Dani Strong
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Dani Strong

Barrie, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2010

Barrie, Canada
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Country Singer/Songwriter




"Selected New Releases: 21 Oct 2016"

.....Barrie, ON’s Dani Strong launches the exquisite Time to Breathe which is sitting at #2 on the iTunes Canada country chart! Charles Landry‘s Ton Coeur is a beautifully done singer-songwriter album. Winnipeg’s John K. Samson explores the phenomenon of Winter Wheat in his alternative work which is selling well. - Canadian Music Blog

"Eli Young Band “Turn It On” in Toronto"

Last night we were invited to take in the BIG Kick Off of the KX Country Concert Series at the Phoenix Concert Theater in Toronto. Bright Lights Big Country is the brain child of the amazing folks at KX Country Radio. They wanted to bring some great acts to smaller venues this summer and hopefully this is the first of a handful of shows this summer and they couldn’t have had a better line up to kick it all off with. With Eli Young Band headlining the show and with such amazing support from Burlington’s own Tebey along with amazing up and coming act Dani Strong this night was full of fantastic music.

Dani Stong hit the stage just after 7:30 and boy can she put on a show. She rocked the stage for her complete 30 min set. I know Dani had just played this stage a short month ago when KX presented the Rising Stars showcase and had rave reviews of her performance and we can see why. With such strong vocals and one hell of tight band they did not disappoint. If you have a chance to catch Dani at any of her shows this summer its strongly recommended. - Soundcheck Entertainment

"Interview – CMAO New Faces Showcase West with Dani Strong"

Canadian Beats had the chance to interview the six artists performing at the CMAO New Faces Showcase West, on Saturday March 19, 2016. The event was held at The Bull & Barrel Urban Saloon in London, Ontario. This will be a 6-part series, featuring each artist. All were asked the same set of questions. It is interesting to see the diversity in their answers.
Today, we chat with Dani Strong. She is a straight shooting country rocker that isn’t afraid to take risks and tells it like it is.
Please tell us about yourself for anyone who hasn’t heard your music or know who you are.

I’m NOT just another girl with a guitar. I was once told by someone that I was “just another girl with a guitar”. The next morning looked up the audition cities for Nashville Star (as I had heard it was the only TV show that allowed you to perform original material) and I literally threw my guitar in my truck and started driving to Indianapolis; the closest the auditions we’re going to get to me. I thought to myself “if I’m just another girl with a guitar… I’ll have no chance at this show”.

4 rounds of auditions, 1 live interview, 1 video interview and 2 months later I was heading down to Nashville as the ONLY Canadian to make the top 50 of Nashville Star out of over 50,000 auditioned.

I didn’t win the show… didn’t even make top 10. However, I did receive the high compliment “Best Original Song” by a local Nashville media writer. So, I drove home happy and feeling hopeful in my quest to be something “extraordinary”.

Since my Nashville Star experience I’ve lived a roller coaster ride of what I’m happy to call “paying my dues”. You know, pounding the pavement. One thing is for sure, there is no silver spoon in my yap. Never has been. I am, however, quite blessed with the company I keep. My band mates and musical acquaintances are all pretty much monsters of their art. They inspire me every time we play, practice or even just hang out.

A few things I have accomplished in the past years are:

Semi-finalist in the International Song Writing Competition 2 years in a row (2013/2014)
Opened for The Eli Young Band, Emerson Drive, Jason McCoy, Tebey, Jess Moskaluke, Jimmy Rankin, The Lovelocks and more.
Featured at KX Country presents Hot Shots Series in April 2015
Won episode 2 of Florida based talent show Do I Have a Hit Song
Nominated for Best Country at the Toronto Independent Music Awards, Oct. 2015
Currently working with Coleman USA for their 2016 campaign song
Won Best Overall Press Kit at Toronto Independent Music Awards, Oct. 2015
Oh, and last year I found out a girl had stolen my song and used it to enter multiple competitions, had been selling it on the internet (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Bandcamp and more) for AT LEAST 3 years, received air play, did interviews and even submitted a video of ME saying it was her to a TV show in the USA… But that story is almost a whole separate interview.
When did you first know you wanted to pursue music for a living?

