[Artists to Watch] Love at First Listen with Dayna Reid

Dayna Reid Interview Love at First Listen 2024

We all have those artists and songs we hear that strike the right chord and make us fall in love at first listen. They’re the reason we refresh social media pages, tour schedules, and Spotify profiles — because we can’t miss a single release. This is Love at First Listen — a new series introducing you to the emerging, and established, artists with new music guaranteed to upgrade your playlist.

When emerging Canadian country talent Dayna Reid pulled up her latest Spotify Artist Wrapped statistics, she discovered that more than 129,000 people had streamed her work in her first full year with music out in the world—no small feat. The success of her debut EP ‘Back to the Trailer’ inspired this Artist to Watch to come into 2024 with a gripping new single, “This House,” and its emotionally charged music video, out today (Jan. 26). As for what’s on the horizon, Dayna is gearing up to share more music, more live shows, and much more of the authenticity and vulnerability listeners have come to love.

In her first interview for the new single, Dayna gave us the inside scoop on “This House,” her country girl gang, and how she continues to turn her biggest dreams, including an upcoming album release, into reality.

Welcome to Love at First Listen! When you reflect on 2023, what was the biggest pinch-me moment, and what musical goals have you set for yourself in 2024 to go above and beyond what you accomplished in the last 12 months?

I went from working to support kids with special needs full time to hearing my song on the radio. I was actually with one of the girls that I support while I heard it for the first time, so that was a total full circle moment. We pulled over and we were jamming out together. I feel like I have my foot in the door now, so this is the year to kick up a level and share the rest of my album because it’s been done for a while. I am really excited to be able to get to Nashville, write and release a lot more music that I’m proud of, and connect with more people within the industry and listeners as well. I think that’s one of my favourite parts of this industry—meeting so many amazing people.

You say your new single “This House” is “for anyone who has a dream or a vision of what their life could be like but may not know how to make that dream their reality.” How do you relate that message to your own journey as an artist?

There’s a point in a lot of people’s lives where they have this vision for themselves of what they want to pursue, or they know that they want their life to look a certain way, but they don’t know how to make that happen. And I think through writing and releasing the song, it genuinely helped me get to where I’m at right now.

While I was writing this song, I was in a very different mindset than I am right now. It was actually the first song that I ever wrote with my co-writers, Beverley Mahood and Mac Shepherd, so it’s pretty crazy to see how much things have changed since and how much it’s really helped me believe that it’s not [about] running away from your problems, but instead running towards what’s best for you this time instead. I never really understood that growing up until it came to the point in my life where I realized doing what’s best for you isn’t selfish and it’s going to get you to where you [achieve] your own happiness.

Dayna Reid posing with her billboard for "This House" in Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square.
Dayna Reid posing with her billboard for “This House” in Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square. (Courtesy of Dayna Reid/Instagram)

The music video for “This House” is just as stunning as the song. How much of a role did you play in crafting how the song would come to life on screen?

While I was out in Vancouver for the SiriusXM Top of the Country competition, my team got me together with a really amazing director, Stephano Barberis. He is one of those people that you meet and you know they’re special. I wanted this feeling of being in this house or space of mind and finally unlocking those doors, and not even really unlocking the doors but unlocking your potential in a way too. Where we shot the video, that house was over 150 years old or something, surrounded by mountains, and it’s only specifically for video shoots and TV scenes. So, you went in there and you could just feel an energy shift. I was like, okay, this is definitely the place to do this video.

In a sea of new country artists, how would you describe your musical aesthetic to someone first discovering you?

I grew up listening to all kinds of music. My dad was the rocker, so I have the classic rock influence in that sense. But my whole family on my mom’s side is very into older country, like ‘80s, ‘90s, and even a little bit early 2000s. So, I really want to get that into my music because that’s where I feel like my lane is as well.

Speaking of music that country audiences are clearly loving at first listen, your debut EP ‘Back to the Trailer’ featured your Top 40 single “She’s Me” and fan favourite “The Way You Lie.” How would you compare the sound of that EP with what fans can expect to hear this year?

I think that all the songs play a part on the album—like everything has its own feel to it. “She’s Me” was the song that I wanted to put out to help empower people. “The Way You Lie” was for all those girls out there that had been lied to once or twice and they’re done with it. And then a song like “This House,” that’s another song that is very personal in a way too. I want to be able to share that side of me [with] people as well because I think being authentic and real and being able to talk about things like that with others is a whole other level of this industry.

That music also earned you great critical acclaim, including titles like iHeartRadio’s Future Star and touring opportunities with Tim Hicks and Hunter Brothers. Do you have any dream gigs for 2024 that we can help you manifest?!

I know that I’m doing a few festivals in the summer, but any opportunity is a good opportunity, especially being an up-and-coming artist. Touring with the Hunter Brothers was amazing because they are just salt of the earth kind of people and I always went to Tim Hicks’ concerts with my girlfriends growing up, so to be able to perform with them more too would be awesome.

This interview series is all about showcasing new and emerging artists. Can you shout out any of your country pals who we should have our eyes and ears on this year?

Hailey Benedict and Teigen Gayse—those are my girls! They’re honestly the sweetest and so talented. I was in the Top of the Country competition with them and that’s how I got a little bit closer with each of them. They’re killing it out there, and I love being able to support other women.

What else can fans look forward to throughout the year?

It’s funny—the first album that I wrote had a lot of stories about me growing up in a very small farming community in Elmvale, Ontario, which is close to Wasaga Beach. It was a lot about my life experiences at that time, whereas the new music coming up is about this next chapter of my life too. So, I’m hoping that people who are listening can go on that journey with me.

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