Using music as a platform to uplift others, Dakota continues to push beyond the American Idol world stage.
Dakota instantly found a connection to music when she started singing at the young age of five. Her musical abilities extended beyond her five-octave vocal range as she also learned how to play guitar, bass, ukulele, keys, drums, and timbales.
Growing up Dakota faced hardship being bullied and treated as an outsider, but music is what motivated her and moved her forward. Drawing influences from classic rock, to recently transitioning to R&B, Dakota’s diverse knowledge enables her to shine in every genre she transforms herself into. Inspired by the sounds of Stax and Motown, Dakota finds her voice and hopes to bring this sound back to the forefront of pop music.
Her multifaceted talent has landed Dakota on Conan O’Brien, Russell Brand, and The NAMM Show, performing with the likes of Orianthi, Jackson Browne, Richie Sambora, Brad Wilk, and Tool’s Danny Carey.
In addition to her television and charity performances, Dakota has performed at Lollapalooza, Milwaukee’s Summerfest and Gathering Of The Vibes. Based in Los Angeles she’s performed locally at both the Whiskey a Go Go and the iconic Troubadour.
We recently sat down with multi-talented and multi-faceted Dakota to learn more about her experience on American Idol and her latest passion project that resulted in a music video for her single “No One” that she produced with the help of her all-girl crew.
MIW: Tell us about your experience on American Idol…what it was like auditioning and making it to the top 40.
Dakota: I was hesitant in the beginning because I’ve heard all of these horror stories about being on reality tv, but I decided to just go for it. I soon became very excited to experience this new realm of the music industry. I was so excited and honored. Everyone that I had met on my American Idol journey was so talented and we became an “Idol” family. I felt blessed to be apart of a group filled with the best musicians I have ever met in my life. I am so grateful.
MIW: What happened after you left the show? Did the experience help your career? What’s been going on since?
Dakota: Since being on American Idol, I released my debut single, “No One.” I am also continuing my artistry by writing, recording, & gigging constantly. Through Idol, I gained a different perspective of the music industry. I found a stronger sense of myself being on the show. I stuck to being myself and never strayed from that. I am more confident than ever and I’m so grateful for my time on the show. I’m still going to pursue a serious music career as an artist and see where that takes me.
MIW: What are your thoughts about auditioning again for AI next year?
Dakota: I’m definitely open to the idea.
MIW: You’ve been singing since you were 5 years old. At what age did you know that you wanted to be an artist?
Dakota: I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was in my first band at 9 years old. Ever since my first gig with my band, I knew that was where I belong.
MIW: You’ve got such an amazing voice. What has been your journey to becoming such a strong vocalist and musician?
Dakota: I’ve always loved singing and playing instruments since I was super little, but when I was 9, I decided that I wanted to pick up every instrument in a band. I’ve learned these instruments by just sitting in with other bands and figuring it out as I go. I learn through experience and throwing myself out there to make mistakes and learn from them.
MIW: What is your favorite instrument and why?
Dakota: I would say my favorite instrument right now is timbales. I’ve only recently started playing timbales and I love it. The versatility in the styles and techniques can give the instrument so many colors. It’s so fun to jam with and just have a blast playing.
MIW: You did such a great job on your music video “No One.” What did you learn heading up such a fun and creative project?
Dakota: The music video for “No One” was a learning experience for me. This was my first ever music video and I had to come up with all of the scenes, outfits, location, crew, and all of the things in between. It was incredibly stressful trying to get everything in place for shooting and editing, but it’s done and exactly how I wanted it. I’m so proud of myself for accomplishing such an amazing project and something that I had no idea how to do.
MIW: What is your favorite part about the music industry? Your least favorite? Why?
Dakota: My favorite part about the music industry is collaboration. I love working with other talented musicians and writers to make great music. My least favorite thing about the music industry is the fake people that talk a big game and don’t follow through. It’s hard to weed them out but there’s always something good that comes out of every interaction.
MIW: What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Dakota: I would say to keep going and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough. I’ve been told countless times that “it’s not your time” “you’re not made for this industry” and best of all, “you’re not a good singer at all.” None of these things have stopped me and it should never stop you. Find the people who support you and focus on them.
MIW: How can our readers connect with you on social media, learn more about you, or stream/download your music and/or videos?
Dakota: They can listen to my single and check out the video using Songlink and connect with me on social anytime. I love connecting with people!
Snapchat: dakota_music55 on Snapchat