Daya explains how her latest single, 'New,' represents 'a huge step forward' for her

Daya is taking control.

The 18-year-old singer, who broke out with debut single "Hide Away" in 2016 and later won a Grammy for her smash collaboration with The Chainsmokers, "Don't Let Me Down," is gearing up for the next stage of her career, and she's firmly steering the ship.

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Having recently signed her first record deal with Interscope earlier this year, Daya just released her latest single, "New," which she co-wrote with major producers like Stargate and Sir Nolan, among others.

"This song is a huge step forward for me emotionally," Daya told AOL Entertainment about the song over the phone. "A lot of the songs on my past album were talking around my feelings and not getting to the point. Now it's more about being self-reflective. The song describes my love life as a whole, because I'm so independent and want to be on my own, which makes me closed off to people who are good or bad for me."

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Daya out and about
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Daya out and about
MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 20: Daya attends Swarovski Crystal Wonderland Party on September 20, 2017 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images for Swarovski)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Daya attends the 2017 BoF 500 Gala at Public Hotel on September 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 16: Pop Star Daya surprises kids of Camp Hometown Heroes, summer camp for children of Fallen U.S. Service Members at General Mitchell Airport on July 16, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
DOVER, DE - JUNE 17: Singer Daya performs onstage during the 2017 Firefly Music Festival on June 17, 2017 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Firefly)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07: Daya attends Vans Custom Culture Final Event 2017 at HD Buttercup on June 7, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Vans)
WANTAGH, NY - JUNE 03: Daya performs onstage at KTUphoria 2017 at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on June 3, 2017 in Wantagh, New York. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05: Singer Daya attends the MTV's 2017 College Signing Day With Michelle Obama at The Public Theater on May 5, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for MTV)
PALM SPRINGS, CA - APRIL 15: Singer Daya at the POPSUGAR Cabana Club Pool Party at Colony Palms Hotel on April 15, 2017 in Palm Springs, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for POPSUGAR )
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - APRIL 08: Daya performs during the Tortuga Music Festival at the Fort Lauderdale Beach Park on April 8, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 06: Singer Daya performs on stage during WE Day New York Welcome to celebrate young people changing the world at Radio City Music Hall on April 6, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for WE)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 03: Singer Daya performs onstage during the WELCOME! - Fundraising Concert Benefiting the ACLU at the Staples Center on April 3, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 03: Singer Daya walks the red carpet at the WELCOME! - Fundraising Concert Benefiting the ACLU at Staples Center on April 3, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 09: Daya performs at El Rey Theatre on March 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Timothy Norris/Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CA - MARCH 05: Singer Daya arrives at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards at The Forum on March 5, 2017 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
INGLEWOOD, CA - MARCH 05: Singers Daya (L) and Bebe Rexha speak onstage at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcast live on Turner's TBS, TNT, and truTV at The Forum on March 5, 2017 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Daya arrives at the 59th GRAMMY Awards at the Staples Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 21: Daya performs in Concert at Irving Plaza on February 21, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Daya poses in the press room at the 59th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Record producer Drew Taggart of The Chainsmokers, singer Daya and record producer Alex Pall of The Chainsmokers attend The 59th GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
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With her new Interscope deal, Daya will have more creative direction and resources available to her -- from the world's top producers to styling help to access to respected music video directors -- which is something that she's still getting used to after having been an independent recording artist for years.

"Starting out independent was amazing and gave me my platform and my fans, and I definitely wouldn't take that back, but I think that it just got hard towards the middle of it when I had to focus on so many things at once," she told us. "When you're independent, you're doing the job of literally 20 people. I couldn't do everything on my own."

Now that she has a "great partner" in Interscope, she's ready to use her in-depth experience as an independent artist to inform her first projects at a major label. 

"I've been playing music since I was 3 years old, so it's not like I'm just this young girl who doesn't know anything," she explained. "I've been a musician for just as long as some of these songwriters. I may have been underestimated in the beginning, but now I'm earning my place and that's really empowering for me."

 

 

That idea of empowerment is invaluable to Daya, who told us that she's really found her own voice, message and direction as an artist over the past 18 months or so, and that she simply aims to inspire her fans through music. That's her one true goal.

"I hope not only to sing about empowering each other, but also to just be an example of that and take action and direction in my life and not allow people to tell me I'm not good enough because I'm a girl or because I'm young," she said. "I want my actions to inspire my younger fans."

Though she has discovered her own distinct point of view, Daya freely admitted that she's still figuring it out. After all, she is still only 18 and just signed her first deal -- it's going to take a minute to put a complete game plan together.

"Right now, there really is no plan," Daya said with a laugh when we asked her about her next album. "I've been in the studio a lot coming up with a ton of great songs. It felt right to release 'New' right now, and I'm really excited to see the reaction while we let it run its course."

As for that casual Grammy she won earlier this year for Best Dance Recording, Daya explained the profound significance that it's had not just on her career but also her as a person.

"Getting a Grammy changed things for me," she said. "Not in a way where I gained, like, 10 million more fans or anything, but it was more of a personal thing. I felt validated as an artist and more inspired to put out other great music. There was definitely a little bit more pressure to create something just as great or better."

With "New," Daya is surely on her way.

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