Honestly, when I decided I was capable of learning 4 hours worth of music. I made a list and just learned song after song after song. Then I started booking my self in any bar, pub, restaurant, or event that would pay me to play. I wasn’t very good when I started, but there were a handful of venues that I’m sure just booked me because they pitied me and thought I was sweet. And I just played. I played SO VERY MUCH. Bar gigs are insanely good for your chops as far as getting comfortable and starting to find your own way of playing songs. Bar gigs are also terrible for anyone that doesn’t like having people yell “PLAY SOME SKYNARD” after every song you play. It’s tough actually.. those bar gigs, are good for some things but they can rip the soul right out of you and it’s almost an art in itself finding the balance between playing bar gigs to keep the bacon in your fridge and the carving out time to work on your passion of song writing. You HAVE to find that balance… or you’ll turn cold and jaded and just hate everything to do with music and the industry.

Thankfully’ I found a decent balance and, as of lately, I am blessed to be mainly just playing original shows now. There’s not a whole tone of bacon in my fridge… just a couple old soggy apples actually, but I’m very happy with where I am at right now.

What do you feel sets your music apart from other artists in the same genre?

HA HA! Well… I’m stubborn. And honestly, it gets me into more trouble than it does me good, but it keeps my music true to me. Now I tread lightly when I say that, because I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing the industry, because I am not. I love this industry actually. but like any industry there are certain protocol or industry standards that you are expected to meet. I have had a couple small, slightly heated discussions regarding, what songs should be on my record, or whether I can keep certain lyrics or what songs I should take out of my live set. I have an AMAZING team, and we love the music. We stay true to each song individually and how we feel that song should be represented, rather than the album or even the genre as a whole. As I always say, it’s a fun trail to blaze.
Do you have any Canadian artists that you draw inspiration from when creating your music?

Paul Brandt. He has been such an inspiration. I have always loved his music, and I love his authenticity. He is also a trail blazer… Small Towns and Big Dreams being released as a live recording and doing so well is SO AWESOME! I want to do that! He is also very true to his faith; being a Christian, I really admire that about him. He’s been pretty kind to me and very much a mentor… I had the pleasure of having a sit-down with him early last year. We stay in touch… he keeps me grounded, not scared to let me know if I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s pretty awesome. I’m very grateful to have someone like that.

And I have to say Dean Brody as well…. I am a huge fan of his music. There are some real roots to his tunes, he can write hits without too too much fluff in it. Having said that, I admit that the second I hear “Bring Down The House”… I’m dancing from the beginning until the end EVERY TIME. LOVE that tune.

What song, that you perform, best shows us who you are? Why?

Dirt Road Fortune. No question. That is one of my fave songs I’ve ever written and definitely our fave song to play live. I think it’s the kind of music we all (the band as a whole) love to play. It’s got that country, rootsy laid back vibe. It’s a real life song. The lyrics hit me hard every time I sing that one. When I get to the bridge I’m pretty much on another planet when we perform that.

As a relatively new artist to the scene, what do you see as the future of Canadian Country Music?

I personally feel like there might be a big shift happening in Country music right now. With Chris Stapleton on the rise (LOVE him) people are really sinking there teeth into the old-school Outlaw music. It’s kinda nice. I mean, I like to dance, so I like it all… but I do believe things are shifting… but I lost my crystal ball last week, so really I don’t have a clue.
What was it like to get the call from the CMAO to perform in London at New Faces Showcase West?

FRIGGEN AWESOME! Ya man. First of all, we did our recording in London at EMAC studios with producer, Dan Brodbeck,… I’m not scared/ashamed to say that I didn’t do it in Nashville. LONDON ONTARIO folks!! LOUD AND PROUD. We love the sounds we get with Dan at EMAC. … Another thing that sets me apart from other artists I suppose.

