MusicMusic Interviews

Interview with Singer and Mental Health Advocate Daphne Willis

Pop singer Daphne Willis is a rising star in the music industry with a mission to raise awareness about mental health issues. Daphne’s latest song is titled “Somebody’s Someone” and its lyrics convey that everyone matters to someone–a message that is especially powerful when directed towards people struggling with depression and/or suicidal thoughts.

Daphne WillisDaphne has appeared at numerous events dedicated to the mental health awareness movement such as a concert hosted by the organization Change Direction in Los Angeles, California, in April. Now that May is here–Mental Health Month–Daphne is more eager than ever for her music and mission to be heard.

Via an exclusive interview, Daphne recently discussed her career, her dedication to the mental health movement, and her hopes for the future:

Meagan Meehan (MM) of Entertainment Vine: What inspired you to start making music and expressing yourself through writing songs?

Daphne Willis (DW): I come from a musical family. My parents were both music majors at UT, Austin and I grew up surrounded by it! Music was always a natural form of expression growing up.

MM: How would you describe the style of your songs and what are some of the people and things that most influence you?

DW: I think coming from a pretty eclectic musical background has lent itself to a wide variety of influence. The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Costello and Jack Johnson are just a few of many. I draw a lot of my lyrical inspiration from philosophical and introspective conversations with close friends and family.

MM: You do a lot to raise awareness about mental health issues. What is it about this particular cause that calls to you?

DW: I come from a background that supports health in all forms. I have been affected by a vast array of mental health issues throughout my lifetime, like most people. I think we are all directly connected to this cause, but a lot of times stigma has gotten in the way of progress in this area of medicine/health treatment.

MM: What gave you the idea for “Somebody’s Someone” and what do you hope listeners take away from the song’s message?

DW: I wrote “Somebody’s Someone” to remind us all that we matter. That whichever side of that coin we are in, we are not alone, and our emotions count. I hope listeners find some solace in knowing just how many others are feeling the same way and that they may be encouraged to reach out to their someone’s.

MM: What are the challenges of pairing serious lyrics with normally upbeat pop melodies? What other somber subjects have you discussed–or plan to discuss–via your music?

DW: I tend to find that juxtaposition empowering. I think taking things that are difficult to talk about, or perhaps painful and bringing some light and positivity into the equation is my favorite way to view any adversity. I have a song called “Dopamine” that will be coming out next that explores getting off of the wrong drugs to get on the right ones. The song is basically about my journey from self-medication, to finding love and self-love

MM: What do you consider to be your ultimate career goals for your music?

DW: I just want to play shows where people walk away a lot happier than they were when they walked in. I want to make music that makes people feel inspired and empowered. That’s really it.

MM: What are some of the most rewarding things about being a professional musical artist and what advice can you give to aspiring singers and songwriters?

DW: Write what you know and always be open to collaborate!

MM: What is next for you as far as projects, music, and lyrics are concerned?

DW: Hitting the road! So very excited for a ton of upcoming shows. And oh yeah…releasing more music too!

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To learn more about Daphne Willis, visit her official website. You can find Daphne’s music on Spotify and iTunes. To see a YouTube video of one of her songs, see here.

Meagan Meehan

Meagan J. Meehan is a published author, poet, cartoonist and produced playwright. She pens columns for the Great South Bay Magazine, Examiner and AXS. She is also a stop motion animator and an award-winning abstract artist. Meagan holds a Bachelors in English Literature and a Masters of Communication. She is an animal advocate and a fledging toy and game designer.
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