Danielle Ponder
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Danielle Ponder

Rochester, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Rochester, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band R&B Soul




"Danielle Ponder & The Tomorrow People Performs to Sold Out Crowd at The Little"

A sea of concertgoers filled The Little Theatre last Friday night for The Little Concert Series Presents: Danielle Ponder & The Tomorrow People. Theatre 1, which faces East Ave and typically plays foreign and independent films, instead housed musical instruments and imported stage lights, many of which glowed bright purple, hinting at the royalty that would demand the stage in just minutes.

The show was part of a series presented by Different Radio that brings musical talents to the movie theatre for a one-of-kind concert experience. This particular show showcased local talent that was recommended by Different Radio listeners, then approved by a panel of 10. Danielle Ponder & The Tomorrow People were a shoe-in to headline and Susanna Rose, who deserved an honorable mention, was able to open for them, performing to a sold out crowd.

Five minutes before Danielle Ponder & The Tomorrow People’s set was supposed to begin, a countdown clock appeared and evoked immediate excitement from the crowd. The crowd in unison read off the remaining ten seconds before the video opener began, which played on the theatre’s large screen. In the video, three women are in an office/ factory-like environment as they lip-synced the words to the band’s song “Working.”

The Little Theatre gave the band an opportunity to introduce a new storytelling format that was perceived positively, from the video interludes to the songstress’s mid-set costume change. And just like every Danielle Ponder concert, the band had the room jamming. Although attendees were considerate to the people in seats behind them in the theatre and refrained from standing but it was apparent that no one in the room could remain still. The lead singer did a brief cover of Nina Simone’s Strange Fruit that struck an emotional cord with the crowd before transitioning to one of her activist themed songs.

One of the many powerful quotes that Danielle Ponder shared during the song interludes was, “Justice is what love looks like in public,” and proceeded to perform the powerful song “Three Word Revolution”.

The band closed out their set by thanking everyone and shouting out the family and friends that attended. Closing out with a live performance of “Working,” in which the song was extended to showcase all of those involved with the show from producing to the videos featured throughout the show. Fans were even able to meet with Danielle Ponder after the show.

The show demonstrated that Danielle Ponder & The Tomorrow People are not only adaptable, but they thrive in every venue and themed performance thrown their way.

If you’re interested in learning more about Danielle Ponder & The Tomorrow People, like their Facebook page. - Open Mic

"Jazz Fest 2016, Day 6: Frank reviews Tia Brazda, Nikki Hill, Johannes Linstead, and Danielle Ponder"

The grand dame of the night was Danielle Ponder and her band The Tomorrow People. The Fusion tent was the scene of R&B salvation and sonic redemption as Ponder and TTP threatened to crack the sky. If there is a God, he heard it all right. The sweet spot for me was standing on East Avenue between Chestnut and Gibbs where the sound between Nikki Hill's second set and Ponder's comingled in a beautiful, emotional explosion of powerful black women that virtually reduced me to powder. I left with my head, my ears, my heart ringing. I've got nothing left ... - CITY Newspaper

"Ponder empowerment"

We’ve known for years that Danielle Ponder has a voice. She made herself heard with her soul-rock outfit Black August, and now with Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People. But finding that voice — the one that actually defines a performer — is a more-complex issue.

A couple of weeks ago, Ponder and her band celebrated the release of its six-song EP, Blow Out the Sun, for a packed German House Theater. Now Blow Out the Sun gets another local airing at 6 p.m. Feb. 26 at Record Archive Backroom Lounge, 33⅓ Rockwood St. The show is free.

Blow Out the Sun shows the band has the R&B groove, and Ponder has the soul pipes. That’s particularly evident on “Floating,” a soaring love ballad set to a reggae beat, Ponder’s voice accompanying itself with echo effects. She’s even more of a soul chanteuse on “Learn How to Love.” And the title track has a little of that as well, as Ponder sings, “She’s got the power in her walk, the way she moves, the way she talks, she’s got the power in her hand, it’s good enough to put you in a trance.”

Yet that song also represents what Blow Out the Sun is really about. Personal empowerment and social conscious. And that’s where Ponder has found her voice.

While with Black August, the Rochester native left town for law school at Northwestern University. When she returned, it was to work as an attorney in a law office, helping out people who were unable to cope with a legal system that’s increasingly come under criticism for its heavy-handed approach with poor and disenfranchised minorities. Her 2009 song “Criminalized” charged the judicial system with targeting black, inner-city young people through vaguely defined concepts such as “probable cause” and “reasonable suspicion.”

The six songs of Blow Out the Sun don’t come off as that heavy. But while the message is presented with more optimism, the idea is the same. Ponder’s tough-sounding vocals on “Three Word Revolution (I Love Myself)” is a defiant call to self worth. That title track feels custom built as a room-shaking anthem for women in the audience.

“We Live” is a call to social revolution, which “ain’t gonna be so funny, when we’re knocking on the front door. One day we gonna rise up, children of the sunlight, speaking truth to power.” As Ponder insists, “Fear ain’t the way to live.”

