Danya River
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Danya River

Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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The best kept secret in music


""INTERVIEW: The Arts Sink Beneath Personality...""

July 16, 2004

With election season upon us, singer-songwriter Danya River is putting her message where her music is: Along with Dallas musician Kristy Kruger, Boulder-bred River is hitting the road this September for a tour of college campuses in 11 swing states, hoping to play a little music, encourage voter registration and spur some well-timed student activism.

For now, fans can catch River opening for Shawn Colvin at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road. Tickets, $34-$39.75, are available at the box office, or through TicketsWest outlets at area King Soopers; visit www.ticketswest.com for information.

The Camera recently caught up with River:

Are you excited to be opening for Shawn Colvin?

"Definitely. She's an early influence. She taught me how to play guitar, although she doesn't know it. Maybe we'll get to hang out backstage. Actually, I want to see if she'll play a song with me. We'll see."

You've recently released a new five-song EP. Why not a full album?

"Actually, I really enjoy EPs. I have a special fondness for them, even though, on a marketing level, that's a different story. I enjoy how concise they are. It's like a little vignette. And you never get worn out with them. It's like going to a really nice restaurant and getting a really small serving — but you enjoy every bit of it. Also, I've got fans who wonder what I've been up to, so I thought it would be nice to get something out there quickly."

The songs on Bone By Bone each sound very different. Was that planned?

"Part of my intention was to give a good sense about the breadth of what I do, and really give each song what it deserved. I wanted a set of songs that, regardless of how different they are stylistically, fit well together. So I let the writing be the continuity, that way the production could travel where ever it wanted to go."

Why are you doing this voter-registration drive?

"I have the perception that this is going to be a fairly potent election. I also get the sense of how disenfranchised Americans are around the political system. People are impacted every day by the choices of government, and even though they complain about it, I think there's a whole different level of inspiration to be had in activating the voting process. People really need to understand that whatever's going on in their life, they can create that for themselves, and have some power over it."

Is this a partisan thing, or just a push to get people registered?

"This is about voting. You can't convince anybody of anything. It's really just about inspiring the process and getting people active."

Do you feel that, as an entertainer, you have a special platform to get important messages out there?

"The arts sink beneath personality. Being a singer or a performing artist, you can talk to people beneath their political ideas. I'm not someone who's going to write political songs, but it's potent to share pictures and observations of life. But it's not potent to tell people what to do. But if you can sink beneath personality and sing to people and speak to them artistically, that's great. Some artists take it on the head and say, 'This is what this is about.' But I like to be a lot more subtle about things."
-Matt Sebastian, Music Writer - Boulder Daily Camera

""Danya River: Enchanting, Exotic, and Evocative""


A young Danya River once traveled around in a rainbow school bus to perform songs like "We are the World" and "I Shall be Released" at the Pentagon with her daddy's big hippie choir while her momma danced onstage like an angel. Nowadays, Danya River is a 23 year old woman standing in the spotlight of a singer/songwriter's stage with an unrestricted voice and a self produced CD.

After a remarkable upbringing on a commune in Massachusetts, learning the piano from her dad at age 4, teaching herself to play the guitar and write songs as a teenager, studying vocal jazz in high school, dabbling in experimental and world music at Wesleyan University, and being awarded "Best Folk Artist" in the 2003 Boulder Folk-n-Rock Awards, there's no doubt that this woman has the soul and the talent. The stage is River's home. From the very start she has sang with a stark honesty, an uncanny charisma, and an overwhelming intimacy. Roseanne Cash has said, "Danya River is wonderfully inventive. She has a fluid and gorgeous facility with language that can be dense, uplifting, startling and incredibly evocative."

When I first listened to Within/Without, Danya Rivers' full length CD, I thought, 'here we go, yet another female singer/songwriter.' I'm critical, so an artist has to ring my creative bell for approval. I skipped to track 9 for no particular reason, entitled "Desire." I was first impressed by the poetry of words, then by a breathy voice singing "I'm a vessel of desire and I'm overflowing." Ah, very sultry.

