Music, coupled with a passion, is what Davina Leone is all about. The Miami native has one of the most soulful and euphonious voices around — and she's only twenty years old! With millions of views on Youtube, Davina Leone is definitely a star on the rise. Growing up in a family of musicians, the singer got her start in musical theatre at a young age. Her heavy musical background probably explains why she's so good at what she does.
Davina is the walking symbol of strength and a kind heart. Having gone through years of bullying during her school years, Davina has decided to use her success to inspire schoolkids all over the world. Davina is the celebrity ambassador for anti-bullying organisation Defeat The Label, for which she recorded a song "For The Haters". She has been touring schools around the United States to educate them about bullying on a tour she calls The Message Tour.
We chatted with Davina about her anti-bullying work as well as her debut album Awake, which was released in July 2013. Awake was produced and co-written by Richie Supa, who is perhaps best known for his work with Aerosmith.
You are an ambassador for anti-bullying organisation Defeat The Label. What inspired you to team up with Defeat The Label?
I was bullied all throughout high school and knew I wanted to make difference for kids who are going through it now. Defeat The Label is all about sticking to who you are and doing what you love, which is exactly what I'm about!
Tell us more about The Message Tour!
The Message Tour is a chance for me to travel different schools and tell kids about the dangers of bullying, while also introducing the effects of positivity and self-love. I focus on what kids can do to build their self-esteem and reinforce the person they want to be by getting in touch with what they love to do.
Do you ever get writer's block while writing a song?
Yes! Songs can either take ten minutes or four hours to write! Sometimes I'll get writer's block for a month and not come up with anything. But most of the time, the ideas will pour out if I'm writing about something I'm really passionate about.
Your debut album Awake was recently released - which is your favourite song to perform from Awake?
Definitely "My Next Mistake"! We rock out onstage for that one and it's super fun to play!
How did your first time hearing your song on the radio feel like?
I did! It was a very weird experience — I was with my friends in the car and heard a familiar voice and I was like, "Is that...?" We turned it up and started freaking out. We filmed the whole thing. It was an amazing feeling.
The concept for the "Smile For Me" video is pretty unique. What inspired the story line for the video?
The song has a sixties vibe to it, so I immediately knew I wanted to do something around that era. I love Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Mardot so I knew I wanted to incorporate their looks into the video. Since the song's about telling someone you love them no matter what, I thought the story of the soldier and performer would be perfect. It also kind of reflected my real life situation since I was travelling to perform and had a boyfriend who was going off to college. I thought it was something people could relate to.
What was the process of filming the video for your cover of "Royals" like?
My brother Jon and I had decided to cover the song and he went straight to producing the sound. He has a studio in his room so it's easy to work on songs. He made the drums and bass and when it was ready to lay down vocals, we called our friend videographer Dan Jorge to come film. We do all the vocals live on camera so every video you see is me singing then and there! It was a fun and easygoing experience because we were among friends and just in our house filming a video!
What is the most memorable event of your career so far?
I think the most memorable moment was when I played at KIIS FM's Grammys party. I was surrounded by all these stars I had grown up idolising and singing for them! Jordin Sparks was there and after I sang, she came up to me and told me she loved my voice. It was a huge full circle moment because I had been singing her songs at every voice lesson since I was 15! And here she was, telling me she loved my voice! It was truly a dream come true.
Do you have any advice for victims of bullying?
Don't let the bullies stop you from being who you are! Accentuate that part of you that you love because you will feel so much better about yourself. Focus on activities that you enjoy doing and follow your heart. Those who matter will follow soon enough.