Interview: How Danielle Durack Is Redefining Utopia Ahead of Her Upcoming Album ‘No Place’

Phoenix-based artist, self-made musician, and singer-songwriter Danielle Durack shares the introspective inspiration behind her latest single “Eggshells,” just ahead of her upcoming album, ‘No Place’.
Watch: “Eggshells” – Danielle Durack




''Heartbreak is universal,” says Danielle Durack over the phone from her home in Phoenix, Arizona. The self-made musician and singer-songwriter is on the verge of releasing her third upcoming record, No Place, spending time in quarantine reflecting on her creativity, and preparing for the entirety of her heartbreak journal to be revealed to the world.

Eggshells – Danielle Durack

Today, the artist released her latest single, “Eggshells,”  an acoustic song about the complicated push and pull of a relationship hanging on by a thread.

I am tired of fighting,
of holding what’s inside me
“It’s alright’s” and “I’m so sorry’s.”
The cycle’s never ending,
a
nd I can’t fight the feeling
that we are slowly sinking,
that our worlds are growing distant.
It’s getting hard for me to live in.

As the follow up to “Broken Wings,” her first single released earlier this year, “Eggshells” gives another glimpse inside the mind of a music lover who taught herself how to play her own instruments, a writer who’s pen writes circles around acoustic layers of sound that echo sincerity in all directions, and an artist who’s unafraid to let her music be the crying shoulder every shattered soul can lean their head on.

Inspired by the likes of Joni Mitchell, Sara Bareilles, The Beatles, Andy Shauf, and boygenius, Durack’s heartfelt and melancholy flair seeps into her sound from under the umbrella of self-reflection. Acoustic guitars create the wistful backdrop for the artist’s golden, alluring voice as she explores the heartache of watching a relationship fall apart. Durack is a songwriter who isn’t afraid to shine light on grief, loss, or wishful thinking. “Eggshells” greets its listeners with the artist’s aptitude for melody and harmony, and is only just one of the songs that help to tell the next intriguing chapter of her life story. From echoes of quite, bedroom intimacy to the fearlessness of acoustic ballads, the sound she’s creating is one capable of resonating off the walls of a sold-out theater and also in the hearts and minds of those listening.

Durack opened up to Atwood Magazine to talk about her musical influences, how she interprets the aftermath of her relationships, and the inspiration behind her upcoming record, No Place.

Danielle Durack © Eunice Beck 2020



:: A CONVERSATION WITH DANIELLE DURACK ::

Atwood Magazine: Danielle, we are so excited for your upcoming album. Has quarantine allowed you to develop this record this year, or was it something you were working on before? I know a lot of artists are spending time making new music from home so I was just curious to know if lockdown has been a creative time for you?

Danielle Durack: I started writing these songs around two years ago, and then the recording process actually started at the end of 2019 so all of the songs were pretty much done when COVID hit. I’ve just been trying to make the most of my downtown, but it actually hasn’t been a great for inspiration thus far.

That's okay. That's totally fine, we can go off of that. When you're in search of inspiration, where, what, or who do you turn to?

DD: I’ll start watching sad movies. I feel like there’s something about sadness that just forces reflection more than other things do so I’ll start watching sad movies or reading sad books, and I think the questioning and trying to reflect helps you to come to these poetic conclusions about life and love and all the jazz.

We are so grateful that you're still releasing music. I don't know what music fans would do if artists had just complete stopped making things.

DD: Seriously, yeah. I know for myself that some of the albums that have come out in the last nine months have been lifesaving.

What were some of those albums that you were holding on to this year?

DD: When Phoebe Bridgers put out her newest record that definitely felt like a soundtrack for what was going on. A really good friend of mine out here in Phoenix, Sydney Sprague, is putting out music and her album also feels strangely like a soundtrack to the apocolypse. Then just a few comfort-food type albums of mine, like Little Voice by Sara Bareilles is always a feel-good one, and I’ve got a feel-good playlist which is what kind of gets me through everything.

You've loved music since you were very young. What were some artists that you loved growing up? Do you take their influence when you make music today?

DD: I’d say in high school is when I really started developing more of my own taste because some of my favorites from when I was young are just completely embarrassing like Britney Spears was everything to me. I loved Hilary Duff and Christina Aguilera. I grew up on bubblegum pop, and then once I got into high school, I delved into the singer-songwriter world. So like, Sara Bareilles is honestly one of my all-time favorites. I love Ingrid Michaelson and John Mayer, and I feel like a lot of music has kind of come out of that music, like down further in the lineage, Phoebe Bridgers and artists like her are a manifestation of the things I listened to earlier on.

