Dayna Madison has been dancing and entertaining the masses since she can remember. From the first time she took a dance class at age three to now, Dayna feels the most comfortable on stage, performing, and living in her truth.

And now, she’s ready to step into the limelight as her own recording artist.

The La Mirada, California native describes herself as “a multifaceted, multi-hyphen, multi-genre artist. A lot of my music influences are from Orange County, so a lot of house music. A lot of [fist pumps]. Then I moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where I found a lot of who I am. I found a lot of flavor in my music. Growing up with a lot of R&B in the house, being raised in Orange County then going to Memphis, it definitely has shaped how I view music.”

Dayna Madison was previously a contestant on the show So You Think You Can Dance, before joining the dance team at the NBA basketball team Memphis Grizzlies. After relocating back to California, she made the conscious decision to focus on her music career, which combines the genres of R&B, soul, pop, and electronic music. 

Most recently, Dayna unveiled her newest single titled “Medicine,” inspired directly by her boo. To date, she’s had her music placed in Baddies South, Grown-ish, and Bel-Air

Sheen spoke with Dayna Madison in downtown Los Angeles to discuss her love for music, how she started dancing, the making of “Medicine,” studio essentials, doing So You Think You Can Dance, and more!

What led you to relocate to Memphis?

I went to Memphis for school. I went there for the dance team. I was on the University of Memphis dance team. I danced for the Grizzlies for a little bit. Before I was singing, I was dancing. For 23 years. I’m still dancing, that was my first love. 

Who were the R&B artists you listened to growing up?

One of my biggest inspirations was Beyonce. I mean, she’s always been Beyonce. I always was thinking, I want to dance behind Beyonce. But as I started getting into music… it was a great goal. Now that I’m trying to get out of being in the background so much and \be more in the spotlight, I aspire to not be like Beyonce — but I’m inspired by her ,to be my own artist. Be the head of what I’m doing. [laughs]

Favorite Beyonce song?

Oh my god, that’s so hard. There’s so many. Maybe “Deja Vu,” or “1+1.” There’s so many. [laughs]

What got you into dancing?

I started dancing when I was 3. I always knew that I wanted to dance. I’d sit in my little playpen, watching TV that my mom was watching. It was always these dance shows, I’d just dance along with it. I asked her “mommy mommy, can you take me to class dance? She said, “you can go to class dance when you’re 3.” As soon as I turned 3 that day, I went to dance class for the first time and haven’t stopped since.

I love that, it must be natural for you.

Performing is a natural thing for me. I’ve always been an entertainer. I just want to be onstage. That’s where I feel the most comfortable: on stage, in the lights.

When did you realize you wanted to do music for a living?

I always thought I had it in me. I always wanted to, I was afraid. When something’s new and you don’t know how you’re going to be at it, I was a little bit afraid. About 3 years ago is when I stepped into making music. Since then, it’s been really good. I’ve grown a lot, and my audience has grown a lot too. It’s nice. 

How would you describe your sound?

I’d describe myself as diverse. [laughs] I make a lot of different types of music, but what’s constant is my most melodic tone. When people hear me sing, they say they love my tone a lot. Me personally, I love my deeper tone. It’s sexier, but I also like high energy. Hitting the notes and doing vocal gymnastics.

You just released “Medicine.” Who or what inspired this one?

That man right over there. [points to boyfriend] Honestly, it was funny because it was supposed to be a sneaky link. I flew to Tennessee to meet him for the first time, because I met him on TikTok. 

Did he slide in the DMs?

I slid in the DMs. [laughs] We started talking, then I flew to Tennessee. It ended up being a love story basically.

Was this after you moved to Memphis?

This is when I moved back to LA. I had never met him. I know, it’s so weird. We started dating, started talking. A week after I met him is when me and Andre Writer wrote “Medicine.” A year later and that song is out.

How does it feel to have the song chart? I’m sure your fans are loving it. 

It feels really good. This song is definitely my favorite of mine so far, because it feels so authentic and I’m huge on authenticity. It feels good, I want it to feel like me. So to have it be finally released and it feels so much like me, it feels amazing. I’m happy it’s out.

What can we expect from the music video?

I have the concept of a desert and an oasis. I was thinking a lot of our love lives are kind of desert, kind of dry. The person of interest is your oasis. Sometimes that could be a mirage, because sometimes it looks a lot better than it is. It symbolizes that music video, so I’m excited for you to see that.

What inspired “Penny Pinching”?

I love “Penny PInching,” it’s more of a R&B/hip hop vibe. It’s more of a club, strip club anthem. The main line is “time costs money, can you spend it?” It’s very empowering women. “If you want a dime, can’t be doing no penny pinching.” [laughs]

Talk about your music getting featured on Bel-Air and Baddies South in Bel Air.

On Bel-Air, I got my song “Feeling Priceless.” It’s a love song, very fantasy and melodic. That was placed on Bel-Air 3 times. It played when Viv was in her art studio, one of those scenes.

3 things you need in the studio at all times.

