Danielle Anderson, who goes by the stage moniker Danielle Ate the Sandwich, is an indie musician from Ft. Collins, Colorado. Known for her quirky stage presence and for featuring a ukelele in her music, Danielle is attracting a growing fan base both locally and nationally through her recordings, live performances and her homemade videos on YouTube.
Danielle Ate the Sandwich will be playing tomorrow night, Oct. 24 at the Meadowlark, 27th and Larimer in Denver, along with Andrea Ball and Dan Craig. Show starts at 8:00 PM.
A couple of days ago, Danielle graciously agreed to chat with me for a few minutes…
OOMPH: So, let’s start with an offbeat question…how did you come to play the ukelele?
Danielle: It was left on my door step by a friend as a “stop being a grump” present after the coffee shop I loved and worked at had to close down.
OOMPH: [laughing] And you just picked it up? Literally?
Danielle: Yeah, very literally. I think it was left as more of a toy, and we didn’t expect that I’d pick it up and really start playing it and that it would eventually kind of replace my guitar!
OOMPH: When did you get interested in music, and how did it become a full-time type of gig for you?
Danielle: I had been writing songs in secret, in my bedroom, since highschool, but never really had the courage to play them out loud in front of people until my second year of college, which would be 2005/2006. I would play open mic nights a lot and eventually got asked to do some legit shows. I didn’t consider myself a full-time musician until this year. The big boom came after having a video featured on youtube’s homepage. This led to a lot of national attention as well as local attention. In January I quit my job as a seamstress at an alteration shop, partly because I wasn’t happy there, and partly because I wanted to see if I could make it playing just music. I could and I have been and it’s been unreal! I’ve been interested in music my entre life, but 2009 was defintely the year it all came together and really started to make sense.
OOMPH: So how did your video get featured on YouTube? Chance, or something else?
Danielle: I think it was chance. There were a few people who said they were in cahoots with YouTube, telling them about me and my videos, but I’m not sure if I believe them. I think it was chance, considering a featured video on any given day can range from Weezer’s new video to one of a cat tackling a baby. Know what I mean?
OOMPH: Yes, I do. One of my questions was going to be how the Internet has helped propel your career. I think you answered that one.
Danielle: Yeah, in addition to what I’ve said…I think it would have been possible for me to climb my way up the local music scene ladder, but because of my success on YouTube it’s been a quick jump. I’m also able to tour nationally and have people show up. I think it’s interesting to a lot of people that I’m doing it my own way. A lot of new musicians are doing it themselves with no label or team of experts and apparently it’s possible to do that. [EDITOR'S NOTE: This statement is evidence of my claims in this previous post.]
OOMPH: What musicians would you say have most inspired you?
Danielle: Everything I’ve heard has inspired me, good or bad. I didn’t really listen to a lot of singer/songwriters while I was growing up, but Regina Spektor was a woman who did her own thing and really inspired me to do mine. I also liked Simon and Garfunkel and listened to them before I really wrote my bulk of songs. I’m currently listening to a lot of 60s folk and getting into those iconic singer/songwriters, and I can’t say they’ve inspired my past songs, but they will inspire the next set of them–and aside from the songs, they’ve served as role models. I can look at the people behind the songs and aspire to be like them and say what they said. And of course, I don’t want to be exactly like anybody, but it’s nice to know that who I am has a big part of who my songs are, just like they were a part of who their songs were. Make sense?
OOMPH: Yes it does–everyone gleans off the ones before, in my opinion, and it works into who they are.
Danielle: Yeah, agreed.
OOMPH: The next question sort of ties in…is there anyone in your personal life that has particularly encouraged/inspired your music career? Mentor, teacher, anyone like that?
Danielle: Veronica May is a singer/songwriter currently living in San Diego. She used to live in Fort Collins, and I would watch her play and see how much fun she had and how much fun others had watching her. I think she unknowingly gave me the push I needed to be brave enough to start sharing my songs.
OOMPH: This might seem like an odd question…but what sorts of things make you mad? What, if anything, would you say you are fiercely passionate about? And do you ever let that kind of thing come out in your songs?
Danielle: Occasionally. I wouldn’t consider myself much of a political person and I usually think political bands are very alienating. I get upset about equal rights and gender stereotypes, war… religion gets me going some days. But I usually try to take those out of the big general scope of the universe and bring them into my universe. I hope that adds a little bit of softness to the tougher issues. I’m not trying to yell or scream how I think things should be. I’m writing the songs to try and understand the way things work.
OOMPH: What do you hope people will get from your music? What do you want them to take away from a concert?
Danielle: Danielle ate the Sandwich live is a very different thing from just listening to the songs. I think I want the songs to speak to people in an individual way. I want them to listen to the words and appreciate them. I like the idea of people singing along as well. I never really think of myself as an emotional healer or that I could be so lucky to have the power to affect people, but the fact that I do is pretty stinkin’ amazing. When I imagine people listening, I think of them all alone and close to speakers, feeling something different because of what I’ve done. Maybe I make them feel worse or maybe better, I guess I just want the songs to do something for people. At a concert, I’d want people to have fun and laugh and then most importantly…shut up and listen. I like that I have a weird, awkward rambly stage presence, but take performing the songs very seriously. I try to shake up the mood a bit. I hope that makes people pay more attention.
OOMPH: Any future plans–recordings in the works, tours? What are you working on?
Danielle: I hope to start recording some new songs this winter and hopefully have a third album out by the spring. I think next year will be a year full of touring. I’ll go on month tours instead of week tours like I”m been doing. I’ll work hard, of course, and try to write some more good songs. I just want to be wonderful! I think Marilyn Monroe said that.
Don’t forget to catch Danielle Ate the Sandwich on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Meadowlark at 27th and Larimer. You can purchase Danielle’s music from danielleatethesandwich.net.