, but until then I am doing one-off shows. Obviously, LA Pride, Chicago, and Nashville. I am doing a ton of Pride shows, then some radio shows. I am working the whole summer but it is fun for me!

See Daya perform at Pride Fest on the South Stage, Sunday, June 19 at 4 p.m, with info at

For more on Daya visit .

This article shared 2210 times since Wed Jun 15, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Music Box to run Pedro Almodovar films starting March 12 2021-03-04
- On Friday, March 12, Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., and Sony Pictures Classics will present Pedro Almodovar's critically acclaimed English-language debut, the short film The Human Voice, starring Tilda Swinton and freely based on ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Leslie Jordan, Zendaya, 'Handmaid's Tale,' Hulu, Chaka Khan 2021-02-28
- Emmy winner and viral sensation Leslie Jordan announced his debut album. Company's Comin', will drop April 2 via Platoon, a press release noted. Inspired by his weekly "Sunday Mornin' Hymn Singin'" live stream, the album has ...

Gay News

Chicago Gay Men's Chorus' 'Diva Dracula' in March 2021-02-24
- Chicago Gay Men's Chorus (CGMC) will present a virtual production of "Lipstick & Lyrics: Diva Dracula," on March 6, 12 and 13 at 8 p.m. CT. Featuring 15 drag performers, Diva Dracula embarks on a journey ...

Gay News

Chicago soccer team holding anthem contest 2021-02-22
- The Chicago-based soccer club Edgewater Castle FC (ECFC) is holding a competition for Chicago musicians, artists and composers to write its new club anthem. According to a press release, "The anthem will be sung by players ...

Gay News

Showbiz: Black gay director, Oscars, soccer couple, Demi Lovato 2021-02-21
- Paris Barclay, the Emmy-winning TV director and former president of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), will receive the guild's Honorary Life Member Award at the 73rd Annual DGA Awards on April 10, TheWrap reported. Barclay ...

Gay News

Queer musician Ari Gold dies at 47 2021-02-14
- New York City-based dance artist Ari Gold has died at age 47 after a long battle with cancer, according to Gold—who was also known as Sir Ari and GoldNation— released seven albums as a part ...

Gay News

Where Did We Sit on the Bus? online streaming production starts Feb. 22 2021-02-04
--From a press release - Chicago, IL— Victory Gardens Theater and Geva Theatre Center announce the online streaming production of Brian Quijada's music-infused production of Where Did We Sit on the Bus?, written and performed by Brian Quijada and directed by ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Tunde Johnson,' John Waters, Jane Lynch, Billie Eilish 2021-01-31
- Wolfe Releasing has slated the film The Obituary of Tunde Johnson for a theatrical and digital release on Feb. 26, a press release noted. The film—written by Stanley Kalu; directed by Ali LeRoi; and starring Steven ...

Gay News

Ravinia Women's Board unveils winner of poster competition 2021-01-28
- The Ravinia Women's Board unveiled the winner of its annual Ravinia season poster competition. Minneapolis graphic designer Sean Quinn, 28, is the recipient of the competition's top prize for a second time; his entry in the ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Batwoman,' Village People, Neil Patrick Harris, Mariah Carey 2021-01-24
- SPOILER ALERT: Season two of Batwoman (featuring the lesbian superheroine) began by introducing Ryan Wilder, the new lead character on The CW show played by Javicia Leslie—and explained how first-season ...

Gay News

'Mombian Database' released 2021-01-13
- Mombian columnist Dana Rudolph has released the Mombian Database of LGBTQ Family Books, Media, and More, with more than 500 books, music albums, movies, games and toys for and about LGBTQ families. The site offers multiple ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Tales' star dies, 'Wonder Woman 1984,' holiday songs, 'Drag Race' 2021-01-05
- Marcus D'Amico—the original Michael "Mouse" Tolliver from the miniseries Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City—died at age 55, Queerty noted. In 1992, he also originated the role of Louis in the National Theatre's London run of ...

Gay News

Hell in a Handbag announces annual benefit, "The Morning After" 2020-12-23
- CHICAGO (Dec. 17, 2020) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to announce its annual benefit "The Morning After," featuring the streaming world premiere of the smash hit musical that started it all for them, ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Drag Race,' year-end honors, 'Guardians,' Taylor Swift 2020-12-21
- VH1 unveiled a game-changing twist from the upcoming season of the Emmy-winning RuPaul's Drag Race, premiering Friday, Jan. 1, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, a press release noted. For the first time in Drag Race "herstory," queens ...

Gay News

Windy City Gay Chorus, Windy City Treble Quire present Let There Be Light 2020-12-15
--From a press release - Chicago, Ill. — Windy City Performing Arts (WCPA), the not-for-profit parent organization of Windy City Gay Chorus and Windy City Treble Quire, is proud to announce its 41st annual holiday concert, Let there be Light: A ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.