The vibes, obviously tequila. [laughs] Actually, most likely some tequila. That’s all I really need honestly: just good vibes, tequila, and good people. Artists, they create anywhere with anything, whatever their circumstances may be. Preferably, would be good vibes. [laughs]

How are the rehearsals or preparation for your shows?

Preparation is preparing. The rehearsal process is always the hardest. Because me being how I am, I’m a perfectionist. I gotta have everything exactly how I want it, so that process is going good. I’m still figuring it out.

How does it compare to before you dance?

It’s pretty similar, honestly. The big thing about rehearsing for a performance is practice, practice, practice. So when you get up there, you don’t feel nervous. You don’t have to think too much. You just have fun performing, and that’s the part that really gets me. 

Talk about your time in Memphis. What was the standout from dancing for the Grizzlies? 

A lot happened when I was in Memphis, with my dancing and everything. I got on the University of Memphis dance team. During those couple years, I tried out for a TV show,\ So You Think You Can Dance. I was on Season 15.

How many seasons are there?! 

Literally so many. I think it’s still going. I was growing up watching that show, so to be on it and have that experience was super, super cool. I did that while I was in Memphis, so I had come back to LA several times. I was dancing for the Grizzlies. A really cool highlight about that is being around so many fans. Although it wasn’t about us, obviously they were there for the Grizzlies. But it felt good being a part of an organization that was larger than me. It was a very big community, I liked that.

Coming from California, what was living in Memphis like?

Memphis is really cool. It’s a lot of black people, which means a lot of dope shit. [laughs’ A lot of cool vibes. It was a huge culture shock for me, growing up in Orange County and being the only black girl. Going to Memphis and being immersed in the culture that I was missing, it definitely shaped who I am today.

How long did you stay out there?

4 years, then moved back home here. Just taking what I learned in Memphis, more culture and more music. More art, more creativity, then bringing it back here is shaping me still.

What was the highlight from So You Think You Can Dance?

That’s a hard one. The whole thing was a high. The highlight for me was dancing in front of the judges that I had seen growing up forever. I know you know who Twitch is, who passed away recently. It was so sad, but I remember being able to dance in front of him. To see how he was so passionate about what he does, he was so down-to-earth and so cool. That’s one of the highlights, to get to know someone like that.

How hard was his death on you?

Honestly, it was hard for me. It’s not that I knew him personally, but he had such a big impact on the whole dance community. He was one of those people that exudes positive energy. Right. All that So on the whole dance community on the whole community in general. It was a huge loss. 

What are your beauty go-to’s? 

Oh man, there’s a lot. I’m a big fan of simplicity when it comes to skincare. Too much is too much for my skin. I just wash it, use toner and a moisturizer, and I’m done. That’s my holy grail. One thing that I also can’t live without, that I don’t have on today, is eyelines. Huge eyeliner girl, the winged…

The liquid eyeliner?

Yes, huge liquid eyeliner girl. I’ve been using that since I was in high school.

What inspires your passion?

Like my music and me as a black girl, I’m very diverse with my fashion. It depends on where I’m going, who I’m with and just the vibe. I love Teyana Taylor’s style, because she goes from that tomboy-ish to very sexy. Having both is definitely what I vibe with.

I loved Teyana. 

Me too, she’s such a bad bitch. [laughs]

Can you talk about your EDM side? You have a deep house collaboration with Nippandab.

Oh yeah, definitely. Right after high school, I started going to raves and festivals. I do have a love for house music. What’s funny about that is black women were pioneers for house music. If you think about the old 90’s and 80’s house, it’s a lot of black women.

About me and Nippandab’s collaboration, he’s an amazing DJ from India. I ended up meeting him through a friend. It was so random, we started working and collaborating together. Our first record was “No Chances,” which did really well. Our second record was “All Night,” that’s the one that hit a million something streams on Spotify. We work well together, he’s amazing at what he does. Great producer, great DJ.

The vocals make the EDM tracks for me.

It’s a mixture of the two. You can listen to good EDM, good house music and it’s your thing. No vocals. But when the vocals are good and the beat is good, and they mesh, it’s the sweet spot.

Any goals for yourself?

A lot of goals. I’m a Capricorn, I’m never satisfied. It’s one of our biggest flaws because good things will happen and we’ll be like mmm, not enough. People will look at us and ask, “Are you not satisfied?” No, I’m really not. But one of my goals, especially with music, is push the limits of what I think I can do. I’m not forcing myself to be uncomfortable, but when things make me uncomfortable about music, I try to go after it. I want to be the best at what I’m doing right now, so striving to be the best. You’re never gonna be satisfied, but that’s how you get to where you want to go. Strive to be best.

Anything else you’re excited about? 

I’m excited to keep making music, honestly. I’ve done a lot of house music, I’ve done a lot of R&B. I want to keep doing those, but I want to dive into a neo-soul vibe. Have that under my belt too. I love neo-soul. You can vibe to it, you can drink to it, you can smoke to it. You can do all the things. I’m vibing a little bit more with Afrobeats as well, it’s summertime vibes. So keep on with the Afrobeats and keep on with the neo-soul.


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Photo Credits: Courtesy of Dayna Madison