7 Questions For Dafna
Dafna is a singer/songwriter and producer who works as a software engineer in Los Angeles. She is originally from Boulder, Colorado. Dafna has opened for artists like Adam Melchor and Yoke Lore, and in August of 2022, Dafna's song "NOT A BREAKUP" went viral on Tiktok. JWA sat down with Dafna to discuss her music career thus far.
JWA: How did you first get started making music?
Dafna: When I was four, my parents signed me up for piano lessons; they did that with all of my siblings. My older brother and sister were both making music and writing songs, and I saw that and I was like, that seems pretty fun. High school is when I really got into songwriting. When I graduated, my brother let me use his software and I figured out how to produce my songs and started releasing them.
JWA: You have your song “8NIGHTS,” and I noticed that in a lot of your photos you wear a Star of David. I'm wondering if your Jewish identity plays a role in your music beyond that one song.
Dafna: Being Jewish is mainly a cultural thing for me. I'm not super religious, but the values that Judaism brings are super important to me. I just wear my necklace because it’s a part of who I am and I don't think much of it. But, I had one music video where I was wearing it and one of the YouTube comments was like, “Oh my God, it's so exciting to see you wear that necklace.” And I was like, oh, I guess this means something to people as much as it does to me. It was cool to see that.
I don't really write too much about being Jewish. It's usually just about relationships. But I think, with the fan base, being able to connect with other Jewish people has been really cool. After “8NIGHTS” I had a lot more Jewish people that started listening to my music, which was really exciting.
JWA: I saw that you got your degree at CU Boulder in electrical engineering. Does that background inform your music in any way?
Dafna: Kind of. There were some classes I took that had to do with signals and sound waves, so some of that information is applicable when I'm mixing a song. But I can create a lot of stuff for the music, which is very helpful. I created my own website—I love that I've been able to do that—and I made a video game that had to do with one of my albums. That was also really fun to do. It gives me more room for creativity with technical stuff. But I think it was more for having a job so I can focus on making music without it being stressful. Right now I work in software engineering, and then I do music on the side and it's been great.
JWA: It sounds like you pretty much manage everything from writing the music to producing it to creating the graphics. Can you share what that process looks like for you?
Dafna: It’s different for every song. I've had ones where I’ve had all of the songs for the album months in advance, and then I roll everything out and create the graphics after. I've also had ones where I finished the song pretty close to when it's supposed to come out and then I’m like, oh wait, I have to make this for my website to announce it, or I kind of want a lyric video, let me try and make that in the next few days. So it's pretty chaotic, but it is fun to have an idea and be able to implement it. When I first started out in music, I didn't really know how to do graphic design or make videos and all of that. I've been learning a lot of like new skills, which has been really cool.
JWA: You recently opened for Adam Melchor. How was that?
Dafna: I mean it was really exciting, he was one of my top artists on Spotify last year. In August of 2022 he followed me on TikTok, and I was freaking out about it. He commented on one of my videos and after that, I don't know exactly what went down—I think my manager talked to his manager and then he let me open for him in Denver. He was just so nice; it was a really fun experience.
JWA: That's so cool. Are there any other artists that you would love to open for?
Dafna: There's so many people, especially since moving to L.A. I just see so many cool people doing amazing music things and I would just be honored to play a show with any of them. Ash is definitely one of them. I love her and her music. One of her albums, the second most recent, I listened to for like four months straight. Opening for her one day would be really cool.
JWA: What has been inspiring you recently?
Dafna: I'm in a weird life transition phase where I have no idea what's going on with anything. A lot of new feelings and experiences, because in college I was living with my parents until senior year. So now me moving out of the house and to a new city brings a lot of new fun experiences. So it's definitely been giving a lot of inspiration.