by: Jeff Hightower
Click here to visit Danica Mercer on myspace
Back to the nest...
Office Danica Mercer website
Sheâ€™s like a bell skipping across a clear lake. Being well ground and striving for quality, Danica realizes not every song is a master piece, but it keeps her in the search for what gives a songwriter their focus. Claiming that there is no method to the madness, she writes what she feels from her heart. Covering the spectrum of genres from folk and blues to jazz and rock, they all play a part in influencing her writing. One of the most important creeds she lives by is to â€œtake risksâ€�. Danica knows that music is infinite and is continually pushing to learn more and explore music to its fullest extents. And as for her fan base, she is quick to point out, â€œI wish I knew this much about everyone who cares to listen to my music.â€� This is what makes Danica a gleaming example that music isnâ€™t black and white, but different shades of life. HM - What got you into music in the first place? DM - I was blessed to grow up in an environment that valued music. My parents had me taking piano lessons and my schools had great music programs, so I was singing and playing from a very young age. That said, I have many teachers and mentors, not to mention my parents to thank for exposing me to this wonderful, crazy world of music. HM - Who were your main influences that help develop the artist you are today? DM - I'll say this: I love Patty Griffin's songwriting. If I could be half the writer she is, then I will consider myself a success. I look at her and think: "That is a genuine artist." I think Cat Steven's "Teaser and the Fire Cat" is timeless music to see the world with. I'm amazed at how U2 can take one sentence and turn it into a song that you just can't turn off. I believe Fiona Apple is inventive and fearless. Jam Band and Jazz music continue to challenge my musical brain and remind me to take risks. There is a special place in my heart for most scores and instrumental soundtracks, and I respect Ringo Starr for making "Goodnight Vienna" and knowing how to have fun. These being my influences, hopefully my music will progressively model all of these things over time. HM - What is your main goal in the music industry? DM - I want to make music that reaches people, both emotionally and tangibly. I would love to someday be able to use my music to make a difference in some way. Most importantly, at the end of the day, I want to feel as though I made good art that people enjoy. HM - What drives you to be the artist you are today? DM - This is constantly changing. I love singing and I look forward to a day when I hopefully won't have to work 5 jobs in order to really support my passion HM - What sets you apart from other artist in the industry today? DM - Well, according to some it's that I am tall and have red hair! But aside from that, so far I've written all my own stuff, I think that's something we've started seeing a little less of. I also went to college before I really dove into my career..the parents were happy about that one. HM - Of all the things you've done and seen, what is the most important lesson you take out of your experiences? DM - 2 things: "Expect the unexpected: Don't get comfortable." and "Be kind." I've found that things often change quickly and unexpectedly, for better or for worse, so it's important to expect change and be ready to roll with whatever life throws your way. Assume nothing! And then of course, kindness. That's an obvious one. Life's too short not to be kind. The kind, generous people may not always win, but I think in the end, they are the better for it... and I do believe that it goes a long way in this business. HM - What is more important to you, the notoriety and accolades or the pride and passion of music? DM - It may seem like the "Sunday School answer" but music itself and the actual creative process are what drives me. Granted, I do love performing and I am not one to complain when music pays the bills, or, when other people appreciate something that I have made, but I am a music lover at heart, so being able to get up everyday and do the the things that I love doing, nothing can beat that. HM - In your own words, define the perfect music/song to you. DM - The perfect song is one that makes a person feel something real and honest. Whether that's happiness, or pain or a feeling of "Wow, I have been there before." I think the perfect song is one that is relatable to people, and there are examples of this executed well across genre lines : jazz, pop, rock, country, classical... etc. Honestly, I find music to be as diverse as the people who make and enjoy it , and the songs we remember are the ones that are personal, but somewhat universal at the same time.... the ones that take the listener to a place of their own. HM - Who have you worked with, or are looking forward to working with the most over the course of your career? DM - I'm forever amazed at the number of talented individuals in this city, and at the same time I'm extremely grateful that I have been able to work with a few of them. My last EP, "Avelut" was done with Andrew Osenga over at Sputnik Studios. I got to bring in my own band (all of whom I love!) and we took a few days and a small budget and had some fun. As I am writing more and moving forward, I am excited about getting back in the studio and working with more of Nashville's finest. I'm also looking into scheduling more co-writing sessions. Lately I've found myself exploring who I am as a writer and I'm excited to work with some more experienced song-writers to gain some of their knowledge and to really stretch myself in that area.