R&B and neosoul singer Danae Simone looked at the lineup of hip-hop shows in Denver and noticed something missing: women.
“You get these local rap shows. People will spend their ten dollars or twenty dollars to be there to see these guys perform,” Simone explains. “There’s maybe one girl on the show, but they’re on at six o’clock, when no one is there.”
To fill this void, Simone has organized her own showcase, Women Crush Wednesday Live. The lineup spotlights metro-area women artists, including Kayla Rae Jackson and Povi. Simone’s goal for the showcase is to unify women to support each other's art.
“Everyone loves to see women be in competition with each other,” Simone says. “For once, it feels good to not have that. All of the women, especially on this show, love and respect each other. Even before the show, [I would] randomly see these girls commenting on each other’s pictures. It means something to me that they’re not hating on each other and [instead] showing genuine love. It feels good; you don’t get that with women all the time.”
WCW Live, Simone's first go at organizing a showcase, is the result of growing up in Denver's male-dominated music scene, as well as having spent time in Atlanta, where she moved after graduating from college in her early twenties. There she wrote songs for small, private companies and local artists. In Atlanta, she learned to navigate the music industry.
“I was able to get a different perspective on everything, especially as an artist,” Simone says. “A lot of people make it in Atlanta, for whatever reason; it’s constant networking there. I feel like I got to see how things are done, the right way...how I should go to different bars and places as an artist, how I should present myself. Even the people who are local [in Atlanta], their whole presence was star quality.”
She says her brand as Danae Simone the singer is rooted in women's empowerment. “I’m singing these songs that most of the women can relate to in the crowd — but the men can relate, too, just on the other side. I’ve had men come up to me and [say], ‘I realized how I may have hurt a few girls, by listening to your music.’”
The main theme of her lyrics: self-love.
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“That’s what really molds Danae Simone: that girl empowerment, girl power, all about my ladies, all about our self-love,” Simone says. “That’s my number-one thing: Women, we’ve got this. If you don’t love me, I love me. That’s how I look at life; I love me, so I’m going to keep going. No matter where I’m at, I’ll make sure my presence is known and respected.”
Earlier this summer, Simone released an EP titled MySelfieLife. Each song tells the story of who she truly is beyond what one may see on social media.
“I [found competition in the local scene] until I connected with these girls,” Simone says. “I became confident in myself. This is my lane; I don’t have time to swerve into anyone else’s lane. I’m not trying to be above or beneath anyone.... I think that’s where everyone is starting to be at. I’m confident in what I do. I support what you do. I love your music and lyrics, too. Let’s do something together.”
Danae Simone at Women Crush Wednesday Live, 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 31, Lincoln Street Station Bar and Grill, 776 Lincoln Street, $10, 303-885-8589.