I asked Danya what she thinks sets her apart from other female artists. She answered, "Well, it's not like I'm standing on my head playing a rubber band with my feet. I sing and I play guitar. My musicianship is very instinctual. I use alternate guitar tunings, I make up chords, I do vocal improvisations and I experiment. I'm told I sing with a lot of body for such a skinny person. Friends tell me I'm enchanting, exotic and evocative."

Her unusual "hippie" upbringing hasn't doomed her to be some kind of fringe freak. Her parents have encouraged her to use her gifts and to be herself. Danya says she's into being "a quirky, artsy-fartsy person."

"I even eat funny. Sometimes I get strange looks when I tour in more conservative parts of the country, but I can't help myself! Besides, I think everyone's just waiting for permission to be weird." Amen, sister!

Seeing a live show with Danya River will prove her aim is to fill the room with a steadiness and a presence to engage everybody. She's the rose in a musical world of dandelions.

Danya River will be performing live at Avogadro's Number on Sunday, November 16th. Look for a new EP from Danya in early 2004 and check out her website at www.danyariver.com.
- Scene Magazine



November 19th, 2003.

Tonight we played the Java Lounge, and I've got conflicting emotions upon our return. On the one hand, we saw... well, I think she's the most spectacular singer/songwriter I've ever seen. There were no unneccessary words, nothing missing from the chords. Incredible guitar playing, and a beautiful sounding guitar. Her voice was exquisite, and she was visually stunning.

I just sat in awe of Danya River.

I'm at a loss of words. Exquisite... fascinating... beautiful - one of those people you want to compliment, but you know you can't, because you know she must've heard everything you'd like to say before.

I sat entranced - transfixed. A creature that kept me wishing for eye contact. She played like a goddess. What else is there to say?

Sigh. She was like Jennie's creme brouille... too sweet to consume en masse - and yet, you never wanted it to end. There's very little that I'm willing to ration, but Danya... and the creme brouille, were just like that. I wanted to savour every moment. I wanted her to play slower so I could integrate every note into my body. Hwah. - By Rob Hinkal, from the tour jounal of Ilyaimy

""An Inspiration to All Musicians""

"Danya River is an inspiration to all musicians. She is a songwriters' songwriter, a singer's singer and a spirit that ups the ante when she comes to town.

Like an athlete who makes his or her team better, she instills focus and creative spark to those around her. No one can win over an audience like Danya.

It's the music, stupid. That's what Danya reminded me it was all about for her. First and foremost she accepts her gifts as a talented musician, storyteller, wordsmith…[but] she is always striving to be better and better at her craft. Make no mistake, Danya would be making brilliant music if she was stuck on a desert island with no chance of being rescued for decades to come. It's about the music, stupid.

Danya River is a thousand pound gorilla strutting through a China shop of mediocre songwriters."
-Patrick Simms, Voodoo Lounge, SF
- Patrick Simms, Voodoo Lounge, SF

"Chillingly Poignant"

This Boulder native wows listeners with chillingly poignant vocals and lyrics. Her musical skill disguises her youth well, but her energy and personality are nothing short of inspiring.

- Green Note House Concerts; Chicago, IL


Danya River, 2008 (LP...not-yet released)
Bone by Bone, 2004 studio EP
Within/Without, 2001 full length studio LP


1. A Successful, Innovative, Financially-Savvy Business Person:
Powerful, innovative, savvy, and financially-successful entrepreneur. Is experienced, knowledgeable and connected in the music business. Is interested in breaking the mold and developing new ways of
generating revenue through the arts and through Danya's other talents (using the internet and other avenues). Is well organized with tenacious follow-through.

2. A Loving, Life-Long Learner
Someone who is attentive and a proactive, responsible communicator. Is driven by the following values: integrity, enjoying the process, truth, creativity, making a difference, etc... Someone who is open-minded and experiences all of life as an opportunity to learn.

