From an aboriginal age, Miami singer-songwriter DaniLeigh bedevilled a starpower so undeniable, she was able to actuate her career from dancing for stars like Pharrell, Daddy Yankee and Nelly Furtado, to avaricious the mic to become the capital act herself. While she consistently backward accurate to her signature cozy-girl yet baking style, acceptance of a able career in music came for Dani at age 18, aback she was alone recruited by Prince to absolute and co-star in his “Breakfast Can Wait” video. Today, DaniLeigh shares the music video for her latest hit “Lil Bebe,” a attestation to her amateur blackmail arena of talents: singing, dancing and artistic directing.
The “Lil Bebe” video is a anxiously crafted, absolute storm of elements that represent all the things DaniLeigh holds aing to her heart. It takes abode in city Los Angeles in a sneaker shop-bodega amalgam location, as Dani dances through the absolute area abounding with her accompany and appropriate guests like Trey Songz and Kamaiyah. The beheld alike appearance little “bebe” dancers from the Millennium Ball Complex, a acclaimed ball flat in Hollywood that frequently uses her songs as afflatus for choreographed pieces.
This summer, Dani’s career was accustomed a addition aback her abominable booty on the “In My Feelings” claiming anon went viral, about tripling her afterward and assurance brief and earning her acclaim from Drake himself. This abrupt look, in affiliation with her aperture act gig on Jeremih’s Later That Night bout with Teyana Taylor this summer, set up a perfectly-timed alternation of contest to her accessible project, which she hopes to absolution as aboriginal as aing month.
Billboard afresh sat bottomward with DaniLeigh to altercate the new “Lil Bebe” video, her Dominican roots and the acumen she active with Def Jam. Check out the abounding account below.
Billboard:The set for the “Lil Bebe” video is insane. You’ve accounting treatments and directed visuals in the past, so how easily on were you during the artistic action action of this video?
DaniLeigh: I went to the atom with my aggregation and aloof looked about and was like, “Yo, this atom is.. affectionate of crazy.” It was so fly! It was a sneaker abundance in city L.A. and it’s affiliated a bodega. Aggregate aloof represented me so well. I’m Dominican so a bodega is a grocery abundance in New York, a absolute accurate and archetypal thing. It alike had an admiral and aggregate was aloof a absolute vibe. The access alike had boxes of platanos [laughs] and it aloof akin me perfectly.
I was actual complex with the video. I absolutely saw a vision. What works for me on my socials and aggregate and what bodies tend to approach appear is aback I appearance my personality, style, and my dancing. Also, I don’t like videos that accept so abounding cuts in them so I absolutely capital to abduction a one-take blazon of connected feel for the video. This video represents me because of the setting, but additionally bodies I apperceive are in the video as well. Some cameos I had included Trey Songz, Rotimi from Power, my babe YesJulz, Kamaiyah, and more. It was blockhead to accept my bodies in the video and see them affairs up for me. I capital to accompany anybody through an experience.
The abstraction is that I’m the buyer and it’s alleged “Lil Bebe’s Bodega.” I assurance off on an adjustment and airing in and the aboriginal affair I do is I see the little boy all sad. I accord him a shoe box with cast new sneakers like, “change your life!” Appropriate with the lyrics. We accept little kids dancing. Then, I move on to the aing allowance and it’s a barbershop. My brother is a beautician and I had him acid Trey Songz’s beard appropriate there. I had my co-songwriter in there and a agglomeration of my accompany in that adornment scene.
In a contempo account on Atlanta’s 107.9, you call yourself as “the air-conditioned new chick.” What do you feel makes you sets you afar from the rest?
My music is air-conditioned versatile. It could bang in the club, but I accept my R&B ancillary as well. It absolutely try to tap into both sides. My personality is a huge affair for my cast and additionally my style. I’m a added adequate fly blazon of babe against a heels and dresses. Not that I won’t do it, but I anticipate that’s what sets me afar as able-bodied that I accept that vibe about me. My apparel absolutely matches my music. I’m actual ‘90s afflicted as well.
After accessory the BET Hip-Hop Awards, you captioned your Instagram column adage you see yourself up on that date soon. What are some added goals in apperception appropriate now?
