As a young teen, Daniella Watters sang in a girl pop group that she says did well for Canadian artists at the time, with a single that was in heavy rotation on the radio station KISS 92.5 and a video that was played by 36 TV stations across the country.
Watters was 13 in 2002 and a big fan of the Spice Girls when she and two other girls formed Untamed. The group once played for 10,000 screaming fans at Skydome (now Rogers Centre), and when they signed a sponsorship deal with Rock Hard Nails, the U.S. company created a nail polish colour called Untamed for its celebrity line.
After Untamed broke up, Watters went on to sing in a rock band called Daytime Theft that played around Toronto. She also embarked on the path of evolving musically, to a more sophisticated sound that she describes as a combination of rhythm and blues, soul and funk, with inflections of jazz.
Watters said growing up she’d always loved R&B singers Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton and Mariah Carey, and the group Destiny’s Child. But she was introduced to jazz after she was accepted into the jazz vocal program at York University.
“I thought jazz was for old people, that it was elevator music. I didn’t realize how intricate it was,” she said. The program “opened her eyes” to jazz, she added, “and enriched me with vocal techniques I didn’t know about and improved my vocal abilities.”
Watters won the Canadian Music Week’s Street Idol contest in 2012. As a result, her single, Missing My Love, was played by several radio stations, including Proud FM 103.9 and CBC Radio. In 2013, she was featured at one of Wingspan Music’s Mod Club events, where she won three months of services from an artists’ management company. Winspan showcases independent music, targeting the 19-to-35 demographic of artists and their fans. Watters is recording her first, mostly self-penned album, of songs and videos. In May, she released the album’s first single and video, No One Could Love Me Better. “The song is about a guy who seems to be Mr. Right,” she said. But the problem for the singer, she continued, is that the guy may be “fantastic and treats you amazingly, but you don’t have that spark.”
The video was made in various locations in Los Angeles, including Venice Beach, by a director who is a friend of Watters’ family. The director and Watters were on the phone one midnight and they decided to make the video the next day. They started work at 7 a.m., and it was filmed without permits. Although Watters covered some of the costs, she said it “would have been close to $100,000 if I had to pay for all the services I got free.”
The next single Watters plans to release is Never Will Die, a song that was inspired by her late grandmother. “My grandmother lived with me and I took care of her in a nursing home,” she said. “She visited me in my dreams. Even though she passed away, she’s still alive in my heart and memory.”
Watters said she’s challenging the concept of death in the song. “Even if your body is a shell, your soul can live on in many ways.”
Musically, Never Will Die is a combination of R&B, soul and pop, she added. “It has an emotional, soulful quality, an urban feel and a pop, catchy tune.”
Watters is crowd-funding her new album, and anyone who shares her video, No One Could Love Me Better, on social media gets a free mp3.
For more information about Watters and her upcoming performances, visit her website.