3. A Leader:
A confident leader. Builds a sense of team: delegates and empowers Danya's leadership and the leadership of other people involved. Believes in the value of Danya's artistry and wants to make it available to the world. Holds the bigger context of her career and keeps her focused on the next steps.


Feeling a bit camera shy


If you are receiving this electronic press kit, it is because you, or someone you know may be able to help Danya River find a new manager! If so, pass it along!

Thank you for your support.

Or, perhaps, you ARE Danya's new manager...in which case, so very nice to meet you!


Danya River studied vocal and experimental music at the prestigious Wesleyan University in Connecticut. As an independently touring and recording singer-songwriter, she has spent ten years managing all aspects of a solo artistic career from: songwriting, management, marketing, booking, promotion & performance, to record production & distribution. She is a fountain of ideas for new, innovative models in the areas of: marketing & promotion, music production & recording, professional & artistic development, and songwriting.

Danya River's 2004 EP, "Bone by Bone" was selected as CD Baby's- the largest online retailer of independent music - favorite new CD and was featured on their front page drawing this review:

"A perfect meeting of the obvious and the subtle, the coarse and the silky, the warm and the rugged. Female, country-tinged, folk-based pop, unlike the cliches, sparkles through this album. Taking bits of bluesy ache, the 70s folk rock tradition, Americana and plenty of other little nuggets of goodness, she's created a lush composite that occasionally echoes Bonnie Raitt, Jonatha Brooke, Shawn Colvin, and Patti Griffin, among others, but pushes ahead with a stylistic mix that's too elusive for simple descriptions, too speckled with ambivalence to be summed up in a few words. Every track is a volume in itself." -CD BABY

Danya River is an ambitious young artist who lights up the country with her exquisite mix of "evocative writing, dark intriguing guitar work, and a velvet voice that ranges from formidable to ethereal." (KRFC, Fort Collins) She has opened for national acts such as Shawn Colvin, Melissa Ferrick, Matt Nathanson and Sloan Wainwright and at 24 was named Boulder Folk-n-Rock's "Best Artist" in her hometown of Boulder, Colorado. Rosanne Cash calls River's voice, "an amazing blend of the best of Joan Armatrading and the best of Sarah McLachlan" and her writing "uplifting, startling, and incredibly evocative."

On stage River reveals a "stark honesty, an uncanny charisma, an overwhelming intimacy in the way she [sings] into each person's eyes" (Scene Magazine). "She is a regular at venues including The Fox Theatre (Boulder, CO), Club Passim (Cambridge, MA) and the Bitter End (NYC). And she has received recognition for her songwriting through the Boulder Folk-n-Rock Awards, the Northern California Songwriter's Association, The Rocky Mountain Folk Festival, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.

Danya River is living in her hometown, Boulder, CO. She is currently off the road and putting together a management team to help release her new, self-titled CD produced by Austin-based producer/engineer, Michael Hynes of Hideout Studios. http://www.hideoutstudios.com

Danya has over 13 years of studio vocal work experience on many varied recording projects throughout the US and the UK. She grew up in the studio assisting her father, Robert Gass, with his elaborate choral productions. She now co-produces with him and is the lead vocalist for their new release, “Kirtana”, a collection of devotional Sanskrit chants.

Danya is also a professional painter and mixed-media artist. She comprehends the visual element and uses it in all her work to navigate toward a beautiful and meaningful experience.

Danya is a powerful leader and team player and with seven years extensive training in personal transformation, communication, and global leadership with Landmark Education. As a life coach and consultant she provides infrastructure and accountability for her clients to lead inspiring, joyfully-expressive lives. As a song-writing coach, Danya helps songwriters go deeper into the songwriting process and translate more profoundly to their audience.

Danya is a head content developer for Midisoft’s upcoming guitar teaching software, “My Guitar Teacher.” She brings a torrent of fresh ideas, enthusiasm, and visionary leadership to every project she works on. She is currently on the Midisoft team as a consultant and member of the creative development team.