Rising star Daya refuses to 'Sit Still, Look Pretty'

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

96 Seconds With Daya

By: Gibson Johns

There's a new face in pop music that you should get familiar with, and her name is Daya.

Daya, who was born Grace Tandon and hails from Pittsburgh, burst onto the Top 40 scene last year with the inescapable hit "Hide Away" -- you know, that song that dispels that idea that every girl wants a bad boy, that song about wondering where all the good boys are.

SEE ALSO: Kylie Jenner is sorry her Lip Kits broke the Internet

Following the single's massive -- and unexpected -- success, Daya, 17, released a self-titled EP in September with five other songs, all equally as addictive as her debut. One of those other songs, "Sit Still, Look Pretty," officially hit radio on Tuesday as her second single.

The song picks up where "Hide Away" left off: Its earworm of a chorus tackles more socially-constructed tropes about young women and proves them to be inaccurate.

With another song also climbing the charts ("Don't Let Me Down," a song by DJ duo of the moment, The Chainsmokers, that Daya sings the vocals for), Daya is one of the many rising young talents in pop music that is sure to find even more success with every release.

We talked to Daya on the phone before a recent performance at the White House for an exclusive interview about her newfound fame, sexism, inspiration and, of course, her fans.

See photos of Daya from the past year:

17 PHOTOS
Daya
See Gallery
Rising star Daya refuses to 'Sit Still, Look Pretty'
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 04: Singer-songwriter Daya performs onstage at the listening party for her album 'Sit Still, Look Pretty' at The Sayer's Club on October 4, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 04: Singer-songwriter Daya performs onstage at the listening party for her album 'Sit Still, Look Pretty' at The Sayer's Club on October 4, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 04: Singer-songwriter Daya (C) is presented with a platinum single award at the listening party for her album 'Sit Still, Look Pretty' at The Sayer's Club on October 4, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 22: Daya appears at Music Choice on September 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, MINN - OCTOBER 11: Daya and Nick Cannon record TeenNick Top 10 at Mall of America on October 11, 2015 in Bloomington, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/ Getty Images for Nickelodeon)
BLOOMINGTON, MINN - OCTOBER 11: Daya records TeenNick Top 10 at Mall of America on October 11, 2015 in Bloomington, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/ Getty Images for Nickelodeon)
SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 14: Singer Daya poses for a photo backstage during the 106.1 KISS FM Fall Ball at WaMu Theater on November 14, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images)
ST PAUL, MN - DECEMBER 07: Singer Daya performs onstage during 101.3 KDWB's Jingle Ball 2015 daytime village at Xcel Energy Center on December 7, 2015 in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13: Musician Daya attends T.J. Martell Foundation's 16th Annual New York Family Day at Wythe Hotel on December 13, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for TJ Martell)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13: Musician Daya performs onstage at T.J. Martell Foundation's 16th Annual New York Family Day at Brooklyn Bowl on December 13, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for TJ Martell)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 31: Singer, Daya, performs on stage at New Year's Eve 2016 In Times Square at Times Square on December 31, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 31: Daya performs on stage during New Year's Eve celebrations at Times Square on December 31, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for TOSHIBA CORPORATION)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Daya attends SiriusXM Hits 1's The Morning Mash Up Broadcast From The SiriusXM Studios In Los Angeles on February 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Artbeatz founder Steve Zap, singer Daya and VP of Pop Programming at SiriusXM Kid Kelly attend SiriusXM Hits 1's The Morning Mash Up Broadcast From The SiriusXM Studios In Los Angeles on February 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 19: Daya poses at Perez Hilton's One Night in Austin showcase at ACL Live at the Moody Theater on March 19, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 19: Daya performs during Perez Hilton's One Night in Austin showcase at ACL Live at the Moody Theater on March 19, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Check out our full conversation with Daya below:

So, news just broke that "Sit Still, Look Pretty" has already broken the Top 50 for radio play! How does that feel?

I know -- it's insane! The fact that it already went top 50 on radio having just been released is crazy.

I take it that reception from fans and critics alike has been great?

Yeah, definitely. I think people really like the message of female empowerment in the song.

It seems as though you're especially adept at writing songs that are relatable both in their descriptions of relationships and their ability to provide social commentary.

