Daily Dig: Darja

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New York based Darja Schabad is a multilingual singer/ songwriter who hails from Riga, Latvia but was raised in both Germany and the UK. Schabad’s performance career started at the age of 4 when she was enrolled into The Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics, where dance and music inspired her to start creating her own music at a very early age.

Way back in 2001 Darja made the decision to defer her university education so she could participate in the popular German reality TV Show Popstars. Out of 11,000 hopefuls, Darja made it to the last 8 which is quite an achievement. Unfortunately she wasn’t chosen to be part of Bro’Sis but this knock back didn’t phase her in the slightest. Schabad began working on a solo career with Producer Tony Coutura. Later down the line she was offered a solo record deal offer by East West Records but rejected the offer to pursue a BSc in International Relations at the prestigious London School of Economics.

In 2003 Darja made the decision to sign up for the 2nd series of Pop Idol despite still being at university. Now she sailed through to the auditions and made it to the final 50. Back then they had individual heats consisting of 10 other hopefuls. Darja was placed in heat 1 and sang Shakira’s Underneath Your Clothes. When getting judges feedback Simon Cowell stated that Schabad had The X Factor. The public could then vote on who they wanted to progress to the final 10, unfortunately Darja’s journey ended as she lost out to eventual winner Michelle McManus and Chris Hide.

After graduating in 2005, Darja transferred to New York City in 2007, to pursue an Acting Degree at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Since her graduation she has appeared in films, commercials, industrials and voiceovers, representing companies such as Perkinelmer, Canon, UBS Investment Bank and PUMA, where she is the voice of the PUMA Perfume Animagical global commercial campaign, featuring Usain Bolt.

Since 2012 Darja has released a handful of singles and the first being Never Mine. Now this was a trance tune oozing plenty of EDM beats. On my first listen, this glorious cut left had me well and truly mesmerised. Basically it’s a club friendly jam with lush lyrics which captivated me.

Two years down the line Darja Schabad unleashed The Light via the same Mega Anthems label. Now this song had me hypnotised from the word go, the impeccable melody was packed with swirly synths and then you had Darja’s sugary sweet vocal tones. Each single that Schabad has released have one thing in common and that being Dance. The Light was an epic cut which you want to jump up and down too.

Having featured on Zilos’ single Summer Breeze, Darja then went on to release True Paradise. This number was also awarded Best Pop/Dance Song by The Akademia Music Awards. This captivating track was the last to be released on the Anthems Music label. Compared to the likes of The Light and Never Mine this sumptuous single is different. For starters it’s not heavily dance influenced. Darja’s vocals were candy coated/ crisp whilst the melody actually had a Turkish feel

Later in 2015 Schabad unleashed Here We Are and this was completely different when compared to material of the past. Yes you had dance beats, but this whimsical cut also resonated plenty of pop vibes. Darja’s dreamy vocal abilities left me utterly spellbound and then you had those exquisite lyrics which resulted in something gentle on my ear.

We then get to the present. 2017 has seen Darja unveil her brand new single Rise Up. I’ve listened to this number multiple times and I must say I’m hooked. When this glorious cut starts you are tricked into thinking it would be a piano ballad, moments later Rise Up morphs into an energetic club floorfiller. Schabad’s spellbinding vocals were light/ fluffy then you had the lyrics which delivered an uplifting message. Here is what Darja had to say in regards to Rise Up “This song was inspired by my entire life’s journey up to date. I have always been a foreigner everywhere I lived, so I always felt a bit like an outsider trying to fit in. Today I feel like a citizen of the world. I identify with every race and every social class, because I have seen it all, I have experienced the bottom I have experienced the top and ultimately it is all fleeting until you decide to love yourself for who you are no matter what life throws at you. “Rise Up” is about finding back to yourself, about finding back to your strength and overcoming the toughest moments and stand tall and stronger than ever. I was very close to becoming a popstar in Germany and after a few unfortunate circumstances it did not come to fruition and it was traumatizing to the point where I never wanted to sing again. After many years of grieving and healing from that experience, overcoming many insecurities and self-sabotage, I found my way back to music and performing and I remembered what really matters to me. “Rise Up” is about shaking off the last remnants of past trauma, about shedding the old skin to be reborn into a new stronger, lighter, more confident and positive self. There are people out there who have gone through much tougher life experiences than I have and I want this song to be their song, I want it to give strength and inspiration to those who need it the most”. The music video for Rise Up will drop within a month and was directed and edited by Gaudens Martin Zulu (the editor behind the last 3 music videos of Nicki Minaj). It also features cinematography by Snyder Derival (Jadakiss ft. Neyo, Justine Skye, Lotto ft. 50 Cent) and choreography by Ana Kisin.

I can actually see similarities between her and Natalie Horler (Cascada)

You can download Darja’s music from iTunes

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