YEL (Danielle Loving) was born and raised in Pasco, Washington and now resides in Los Angeles, California.
Can you share a bit about your current project?
My current project coming out soon is called “Cruise Control”. It’s an R&B-influenced EP that expresses the feelings of love, struggles, and moments in relationships. To describe it, it’s like a road trip—the feelings that we experience in relationships, the highs and the lows, falling in love and out of love, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. Oftentimes when we experience relationships, we think about the beginning or the end and not the journey in between. Love is a lot like cruise control, feeling and moving in the moment at its own pace, in its own time, in its own way. When we choose to look at it from the outside looking in, it's really just about the moments on the journey to finding love and being in love.
What a powerful reminder that all of our experiences are valuable, regardless of whether the outcome matches our expectations. What inspired you to write about this?
I believe love is one of the most important things in this world. And oftentimes, we are challenged the most in relationships. I took some time out to look at myself and my own feelings and experiences with relationships, and friendships. Through it all, love is universal, and it could be understood by anybody.
How do you think people can practice staying in the moment in their loves and relationships?
Well, I believe living in the moment is an intentional mindset to have. A lot of times we focus too much on what is to be instead of what is. A lot of times that takes away from the joy of living in that moment. A good friend once told me to always live life ten seconds at a time. And once I started doing that, it made everything so much easier and gave me space to enjoy life.
Does writing help connect you to the present moment?
Writing definitely helps me connect to present moments. I like to write a lot about my present moments and feelings. Writing is like therapy for me. Oftentimes it helps me get through the things I’m going through in life.
What inspires you?
What inspires me to do music is life itself — being able to create music that moves people, and also going through life struggles and writing music based on my own experiences, and seeing how people relate to it. I enjoy surrounding myself with like-minded creatives and people who live through their art. Everything I am exists in my art.
How have personal challenges impacted your work?
My personal challenges are my work. I live through my music and my art. Being true to oneself is [what] I live by in life as well as in my music. My personal challenges have helped me become the artist I am today, and without them I wouldn’t be the artist that I am.
It sounds like writing is super autobiographical for you. How does it feel to share so much of yourself with the public? Do individuals from your audience often share their experiences with you because they connect to your story? How does this exchange influence your work?
Yes, writing is definitely autobiographical for me. It feels therapeutic to often write about myself or things I’ve been through and go through in life. In my mind, I can only speak from my own experience. I do get a lot of people who reach out about my music and how they relate to it or how it’s helped them in life in some kind of way. And for me, those comments and conversations make what I do worth it every time. Growing up, the music and artists I listened to helped me through life with their artistry; and as an artist, one of my biggest goals is to help people in a positive light with my music the way my idols did. So it all motivates me to continue to do what I do.
Can you share a bit of your artistic philosophy?
Be true to who you are, and stand on it. My father was a musician as well, and growing up, when I started to write lyrics and record, he’d often tell me to ‘find my own voice.’ As a child, I truly didn’t understand it until I chose to do music as a career. I believe it’s important to find purpose in life and to also embrace who you are, no matter what others might say or think.
With a father who was also a musician, did you always know art would be an integral part of your life?
Yes, I always knew art would be an integral part for sure. Music has always been deeper for me. It holds so much power and energy, and I’ve always connected to it deeply because of my father. And now that my parents are gone, it will forever be my connection to them.
What would you say to someone who wants to start writing but is afraid to take the leap?
I would tell them to go for it and to always believe in yourself no matter what.
How can our community better support artists?
I’d tell them to follow them on social media; share their art or music with their friends; repost their work; stream their projects, and go to their shows! The more you show love, the more we’ll be able to give.
She is an artist, art instructor, and facilitator in Tri-Cities, Washington. Her work explores the themes of connection and intergenerational stories through experimentation in painting, photography, installation, and sculpture. Ashleigh is passionately dedicated to facilitating accessible arts programming in her community.