Totally. I think people can relate to that more so than they can to other things, because it's really relevant right now. It's just a great talking point, and it needs to be touched on. Especially with all of the sexism that happens in the world. "Sit Still, Look Pretty" is mainly about just not being that girl that's just there for someone else. It's about going after your own dreams and ambitions, and I think that's really important for young girls to hear.

Is "Sit Still, Look Pretty" based on any sort of personal experience of being told to do just that: Sit still and look pretty?

Definitely. It's also just from growing up with gender stereotypes and thinking, you know, you're not supposed to play sports, and you're supposed to dress up and wear makeup all the time. It's not as bad as it has been in the past -- and I think that's great -- but those stereotypes are definitely still there. It's important to be aware of that.

Do you have any plans for a music video for the song?

We don't have an official date or anything, but we definitely will be going out to L.A. to work on that soon. I'm super excited about it.

michelle obama told me she liked my romper ##blessed also today was not real

A photo posted by Daya (@daya) on

from my headlining show in da burgh the other night 💛💛💛💛

A photo posted by Daya (@daya) on

Obviously, the success that "Hide Away" brought you is absolutely incredible. When did you first know it was going to be a hit?

That's a hard question, because when we [Daya, Gino Barlett, Brett McLaughlin and Britten Newbill] wrote it, we didn't know the extent to which it would go. That was my first introduction to the pop world, so I really didn't know how it would do.

Sirius XM added it really early on, though, and then a bunch of radio stations added it after that. Celebrities reaching out also helped, with people like Tyler Oakley giving it a lot of support early on. I think that that just gave it a little push. Also the relatability of the song, along with people liking the message of it really helped a lot.

It's been a combination of things, but it's been really exciting that all of this has happened in just a year.

What's been your biggest "pinch yourself" moment of the past year?

Either today -- performing at the White House, which is pretty insane -- or, when I performed on New Year's Eve in Times Square in front of a mass of people. I had been watching that on TV my entire life, so to wind up there and be performing among such great artists was awesome.

You're also on a song with The Chainsmokers called "Don't Let Me Down." How did that collaboration come about?

They reached out to me through our label and asked me to sing the vocals for it! I heard the song once and basically fell in love with it. It's just such a jam! I love the drop and everything else about it. I also love their other stuff too -- I was a fan even before they reached out. I'm really glad they asked me, and I'm excited for it to take off.

Did you have any apprehension about being on the song, given that it's a totally different sound for yo?

No, actually. I've been listening to that kind of music for a while, and it's one of my favorite genres next to pop. I was really excited to branch out and form a little bit of a bigger audience by reaching people who don't normally listen to my music. It's a cool sound, and I really liked doing it!

Have you been writing a lot for your upcoming debut album?

Yeah! I just spent a couple of weeks in L.A. writing and recording for the album, which will probably be out in a couple of months. I'm really excited for it, as it has a lot of new sounds and some of it is a continuation of the EP.

Will it include the songs from your EP?

We'll have all of the songs from the EP on the album, yeah.

SXSW 2016🌞 📷: Mallory Turner

A photo posted by Daya (@daya) on

💛💛my city #412 📷: @cindy_lou79

A photo posted by Daya (@daya) on

Who are your biggest musical influences?

That's hard! Definitely Amy Winehouse and Adele, who's really inspiring to me, just how raw and powerful and emotional her voice is. I also love Tori Kelly's sound -- it's just so unique, and she's super talented.

Any dream collaborations, either with producers or other artists?

Producer-wise, it would be really awesome to work with Skrillex and Diplo. That would be so cool. Ed Sheeran would also be super amazing to write with. He's such a talented songwriter.

I'm sure you've gained loads of fans over the last twelve months. What does their increasing support mean to you?

It means the world; I really wouldn't be here without the support of my fans, my friends, my family. It's really cool to see people going out of their way to support me. I'm not a huge artist, yet, but it's awesome to see and feel that support. It's always cool to have people feel the same way about things as you do and experience the same things in life as you do. It's a great way to make friends.

More from AOL.com:
Disney characters coming as Lego minifigures
James Corden dance battles Cuba Gooding Jr on 'Late Late Show' (Video)
It's time to stop watching these 8 TV shows, because they will probably be canceled

Read Full Story

From Our Partners