Daniela AndradeDaniela Andrade. The name might still be unknown to you, but bear it in mind, especially if you’re a fan of Milk & Bone, Kroy and Charlotte Cardin. On July 15, 2016, Andrade released a visual EP entitled Shore, composed of four songs, each with its own video directed by Jeremy Comte. “The shore is where the sea meets the land,” says the 23-year-old singer-songwriter. “When you stand on this boundary, you either jump in the water or on dry land. I use this metaphor to mean being ready for a major new stage: falling in love, trying something new, heading into the unknown. It can sometimes be hard to do, even when you know you have to. You hold on to what’s familiar… and then you leave your loved ones and everything you know in order to grow as a person. It’s a big scary leap, but it’s necessary.”

Born in Montréal, Daniela grew up in Edmonton. She moved to Toronto about 18 months ago, but life dragged her back to her native town. “I came to Montréal last summer to record my album at Studios Apollo with Gabriel Gagnon (producer) and I really like the city,” she says. “I also worked with Jeremy Comte, the video director. Everything in Montréal was beckoning me, and I now live in Le Plateau!”

Many have discovered Andrade through YouTube, thanks to her acoustic covers of classics from pop and rock repertoire, like The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?”, Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love” or Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie,” the video of which has garnered more than 300 million views, sees Shakira herself sitting at the end of a couch, eating fruit and playing on her phone.

The songs unfold differently, undulating slowly. Is this a way for Andrade to reveal her musical DNA? “They’re songs I really love, or that influenced me deeply,” she says. “I chose them for their lyrics, which I felt weren’t put forward as much in their original versions. I even dared to cover Radiohead’s ‘Creep,’ a rather perilous feat, since covering such a classic would inevitably irritate some people. But I was dying to do I,t and my manager dared me to!”

Often compared to the likes of Norah Jones and Cat Power, Andrade says she’s more influenced by the great voices of jazz: Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. “When you hear them, you really feel the emotions in the songs,” she says. “Even when they’re happy songs, it feels like they’re singing from a painful place.”

Andrade herself manages to express a subtle mix of melancholy and sensuality. She’s been singing since she was a toddler. “We were always singing at my house,” she says. “I signed up for choirs when I was in school. At about 13, I started tinkering with the guitar and my father taught me a few chords. Then, I perfected my learning using YouTube! My family is from Honduras, and my dad was always listening to mariachi music at home! I learned in a very organic way, simply from my surroundings.”

In an effort to better her skills even more, Andrade participated in the second edition of SOCAN’s Kenekt Song Camp, held in May 2016 in Upper Kingsbury, Nova Scotia. “Up to now, writing a song had always been a solitary experience,” she says. “It was a great adventure to work that way, every day, surrounded by music creators. We’d meet each morning to bounce ideas off each other. We’d write several songs every day, sometimes for specific people. But sometimes, the person destined to sing a song will change, mid-way through the writing! They were produced and recorded on the same day. We recorded 25 songs in all; it’s crazy! I also learned that small ideas should not be discarded; sometimes, as a songwriter, we’re very harsh with ourselves and we discard good ideas too quickly.”

It was also the first time Andrade had visited Nova Scotia. “It’s such a magnificent place,” she says. “The ocean lies at our feet, and there are sheep grazing right next to it.”

To Andrade, music is a way to reveal her true self. “I believe that we try to tell our story through our songs, to reveal small parts of ourselves,” she says. “I think it’s important to go beyond small talk and speak the truth. When I write, I tap into my memories and the experiences that have made me who I am. My music truly is a portrait of who I am, and what I’ve been through.”