Everyday Icon: The Rock-n-Roll Singer

Read our Danielia Cotton interview and hear how this survivor overcame incredible odds.

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When life threw rock and roll singer Danielia Cotton into a period of upheaval and unexpected change - a difficult, albeit amicable divorce and a diagnosis of thyroid cancer - she turned to the best coping mechanism she knew - making music.  Cotton channeled her strength, heartache, and powerhouse voice into a recent album with as much heart as soul (and rock as roll). We chatted with her for a few inspired words on survival, commitment and dedication:

Tell us about your creative path to becoming a famed rock and roll artist; how did the stars align in your particular journey?

I gravitated towards music as my mother's family is full of singers who are a very musically inclined. My mother and her 5 sisters had a gospel acapella group and it was there that I began a more serious musical route. I learned about melody and harmony within a very loving and nurturing family unit. From there I continued to pursue music with my first guitar, given to me by my mother at the age of 12. I continued musical studies in college with my professor Bill Dixon, a jazz trumpeteer. He changed how I approached music and taught me the art of telling a story through music. It changed my life. I continue to have mentors that help me evolve as an artist.

You have had a difficult few years. How did you rely on your love of music to carry you through this difficult time?

Music and art are one of the few things that allow an individual to recycle their pain into something beautiful that can be cathartic for them as well as inspiring for their audience. The sound of music and songs from artists I love always allow me to get out of my head and creating music allows me to let go of something painful in a very positive way.

Surely there were moments of doubt, creative block and uncertainty. How did you combat these?

Every artist will encounter creative blocks but they end eventually, and when the need to tell a story arises the music and lyrics come to you naturally. The way I combat these musical creative blocks is by just purely letting them pass and taking in inspiring great art from other artists that I admire and look up to.

Throughout your career, what have you learned about life and the importance of pursuing something you love?

It is a vital and necessary thing to survive, quite like the air that one breathes. Without my art I do not think I would have survived some of the things that life threw my way.

Do you rely on a mantra or motto to shape your everyday?

I recently became a Buddhist and there is nothing more centering than the chanting one does in the morning to begin the day. It helps me to focus and to be more productive in a positive way. I think I breathe more.

What's your favorite life hack or shortcut to simplify your busy schedule?

Other people's help. Not trying to do everything by myself is a very good thing. We all have our strengths and they differ from person to person, so finding a team of people that can help you achieve your goals is the first step to ultimate success.

Name five everyday essentials you wouldn't want to live without.

Toothpaste, toothbrush, my guitar, my iPhone and soap oil.

p.s. Want to hear more from Danielia? Give her cover of "Sweet Dreams" a listen below!: