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When I first heard daena’s new single “Karaoke Bar”, I thought that Taylor Swift had released a new bonus track from Midnights. The song has the intimacy and luminous pop production we’ve come to expect from Tay Tay.

The Nashville artist recently joined the Million Streams Club for her song “Close Isn’t Enough” – and let’s put that accomplishment in perspective. In the days of vinyl records, attracting one million listeners was called “a platinum record”, right? I hope we return some day to a world without Spotify where one million daena CDs are gracing the living rooms and bedrooms of music fans around the globe.

Here’s what daena has to say about her latest release:


What’s the story behind the song on “Karaoke Bar”? What prompted you to write it?

It’s actually a fun story. Last fall, a few friends of mine invited me to join them on a writer’s retreat weekend outside of Nashville. For one of the sessions, everyone wrote down a few random phrases, and each co-writing team drew two from a hat to include in their song. The first phrase we drew was, as you may have guessed, “karaoke bar” (suggested by my friend Candace). I was lucky to get to write it with Keyler Matthews and Reagan Beem. As soon as we started exploring the title, the visuals of the verses just started flowing out and we knew we’d stumbled upon something special.


Fun fact: the other phrase we worked into the song is “teach me to lie like you”. It was trickier to write around, but I think it made for a super cool and unexpected line in verse 2!


Who did the stellar production on the song?

I worked with Alexander Frieden to produce this song! Although it’s definitely more poppy than my recent guitar-driven, pop/rock stuff, I really wanted to make sure that the production served the song and gave listeners what I thought this song called for – which is true pop!


Who programmed the lovely synth part in the bridge?

This was again my producer Alexander Frieden. We wanted to make the bridge feel almost like “slow motion”, hence the half-time feel and arpeggiating synth part.


Your song “Close Isn’t Enough” recently reached the million-streams mark on Spotify. How do you feel about that accomplishment?

It is absolutely mind-blowing!! I am so incredibly grateful that this song has taken on a life of its own and resonated so strongly with my listeners. It’s wild to look at all the playlists people have put it on, and think about the fact that it went from something I wrote in my living room to hundreds of thousands of people jamming to it in their car or blasting it during a night out. Next stop: 1 billion! 😉


Do you hear from fans in other countries (UK, Europe, Japan, etc.)? How far has “daena-mania” spread around the world?

Ha, “daena-mania” – I’m stealing that!! A lot of my fanbase is here in the US, but I’ve definitely got some global listeners too. After the US, UK and Canada, my next top listeners on Spotify right now are Australia and The Philippines. It’s awesome to think about – maybe I’ll have to do a world tour sometime in the future.


Story: Larry McClain  //  Photo: Acacia Evans


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