You seem to be a very introspective writer. On 'Broken Wings,' you sort of blame yourself for falling for partners who aren't always the best kind of people. What prompted you into writing a song from the perspective of blaming yourself, rather than, say, an angry song against the person who hurt you?

DD: That’s so interesting! I’ve never thought about it like that, but I think maybe it’s partly the way that I was raised. Maybe it’s just like taking responsibility for too much.

Wow, that's a really mature way to look at it.

DD: I mean, yeah. That’s what I tell myself, but I feel like it does get kind of self-destructive at a point because you’re holding yourself accountable for things you don’t actually have any control over, so that’s a really interesting question. I guess for every person, there’s two parts to that. Every breakdown in a relationship, in any relationship, romantic or not, there’s always two sides of it, and I think everybody always plays their part regardless of who did what.  Also, I feel like you kind of attract what you are, and I think there was probably a part of me that was seeking that at the time.



Let's talk about your album. It's called No Place. Where is, or what is, 'no place' to you?

DD: The title of the album was inspired by this book called How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell, and there was a section in it on how people try to escape society and how they try to sail a certain way. There’s a line about how utopia’s direct translation is “no place,” and at first, I was like, “Wow, that breaks my heart.” It’s how it caught my attention, but I thought it was kind of indicative of relationships, whether its with one other person or a romantic relationship or with a family or a country … There isn’t this place that we will reach at some point where we’ll find peace. It’s more of a constant negotiation, and it’s not a place at all. It’s a concept. It’s a job.

You worked with Samuel Rosson to produce No Place. He's a friend of yours who you met just after high school. Did it help the creative process to be able to work with someone you have a close and trusting relationship with?

DD: Yeah, in some ways, absolutely. I was grieving my past relationship when I was making the record. There were times in the studio where I was straight up in tears, and he was definitely there to feel that, and I felt safe. It was like a good group of people in a good situation.

Danielle Durack © Eunice Beck 2020



'Eggshells' is your brand new single. It's also an amazing song. I am so happy it's released because it's one of my favorites off the album. Can you tell us the story behind that song?

DD: Thank you so much! I wrote that one at the beginning of 2019. I wasn’t fighting with my partner at that moment, but we had gone through like several break-up-get-back-together things, and I just had this moment where I was noticing some similar patterns. It really got me down, and I sat down with my guitar, and I was just finally able to say everything I wasn’t able to say conversationally to him. It was super cathartic, and I played it for him, and it started a conversation with him about everything. It was just about the struggle and trying to make [the relationship] work.

It's been a couple years since your first debut album, Bonnie Rose. Has your music or writing style changed since then? Just give me some thoughts on how you think you may have changed as an artist between Bonnie Rose, Bashful, and No Place?

DD: I think the biggest thing is that some of my influences have changed like music I like to listen to. It’s evolved a little bit, so I think that’s probably the biggest thing. I’ve also lived slightly more life so I hope that my insights are getting profound! Then, on the production value … I’ve worked with Sam on two records now and he’s just getting better every time I work with him. He’s amazing, and so I think as long as I keep writing and he’s still doing his thing. I think we’re heading in a forward direction.

You've taught yourself how to play instruments and you write music from the heart. You're an incredible self-made artist. What advice do you have for any person who's interested in music, who maybe isn't going to school for music, who doesn't have a zillion connections to the music industry, but maybe, they're just sitting at home with a guitar and a journal. What would you say to them?

DD: That’s such a touching question. I would say, “Just start.” You don’t have to have your route figured out. You just need to know what you need to do next. Keep your endgame in mind, but all you need to do is the next thing, and just keep going. Try not to get discouraged and keep doing it for you.

One more before you go. What do you hope people will take away from listening to your upcoming record?

DD: I hope that it comforts people who are going through a similar thing. I think that heartbreak is a pretty universal experience, and I think about all the albums that have got me through heartbreak and everybody needs something to scream when they’re at the bottom of the pit.

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Danielle Durack’s third album, No Placeis set for release on January 15, 2021. Keep up with Durack on all socials or on her website for news regarding her upcoming releases.

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Watch: “Eggshells” – Danielle Durack



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📸 © Eunice Beck 2020

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Erica Danielle Garcia is a writer from Los Angeles whose music journalism focuses on bringing diversity into entertainment spaces and helping artists share their stories. Her work also explores topics in culture, politics, and representation in music through intersectional, feminist, and environmental lenses. Connect at ericadanlle.com or on Instagram @ericadanlle.