A new single from Ann Arbor's Dani Darling takes on social-media weirdness during lockdown


Dani Darling S+M single cover

Ann Arbor singer-songwriter Dani Darling and her bandmates were recording a new EP in a studio when the Covid-19 stay-at-home order began. The Reverie EP is still on track for release this summer, but the first single, "S+M," features Darling solo.

"I found myself with those sessions and more to say, so I went back to doing my bedroom pop, late-night studio sessions," Darling said. "The beat is by a London producer GC Beats. Really just sounded like Dani when I heard it."

"S+M" features jazzy guitar chords over a slow-groove R&B beat with Darling's ethereal voice floating over the mix. She sings playful puns to tell her tale about what it feels like to be a musician in lockdown.

"'S+M' is a snapshot of my experience during the stay-at-home order -- my music career on hold indefinitely, feeling social media shift from a strength to something sinister," Darling said. "If felt like a scramble for the airwaves, like either you shut down and take time for yourself or you dive right in and try to make a wave, make a difference. I wanted to do that because I don't think of my music as purely entertainment -- it's a way to connect and healing is a big theme in this project. So I wanted to make an impact, but it started to feel like an unhealthy relationship. Sometimes you go online and you know you shouldn't; sometimes you go look at someone's [social] media knowing it will hurt and do it anyway. Sometimes people form an unhealthy relationship to you as fans."

Even though "S+M" was created by Darling in her bedroom, she said the EP's songs featuring the full band are in a similar vein.

"Reverie is everything people expect from me: dreamy, lo-fi, ambient band arrangements, old soul, stripped-down piano, cinematic samples."

Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.

Dani Darling performs at 8 pm at the Juneteenth Abolition Block Party, which runs 4-11 pm, at Ypsilanti's Frog Island Park.

➥ "Ann Arbor artist Dani Darling debuts with a new single, video, and name" [Pulp, November 29, 2018]