What is ahead for you for the rest of 2016?

In the past I would’ve fibbed on this part and made up some cool stuff… BUT this year, is truly turning out to be my craziest year yet. I thought last year was nuts with the song theft… it’s not slowing down. In May, we have 2 dates for CMW; May 3rd and 5th. Then, I’m heading down to Joshua Tree National Park’ in California’ to perform at the launch of Coleman USA’s new campaign. They are using my song “Own The Weekend” for the campaign.

Then, my new album comes out this summer… Words could never describe my excitement for this. Let’s just say I have a lifetime of effort put into this record. No joke.

When you are not performing, rehearsing or recording, what do you like to do for fun?

I’m a mama. So the kids and I like to play, we love camp fires, we do short little trips to somewhere cool and close to us. Tobermory is a favourite.

Some musicians name their instruments; please tell us what you play and if you have a special name for your instrument(s)? Is there a story behind the name?

I have lots of instruments. And I’m sad to say that none of them have names. Sometimes I call my Martin HD28 Marty… and although it seems really boring… it’s actually after Martin Sexton one of my all-time favourite songwriters, but Martin Sexton plays Godin guitars… so that makes the name pointless.

My dog’s (Pug-Shar-Pei) name is Billie Holiday, because Billie Holiday was a bad-ass, and so is my dog. - Canadian Beats

"Oh The Humanity of The Day! Reality Show ‘Do I Have A Hit Song’ Uncovers Fraud"

Whoops. If you’re going to commit fraud and steal someone’s song and claim it as your own, probably best not to do it on an international show where you’re likely to get called out. Not least by the person who actually wrote the song.

This sorry story happened on Do I Have A Hit Song, a reality singing contest where musicians submit an original song THAT THEY’VE WRITTEN and upload it online where the public gets to vote on it.

One “songwriter” Ivana Nosi​c entered a recording of what she claimed was her track, “Time to Breathe,” and people liked it, so she got a chance to perform it on the show. Which is when things started to unravel and the truth came out. She didn’t write the song, she was nothing but a fraud and a scoundrel and a ratings boost that the producers are no doubt entirely grateful for.

It all ended well anyway, because the actual person who wrote the song, Nashville musician Dani Strong, performed it for the producers via Skype.

And now, thanks to Ivana’s low down dirty rotten plagiarism, Dani is going to be a finalist on the show with “Time to Breathe,” even though she never entered the contest.

So there you go, sometimes people plagiarizing other people’s stuff does work out for the victim. The end. - Smash.com

"Cdn Going Strong on Nashville Star"

Dani Strong knew right away that she didn't quite fit in.

"Definitely my accent," she chuckles. "Everybody was so Southern. I figured I'm going to get tossed out for not having a Southern drawl."

Instead, the singer-songwriter from Newmarket has just learned that out of 20,000 contestants, she is one of 56 finalists and the only Canadian to make it to next week's regional finals for Nashville Star, country music's equivalent of American Idol.

Which is all pretty exciting for a 24-year-old songbird who hates reality TV and calls the Idol shows little more than "karaoke contests."

"I've always been against these," the outspoken Strong admits sheepishly over lunch, "but I always said that if I did one of them, I'd do Nashville Star -- they actually encourage you to play music and they encourage you to write your own songs."

It was on a whim that she went down to Indiana last month to line up with hundreds of other hopefuls and try her luck. She had just 30 seconds to impress the producers but it was enough to get her a call back the next day. She was then sent home to Newmarket to wait by the phone.

'LUCKY 56'

The call came a very long six weeks later -- Strong had beaten out thousands of contestants to become one of the "lucky 56" finalists. Next Friday, she will perform in front of a live audience in Nashville in a bid to become one of the final 10. The five men and five women chosen will appear on the fifth season of the show which begins Jan. 11 on USA Network with Jewel as co-host.

"I just want to get there so bad. I've never been to Nashville, I've never been out of Canada until last winter," she says, her voice a ripple of excitement. "I'm not scared, though. I don't know why."

