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Singer-songwriter and Guitarist Danielia Cotton Returns to the Hopewell Theater With Her “Home For The Holidays” Show Dec. 17


By Carolyn M. Brown, JerseyArts.com

originally published: 12/09/2022

Singer-songwriter and Guitarist Danielia Cotton Returns to the Hopewell Theater With Her “Home For The Holidays” Show Dec. 17

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Danielia Cotton is returning to her hometown of Hopewell, New Jersey for the holiday season with a concert at the Hopewell Theater Saturday, Dec. 17, at 8 p.m. With her big and bold vocals, Cotton has been compared to such iconic artists as Lenny Kravitz, Janis Joplin and Tina Turner. She has carved out a niche in the music industry with her own unique soulful-rock sound and uncompromising artistry, having shared the stage with the likes of Robert Cray, Bon Jovi and Gregg Allman.

Fittingly called “Home for the Holidays,” Cotton’s show will feature music from her latest studio album, “Good Day,” released in 2021, and seven previous albums. She also will perform newly written music, in preparation of sorts, before heading into a recording studio to belt out her next album. “It's always good as a musician to be able to try out a song on a live audience to get a feel for what works well,” she says.  

Cottons hopes audiences will be blown away by her live performance. “So much can be said for the power of a live audience. A screen is one thing,” she says referring to people watching streamed performances during the COVID shutdown. For her, playing live in front of an audience helps to elevate her performance. “You take in the energy of the room.”

The New York City-based artist was born and raised in the small town of Hopewell, where there were very few faces of color like her own. In fact, her debut album, “Small White Town,” which was released in 2005, was inspired by her experience growing up as a multiracial child in a predominantly white community. Cotton’s mother is of African American, Native American and European descent. Her father, whom she never met, is Puerto Rican and Spanish.

Songwriting is sometimes cathartic for her. “I had good experiences (growing up) and some bad which I think made me strong,” says Cotton. “Coming back home, and to do so on my own terms, is always great. This area has become much more racially diverse and much more open to supporting organizations that help those who are different,” she adds, noting how rewarding it has been performing on stage at the Hopewell Theater throughout the years.



 
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Cotton’s second studio album, “Rare Child,” released in 2008, was ranked in the top 10 albums downloaded on iTunes during its first week. The following year, she released the EP “Live Child,” which won the ninth Annual Independent Music Award for Best Live Album. She released the EPs “The Gun in Your Hand,” “The Real Book” and “The Prayer” in 2012, 2014 and 2016, respectively. Her studio album “The Mystery of Me,” released in 2017, is an electric mix of rock and soul, from the soaring single "Set Me Free" to the deeply personal "Drink" and the upbeat "4 Ur Life," which pulls inspiration from classic Motown music as well as Sly and the Family Stone.

Singer-songwriter and Guitarist Danielia Cotton Returns to the Hopewell Theater With Her “Home For The Holidays” Show Dec. 17

Cotton’s original songs are rooted in experiences and events that have affected her, which has turned out to be a spot-on life soundtrack. During the COVID shutdown, Cotton released the EP “A Different War” in 2020, which offers up her take on navigating the tempestuous waters of social injustice, racism, gender inequality, greed and the political divide as well as topics of love and relationships.

Cotton says she takes great comfort in knowing her family will be out in the audience when she performs at Hopewell Theater this month. She comes from a musical family. Her mother was a jazz singer who also performed with her six sisters in an a cappella gospel group. Cotton joined her mother and aunts as a girl which is where she learned harmony. Her father was a singer and a guitarist.

When she was 12 years old, Cotton’s mother gave her a guitar and a how-to book. Teaching herself to play was a form of expression and means to deal with emotional teen angst. “It was a life-turning moment. I literally would not come out of my room for a few days except to eat,” she says. Joshing about the years it takes for every guitarist to develop calluses on their fingertips, once she mastered the instrument, she was ready to pen her first song.

Cotton was exposed to different musical genres early on — gospel, jazz, rhythm and blues and rock. So, her musical influences run the gamut from Mavis Staples and Billie Holliday to Stevie Wonder and Led Zeppelin. “My mom had Bonnie Raitt albums, and to this day, I think she's one of my favorite female guitarists,” says Cotton.

In recent years, she learned to play the piano and in doing so it has changed her life tremendously because it expanded her musical palette and elevated her songwriting. As she explains, composing songs “with a piano creates a whole new musical vocabulary than the guitar.”

Her writing process depends on when a song comes to her. Earlier in her career, she would sit down with the intent to write a song. Now, she can be anywhere and on the go which is why she values today’s technology. “I can sing in my iPhone and record it in that moment but then go back later to flush out the idea (for a song),” she says. “I think when you write a song you have to honor what it is in that moment.”



 
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Never one to stay in her lane, Cotton advises aspiring singer-songwriters to find their own voice and to stay the course no matter what disappointments they face, and what stumbling blocks are put in their path. “You have to know who you are always, and don't look for somebody else to (validate) you,” she adds. “Move forward with complete mental confidence in whatever you decide to do (you will go far and you will succeed).”

She also points out that having discipline in terms of honing your craft is crucial to success. “You never want to ride on natural ability alone,” she explains. “Even natural (musical) ability with practice and real commitment elevates you to a ridiculous level.”

Advanced tickets for Cotton’s “Home for the Holidays” Show at the Hopewell Theater are $35-$40 plus tax and fees. Day of the show tickets are $45 plus taxes and fees. For more information on the show or to purchase tickets, visit hopewelltheater.com.

This video features Danielia’s “Good Day” and images of Hopewell, New Jersey.




About the author: Carolyn M. Brown is an investigative journalist, editor, author, playwright, multimedia content producer and an entrepreneur. She has produced content spanning across a portfolio of platforms, including print, digital media, broadcast, theater arts, and custom events. Her publication credits include Essence, Forbes, Inc., and Diversity Woman magazines. She is a founding board member of the Paterson Performing Arts Development Council, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing together diverse communities through the performing arts and cultural events and to creating pathways for new and established artists.

Content provided by Discover Jersey Arts, a project of the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation and New Jersey State Council on the Arts.




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