Tell me about yourself.
I love the arts and I love people. Having been born in Madrid, Spain to Austrian actress, and American Italian father influenced my Flamenco music roots and helped build my social, fun loving, food loving, party-loving personality. I was a young dancer, and the rhythm of music and the performance of others kept the fire burning. When I started writing my music by the time I was in my 30’s, the music was influenced by my Spanish birth roots and my history as a dancer. I liked catchy guitar licks, melodies, song hooks and lyrics, and the dramatics of life’s heartbreaks, and excitement of falling love shaped much of the first album, “Have No Fear.” My dance and song influenced the musical theatre productions in which I got through stage-fright, learned to get over my fears, and through which I gained confidence and great memories.
How did you get started in the entertainment industry?
I got started slowly, though I dance trained (ballet, lyrical jazz, and tap) throughout my adolescence. I did not start performing in musical theatre (except for Grease in High School as “Cha Cha”) until I was 30 as my 20’s were University book-worm years getting my Masters in Public Health and clinical nutrition, and starting my first clinic job, while secretly dreaming of performing on stage, doing movies, and singing. I did musical theatre, Pippin, as my break out grown-up role at age 31. Within a couple of years, I picked up more vocal skills, reacquainted myself with my acoustic guitar, and used my early years of Flamenco guitar training as a 7-year-old, as well as my classical ensemble guitar skills I got from early 20’s and melded them into new pop, Flamenco, indie-rock. As the power of intention made itself obvious, I happen to drive past a group of guitar-playing happy people on my street who waved me down randomly to play music with them: I did not know them, I was not quite confident yet, but I said, “What the heck.” I joined them, and one of the guys loved my music, introduced me to a music engineer, and within 2 months I finished my first 3 demos… and so it went. Soon I met more people and produced my first album, formed a band, and played the L.A. scene (Whiskey a Go Go, The Joint, The Cat Club, and every club on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, CA)
Did you have any favorite idols growing up whether on television or film?
I was influenced as a dancer first, and I loved old movie stars, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and Gene Kelly, as well as Danny Kaye. The Follies, and later Bob Fosse. Singers all across the board ignited my curiosity and passion for performing, and musical theatre actors and pop stars sent me into a daydream state of, “I want to do that.” I had the usual teen crush on Shaun Cassidy and joined his fan club when I was 8 years old! As I grew up I saw Cindy Lauper belt it out on stage, and I was fascinated at how live she was even better than on the recordings I had heard. I loved Journey, Queen, and the Eagles (my older cousins introduced them to me as a kid), Stray Cats, Foreigner and the typical pop-rock but was always fascinated by the incredible variety of powerful voices out there. Once I started recording, I loved the rhythms of Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson, and the lyrics and dynamic energy of Pink. I ended up falling in love and marrying a progressive rock keyboardist legend, and that taught me a whole new understanding of classical music turned rock and magic.
What do you love most about being a singer?
What I love most about being a singer is expressing my emotions and affecting someone else’s mood in a positive way. When someone listening to me identifies with words or the mood that certain music can trigger it makes the act of singing like a healing and therapeutic soul session. On the other hand, the rhythmic songs I sing bring laughter to others, and when I see their hips move, and their bodies wiggle it makes me smile and brings me joy in return.
Was that something you always wanted to pursue?
Yes, I wanted to sing since I was a little child, but I was quite shy after the move to the U.S. and my Austrian mother’s intense strict personality, though she was much mellower than I thought as a kid, suppressed my pursuit. I did sing once into a cassette which she found, and her criticism of it had me lip sync for years until I finally broke out of that mold! Excellent life experiences, vocal lessons for support, and getting rid of only whispering certainly made a difference. I think if you dream something, and want something, you need to surround yourself by those people that encourage that and keep the other people who don’t get it a kind step away from that happy dreamy vortex of belief in yourself that is precious. There are always critics, but dreams and soul food of the arts need to be fed by the person experiencing that dream: luckily my childhood dream came true; it’s never too late.
Tell me more about your latest album
I am excited about the latest singles, and the most recent Spanish single “Donde Vas a Ir,” which is the translation of “Is She Coming Back.” The English version confuses people all the time, as I play a trick speaking from different perspectives, of a man and a woman, so some people don’t know if it is about love between a man and a woman, or two women. You guess!
I translated several songs from the album, and I will be releasing one at a time throughout the rest of this year, 2018. It’s really fun to hear the song come alive in another language. The downloads are easy to get these days! Thank goodness.
Are you currently working on new music?
I am working on new music, and am excited to finish production on my English and Swahili song; a tribute to life, humanity and peace, “Endelea.” I have several acoustic recordings, and more recordings to finish. The first singles in Spanish are being released now and throughout the year, and the Swahili and world type music will be released by 2019. I love eclectic music, and mine includes pop, Flamenco, indie-rock, World, and a bit of jazz and blues. Who can resist the blues!
Let’s get into your acting career. Any new projects you are working on?
