At this point in her life, she travels so much that she barely has a permanent address. But this week Daya returns to Pittsburgh for a hometown show, performing at Stage AE on her first headlining tour.
The Pittsburgh native, born Grace Martine Tandon, has been a songwriting multi-instrumentalist since a young age. Her music career took off in 2015, with a trip to Los Angeles to work with songwriter and producer Gino Barletta. Barletta wrote JoJo’s 2011 hit, “Disaster,” but his own career was boosted by his work on Daya’s successful debut album, Sit Still, Look Pretty.
A songwriter and a performing artist, Daya travels nonstop. The jetsetter lifestyle began in 2016, just before she graduated, through online schoolwork, from Mount Lebanon High School. Now she’s invested in her career full time, with no homework to keep her from a busy schedule of writing, performing and engaging with fans.
Daya’s faireceived critical praise; her charm shines through, with honest youthfulness set over alarmingly catchy hooks. She pens poppy electronic-dance music that tackles everything from young love, like the annoyingly desperate suitors detailed in “Thirsty,” to the search for where the heck all the genuinely good guys have gone (“Hide Away”).
But Daya isn’t only concerned with romance. Her unique timbre and standout voice comes alive on the album’s titular “Sit Still, Look Pretty,” as she defiantly puts her career, personal happiness and autonomy before anyone else, asserting she’ll never be someone’s quiet little prize.
This feminist proclamation is a refreshing step forward from the more typical co-dependent themes found in pop songwriting. It has the “girl power” vibe of the Spice Girls, encouraging young ladies to be unapologetically noisy, fun and successful. And now that Daya is a successful pop star, just after becoming old enough to vote, teens and young women have someone to look up to.