Perhaps because Strong has been singing "forever" and writing songs since she was 13. When she is not teaching guitar to kids, she is performing gigs around the GTA. She says she loves all genres of music -- she even started out as a rocker -- but her heart is in country.

At the regional finals, she plans to sing What Hurts the Most by Rascal Flatts and Pumpkin, a touching song she wrote for her dad when she was a struggling York University music student without enough money to buy him a Father's Day gift.

Now the Lake Simcoe boat salesman will be in the Nashville audience next week cheering her on. "I just know I can't look at my dad," she says, "because if I see him crying, I'll lose it."

She promised him that she was going to be a star when she decided to drop out of university in 2002. But there was another reason why she had to leave school -- she was reeling from the sudden death of her best friend from meningitis. "I kept saying I was okay, but I wasn't," she recalls.

Since then, Strong has been pursuing her dream -- in her friend's memory. People tell her she sounds like a young Sheryl Crow while others wonder whether she'll be the next Shania Twain -- all of which makes her laugh once again. "I think Shania Twain is unbelievable and a massive inspiration but I don't think of her as a country artist.

"I don't want to be the next anybody," she adds. "That's what I try and avoid."

She knows the industry well enough to understand that it doesn't hurt that she's an attractive blond. But she is also adamant about being true to herself. That's why she's not willing to get rid of her lip ring -- or enhance parts of her body.

She was just 18 when a few shady men in suits offered her a record deal. It sounded great, until they got to the fine print. "They told me I needed a boob job. I turned it down."

Now she has a real chance at making it big. Other Canadians have done well on these American talent contests -- from Lukas Rossi of Rock star: Supernova to J.D. Fortune of Rock Star: INXS. Canadian George Canyon, a 2004 Nashville Star finalist, went on to win Male Artist of the Year and Single of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Awards.


"I just want to get on that stage," Strong says. "I know I have what it takes."

She certainly has talent, looks and a great sense of humour. And then there's her Canadian edge. Nashville Star asked her to film a typical day in her life -- so she naturally took her video camera to a hockey game.

"I'm a hardcore Leaf fan," she says.

And there are certainly not too many of those among her fellow contestants.

Strong has also spent these last frenzied days before she heads to Nashville filling out pages of background checks for the show, including listing every possible traffic citation she's ever had. "They want to make sure we don't have any skeletons in our closet."

The final question on the multitude of forms asks if there's anything in her background that would be an embarrassment to her, the producers or the talent show.

And actually, Strong smiles, there is.

"I wrote that I was the best belcher in my high school," she says with pride. "I can do anything in a burp." - Toronto Sun

"Nashville Star Regionals: Day Three at The Stage"

... We thought that several original songs that stood out above the rest included “Pumpkin” by Dani Strong and “Half Way to Memphis” performed by Kacey Musgraves which was co-written with former Nashville Star Alumi Miranda Lambert's dad, Rick Lambert. ...... - About.com/Nashville (written by: Jan Duke)



Dani Strong is a singer/songwriter and a powerful vocalist with dynamic stage presence. Her debut album, Time To Breathe has already hit #1 on the iTunes country charts and #2 over all genres at iTunes.  The album has also pulled in two nominations at the 2017 CMAO awards.  Dani is blazing her trail as an independent artist in both Canada and south of the border as well.    Dani has worked hard for years to build a career as a writer and an artist; she was all but ready to give it up when an unusual circumstance changed everything.  Her career was kicked into high gear after she discovered one of her songs had been stolen and claimed by another vocalist and then sold and used to enter competitions all over Canada and the USA.  A crazy tale and an unfortunate situation that has breathed life into what looks like a very promising future for this talented artist!

Dani’s story is one of dedication, heart, loss and triumph. It has not been a short and paved road to where she is now.  She has learned, first hand, what it means to “pay your dues” and earn the respect of seasoned musicians, industry representatives and music fans alike.

Band Members