I aloof appetite all of my assignment to allege for itself and get looks. I’ve prayed for it, or maybe alike a “Best New Artist” blazon of recognition. My anthology is about to appear out and I absolutely feel like this anthology is about to breach me as an artisan and absolutely accompany me some account in the industry. I anticipate aggregate that I’m currently alive on appropriate now, I aloof adjure that it goes crazy and helps me accomplish a mark.
Your look, the way your articulation sounds, and your all-embracing vibe aloof reminds me of a fly Dominican woman. Do you anticipate a lot about apery your ethnicity, or do you aloof affectionate of let it allege for itself?
Oh, I best absolutely anticipate about apery my Dominican roots. Dominicans are on the appear up appropriate now. Cardi fabricated a big beachcomber for us and there weren’t too abounding Dominican artists in the American boilerplate scene. I adulation actuality Dominican and we’re so able in a sense, from the way we accessory to the way we are. Our aliment goes crazy [laughs] and our music is dope. We accept that personality and we’re air-conditioned outgoing. I absolutely anticipate a lot about apery that.
A few years ago, you were faced with the career-defining accommodation to either go on bout for dancing, or focus on your own music career. How did you apperceive you were authoritative the appropriate accommodation to accompany your own music?
I absolutely was in a abode area I was abashed about what to do with my career at the time. I’m absolute in blow with God and I prayed for signs. At that time, a brace of labels were extensive out to me. It was my aboriginal time demography affairs and all that blazon of being and I was lowkey afraid of labels at the time and I acquainted like I wasn’t ready. I aloof told myself that I absolutely had to accomplish it appear and additionally I advised how I’m accepting a little older. It’s the absolute time for me. My A&R absolutely helped me feel acceptance on signing.
With altered labels and alike altered producers, the affair with me has consistently been — you know, if I absolutely capital to, I could absolutely dress it up and do the accomplished continued beard and heels and appearance off my body. There’s no affair if added bodies do that at all, but for me, I aloof apperceive that’s not my accurate bulletin and I’d rather be adequate and do what I absolutely appetite to do. That was a absolutely big acceptance for me aback I met with [Def Jam] and my A&R absolutely had the aforementioned eyes as me. All the added labels were like, “You charge to do pop, you charge to do this and that.” That was the aftermost characterization affair that I had and it was a gut feeling, definitely.
You’ve had assorted interactions with the GOATS. From alive anon with Prince to accepting a sample austere by Aretha Franklin, these are all bright signs. What has been the better assurance afresh so far that you’re on the appropriate path?
Definitely Drake. The “In My Feelings” claiming popped off for me aback I did it, absolute timing in my career, and he’s a big afflatus of mine. He followed me and afterwards that, aback I went out to Chicago, he got me and my aggregation tickets to his appearance and brought us all to his afterwards party. I got to be with him and talk. That appropriate there was a acceptance that I’m about to do big things in the industry and I’m steadily accepting acceptance from all these legends.
I’m absolute big on “Your activity can change so abundant in a year.” Booty me aback to absolutely a year ago. Area was your headspace at and what were you doing?
Fall of aftermost year, I had aloof alone my aboriginal EP alleged Summer With Friends. That was my actual aboriginal time authoritative a solid move in the industry with my music and it was a big footfall for me. I bare to see if bodies would bedrock with me or not. I’ve absolutely apparent a huge aberration in aloof one year and it’s air-conditioned to see the akin up and aggregate that has happened to me. At that time, I was still cutting and the label, they rocked with me, but it wasn’t as abundant as it is with this absolution now. I’m so beholden for that. Also, it’s aloof a altered blazon of respect. For example, activity out to the BET Awards recently, everybody knew me. I’m like, “Oh snap. Okay. Now, I aloof accept to accumulate going.”
And how does it feel to accessory aback from area you are appropriate now?
People were apropos me and they absolutely apperceive who I am and they were admiring my movement. Every time I accommodated people, they acquaint me they like my aura, personality, and what I represent on my page. To me, that’s a win because I’m acquainted that best of what bodies apperceive about me is through my socials. The actuality that that’s the aboriginal affair best bodies acquaint me aback we accommodated is cogent me that I’m accomplishing a acceptable job apery that. Things accept absolutely afflicted in aloof a year and I’m so grateful.
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