Acting is an amazing expression of multiple characters, with the capacity to say and be a multitude of eccentric characters, who behave in ways I am unable to in the “real world.” That is why I love portraying deep and emotionally disturbed (though that is a “label” and acting coaches don’t like that) however, it helps non-actors understand what the heck I am talking about! My new role will be filming in Las Vegas, as a Russian landlord amidst tumultuous surroundings, gangsters, thugs, and lovers. Stay tuned on IMDB by the end of 2018.
How exactly did you get into acting? Was it something you always wanted to pursue?
I was exposed to movie sets, photographers, paparazzi, and fans ogling my beautiful mother from the time I was born. I had a secret dream of being successful as an actor but did not pursue it till much later. The ups and downs of that potential life, the need to be emotionally unaffected by rejection, and the potential lack of income from not working pushed me willingly into a science and health direction. As my life evolved, my artistry evolved as well, my income was secure, and my confidence increased, so did my pursuit of acting. That really was a late start, and even though musical theater-trained me, it was not the same as camera work, and lead or supporting roles. Once I took some fabulous acting classes, did scenes, then plays, and a heck of a lot of “getting my feet wet” thesis projects at film schools as an actor, I began my professional journey in front of the camera from indie features, and some T.V. I did leave it for a while to pursue my Ph.D. a childhood dream so I can write and help others through health, but now I am back, and am looking forward to my Russian role.
How do you balance both being a singer and an actress? Are there any challenges involved?
There are many challenges, and balancing acts. The challenges come from time, timing, focus, life’s distractions, disappointments, and others who sabotage or don’t follow through or even backstab (part of life but we all move on). Making sure to keep a positive attitude, keeping the dream alive by letting go of things that are negative, and continuing the journey is super important. Enjoying and letting positive, loving, kind people in are all important in keeping things going. On a practical level, if I write and record, the acting takes a back seat, and when I prep for a role, the singing, and recording takes a back seat. Sometimes, both happen together, but that’s happened in musical theatre, not in film acting so far; of course, if you get an opportunity like La La Land, then you get to do both. It’s also important, I have found, to keep the voice trained, at least the scales, and key changes so when you sing again, you’re ready. My alto register is always ready, even without practice, but my soprano sounds more like a cat if I don’t practice, kind of like bodybuilding. There are people that are more physiologically gifted in all ranges, and though I have gifts, I do need to vocalize! My memory needs work too! Learning paragraphs of lines and making them real dialogue takes brain power, and some are fabulous at remembering words, and others are like me, it takes a bit more work! Don’t get lazy, I tell myself!
What keeps you motivated and inspired through everything?
The dream and the joy and the memories of how great it has felt, and how happy and moved others were by something I wrote, sang, or performed keeps me motivated. Support from “cheerleaders” also has kept me smiling, working, and pursuing when I wanted to give up, or thought, “well, maybe that’s enough.” I think as I acknowledge that my soul really is an artist’s soul, I accept the journey of all artistic endeavors, dreams, and opportunities. I cannot see the future, but I believe in intent, the journey, and a reason for who we are. I am an artist so I will prepare, enjoy, and see what life offers.
When you aren’t working, what does Daniela like to do for fun?
I am an American-Italian European fun-loving social foodie. One of my greatest joys is feeding people! I love having social gatherings filled with delicious foods, and drinks, good old-fashioned music, Dean Martin, of course, thanks to Pandora and my iPad. I have great memories as a kid and continue the family and cultural traditions of dinner parties, casual food fest garden parties, good wine, sparkling water, Prosecco, and laughter. It is hard for me to sit still, so I love hiking, and playing tennis, walking on the beach (I know, I sound like a dating app add), late night magical shows on my Smart TV, and reading British “who done its” by Agatha Christie, and the “cozy mysteries aka cozies,” by M.C. Beaton. Talking to my girlfriends like a teenager still seems to be a favorite past-time too. Of course, I love my cat, and all critters, and spend time playing, feeding, activist signing, donating, and adopting special needs creatures, and contributing to those amazing organizations that really do make a difference for so many wild animals, and pets. My heart is soft for creatures: I got totally hooked on the premature baby hippo Fiona’s reality YouTube ™ series from the Cincinnati Zoo. What a great job the team has done; baby Fiona is not so tiny anymore! Great job, Cincinnati Zoo.
How can readers connect with you and buy your music? Website and social media links?
I would love as many people as possible to enjoy my music by healing their hearts and feeling joy through dance and rhythm. Daniela Torchia stuff is all over the place, including iTunes, and CD Baby. The paid downloads help support more music and donations to both animals and child adoption sites to which we contribute, World Vision, SPCA, WWF (World Wild Life Federation), and 32 more. My tax guy always says, “Shouldn’t you save some of this instead of giving to these organizations?” I say, “Those that do great things to help decrease suffering in people and animals, deserve it!” and so, life goes on. I hope everyone gets to live their dreams, knows the joy of helping others, adopts a child or pet in person or through respected organizations, and keeps their hearts open to being supportive in mind, spirit, and life!
Interviewed By: Patrice Rivers; Author, Blogger, and Writer.
Follow her on IG @thatriverzgurl_brand