Who am I?
Such a loaded question...
I am Daphné Mia Essiet, an American-born Franco-Nigerian artist who write + composes her own music and play the Ukulele. I am also a Poet and visual artist.
Shortly after I was born, my mother relocated to the south of France, so to be closer to her family
This is is where I grew up for the most part.
As a child I was shy and liked to keep to myself. Always very independent and studious, I remember being fascinated by Greek mythology (because of my name) and loved reading and writing poetry in my spare time.
I listened to many genres of music. Classical music through my mother (Berlioz, Satie), French pop on TV and radio (Gainsbourg or Claude Francois), but also Bob Marley and a whole lot of American Music. I remember having great appreciation for it and wanted to know it all. One of my uncles had brought up a "Real Book" with hundreds of song lyrics, that I patiently would replicate by hand in Daphne's Book "the Book of Songs" - In it you could find titles such as Cat's in the Cradle, I Just Called to Say I Love You or Je Danse le Mia. I was also very impressed by Elton John and Patrick Bruel and loved to sing along with them.
At that time I discovered and felt in love with Bossa Nova at one of my friend's Romy's (shorts for Rose-Marie). Her family was Portuguese and they had cable. I can't be certain, but I believe that one of the popular Novela closing credit songs was Jobim's Luiza. Brazilian music was buzzing in France and popular TV used the genre extensively like in the Schweppes commercial and Gilberto Gil Toda Menina Baiana. This would have a very lasting impact and encouraged me to learn Portuguese in HS, then later get even more into BN.
In the early 90's CD became a thing. My first purchased ever were Lenny Kravitz Mama Said and Mariah Carey Music Box - albums [I still own and occasionally play in my boom box - since my computer does not have a CD player]...
It was clear for everyone that I had a strong connection with music; unfortunately, there were a lot of road blocks ahead of me. Firstly, the career was not considered viable because of the lack of financial stability and volatility of it all - something I had experienced first hand, my mother being a vocalist. Secondly, I had been discouraged because my untrained voice sounded nothing like a Whitney, Mariah or Celine - These expectations fed my already established insecurities and I became extremely self-aware of my so called limitations. I did not understand how much dedication, strong will and work came with becoming an artist and thought instead that it had to be innate.
Early 2000 I moved to Paris and kept writing lyrics, mainly for myself, was feature on French Hip Hop music project, but it wasn't until when I moved to the US in 2004 that new paths opened. I had still a long road ahead, but it really when my musical journey truly started.
So, as you were able to read so far Music was always part of my life. The past decade has been about lifting up those crippling fears and insecurities that prevented me from having a clear purposeful goal. As my confidence improved, toxic relationships disappeared and subsequently amazing, caring and supporting people appeared into my life I was able to finally come to my senses and realize THIS IS MY PATH.
I know I still have a lot of work to do and dues to pay, but I am now willing to work very hard, fail and get up and walk towards my goals.
On this blog I will share my story, hoping to entertain but mainly inspire those who feel their dream out of reach, because it is never too late to start over - again.
Thank you for reading and see you in next weeks for more!
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