The collection is marvelously consistent, but the two standout songs here are the title track and the complex, closing “Working.” It isn’t a call to social revolution, but a personal revolution. For those who are “working for the man” and living from paycheck to paycheck, where “eight hours they say will take the bills away.”

Your job doesn’t define you, Ponder insists in “Working” with an increasingly gospel urgency, until she flatly utters the line, “I quit,” and the song suddenly blossoms. “One thing is for sure, you were made for so much more,” Ponder sings. It’s the kind of joy that Sly and the Family Stone once delivered. “Live your life,” Ponder urges. “Live your life.” - Democrat and Chronicle

"First Listen: "We Live" to hear more from Danielle Ponder"

The art form that trumpeter Nicholas Payton calls Black American Music is rooted in struggle, protest and validating the affirmation of black humanity in all of its manifestations. That fact often escapes the masses until someone like Beyonce provides evidence of that fact in living color. Then there are artists such as Danielle Ponder, the fire breathing vocalist and a native of Rochester, N.Y., who fronts a funk band called Tomorrow People.

Ponder’s vocals combine the spirit of the church with the speak-truth- to-power assertiveness of a movement leader. She could be the musical progeny of Nina Simone and Gil-Scott Heron, and her seven track EP is an audio that shows that soul music is still a musical platform for black power and black pride. All the tracks are top flight, but give a close listen to “We Live.” We think you’ll like it.

By Howard Dukes - Soul Tracks

"9/9/16 – Danielle Ponder at the Little Theater with Susanna Rose"

Danielle Ponder is a one of a kind act, and her dedication to social justice, both in her day job as a public defender and her stage persona (which makes her sound like a superhero, which she very well may be), makes her truly special. Ponder and the Tomorrow People put on an entire show like a sermon, a rousing call to action, with the Little Theatre’s screen behind them.

Throughout the show, they featured clips that showed support and images about the Black Lives Matter movement, “black girl magic,” and body positivity, freedom, and just doing the right thing. The audio and visual (which also included music and voiceover from Ponder and the People themselves), which talked about her thoughts and struggles in life. Brothahood Productions by Adrian Elim, Goldnrd.com, and all brought together by Reena Golden, who took to the stage at the end of the concert and delivered some superb poetry at the end, eliciting call and response with hoots and hollers from the audience.

The visuals were excellent. Everything was exceptionally well-produced, and was slick without losing its authenticity. The messages were clear and effective, and were uniquely able to reach everyone in the diverse crowd. Her opening music video of “Working” was fun and potent, as it encapsulated her third theme of freedom. The band also played a long version at the end.

The music, as usual from this band, was exceptional. Their music is a perfect meld of soul, R&B, and hip hop; they even broke out some reggae-funk for a tune. For someone looking to place their sound into a box, it’s difficult. But, her sound, especially for this concert, perfectly echoed the the sentiment and style of the collaborative album between John Legend and The Roots. Both this album and Ponder’s concert had songs of positive change, circulating through alternating styles. Her songs moved through the themes of love, justice, and freedom. She wants us to be free by loving and accepting ourselves.

Ponder accesses her gospel and blues chops in a true and authentic way, riling the crowd up to action, involving the people in call and response. There were multiple standing ovations, the audience spent half the time on their feet and clapping, and a superlative final ovation. - Dan Gross


Still working on that hot first release.



When Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People hit the stage things get
torqued up quickly like a tent revival during tornado season. Named Top
Ten Bands to watch by CityPaper, and winner of the 2015 Roc Awards,
"Best Local Band", Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People transcend
musical genres with a blast of deep, powerful groove and soul. The band
is the groove while Ponder’s pipes keep it rooted in soul. And according
to Ponder, soul is more than a sound.

“Soul music is something you feel,” she says. “It gives you goose bumps.”

This Rochester, NY Native has spent the past 10 years rendering goose bumps
by perfecting her style and charismatic performance. She sings, you
listen, you melt. The result of her focus and dedication is a tone that
is both enchanting and seductive along with a riveting, honest stage
presence. It is this voice that has helped her secure gigs opening up
for powerhouses such as George Clinton, Ledisi and The Roots.

“I am a very passionate performer,” Ponder says. “I usually make myself go
back to the place I was when I wrote that song. I like to immerse
myself in those feelings. That helps me deliver an authentic

To Ponder, the audience is integral to the performance. They are, in a sense, part of the band. We are all tomorrow people.

“That’s why I named the band Tomorrow People, It's an ode to artist,
progressive people. We create the future. When I get on stage I want the
audience to be just as important as the musicians. I want to hear them,
feel them, and see them dancing and moving."

And the crowd does just that. This daughter of a preacher take the audience to church, as
she dances across stage and belts out her notes, it is clear that her
gospel roots have had a strong influence.  This sensational singer also
lists powerful influences that lit her fuse like Nina Simone, Big Mama
Thornton, Koko Taylor, and Lauryn Hill. Ponder opens her mouth to sing
and it’s readily apparent; there’s another name that belongs in that
pantheon as well. Danielle Ponder, and her time is now.

Band Members