Tell Me Más: Danna Paola on Breaking Through the Stigmas and Finding Her Voice
In our Q&A feature series Tell Me Más, we ask some of our favorite Latine artists to answer the questions only their BFFs know about them, revealing everything from their most recent read to the songs that get them hyped. This month, we sit down with Mexican pop star Danna Paola.
Danna Paola may have gained fame as a child star, but her development as a woman in the music industry is a work in process for this Mexican artist. While being a singer is something that she has been doing her whole life, this new era for Paola is all about self-discovery. Danna was chosen to play Amy Granados, the lead in the successful children's series "Amy, la niña de la mochila azul," which premiered in 2004. She also voiced Rapunzel for the Latin American Spanish-language dubbing of the Disney film "Tangled" and worked in Netflix's hit Spanish teen drama series "Elite," where she played Lucrecia "Lu" Montesinos Hendrich. Despite all of her achievements, Paola stepped away from the world of acting, in order to pursue her passion for making music.
"This is like the first moment in my career where I'm being very honest with myself and with my art and with my music," she says. "So, I love being able to introduce myself like this and being able to say, today I am Danna, this person, and this artist." Being thrust into the limelight at a young age, Paola realized the industry was very male-dominated: one where she was taught that "calladita me veía más bonita" (you look prettier quiet).
"[I was told] you don't talk, you don't speak, [and] you don't say anything about if you like it or not," Paola tells POPSUGAR.
Paola has experienced everything from sexist talk to men making passes at her. She quickly learned that she had no choice but to speak up.
"It's not being rude," Paola says. It's being just (fair), and honest in defending my ideals, my art, and of course, my rights as a woman."
The artist shares how she believes that standing up for who you are and what you believe in will prove to be helpful for the next generation of female artists. "It's a fight every day for women and our rights," she says. "So, I won't be silent even if people can believe that I am 'loca' or whatever."
"My mental health journey has been very painful, very hard, but at the same time quite enlightening. My music is therapy."
Breaking through these stigmas has been something that Paola has worked on throughout her career. "My mental health journey has been very painful, very hard, but at the same time quite enlightening. My music is therapy, she says in Spanish. She also sees music as a way to simultaneously connect with her audience as they experience similar struggles.
"The connection between my fans and my art is for us to heal together in this crazy world with music," she says. Surviving this industry for so many years has been no easy feat for Paola. She credits therapy, music, and always surrounding herself with the right people as one of the ways that she's managed to prioritize her mental health.
Paola is very adamant about being truthful in her music. She describes her musical sound as "dark pop," noting influences from Evanescence, Paramore, and Tokyo Hotel. But it's those dark elements that feel truly authentic for Paola.
"I think this is the moment when I break the walls and I start saying this is who I am. I'm a dark b*tch. And I'm a drama queen," she shares.
Paola recently released the visuals for her song "Tenemos que hablar," where she is seen watching this old version of herself. It is very symbolic of where she is at in her life a the moment, as she returns to her acting roots for the first time in three years.
Taking risks is something that is important for Paola. It's also an aspect that she is loving about the current state of Latin music. Regional Mexican artists such as Grupo Frontera and Peso Pluma have collaborated on songs with reggeatón superstar Bad Bunny and El Alfa, who is known as "The King of Dembow." The artist believes that there are no limits when it comes to creating music. Seeing these fusions in musical genres excites here because it's proof that Latin music is only continuing to evolve.
"Not everyone is trying to do reggaetón and we are not all trying to do corridos tumbados," she says. "My thing is doing pop music y tambien me encanta el reggeatón." She acknowledges that it's fine for artists to try new genres while still doing songs with their own unique flair. Paola just kicked off her first US tour — XT4S1S — where she channels some of the pop greats like Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, and Beyoncè. "It's very theatrical," Danna says. She's also incorporated what she's learned during her healing journey into this tour and has made it a practice to not fixate on the final product. Her goal these days is to just enjoy the process. Having that mentality has helped Paola feel confident throughout the tour.
"I've worked on this for a long time now, and from my heart." The good energy is contagious, she says. "It's very therapeutic for me also. I love to talk," she jokes.
One of the biggest lessons Danna has taken away as she continues to grow as an artist is the importance of remaining true to yourself. Growth has been something that she has really dedicated herself to. "It's been a really great journey for me as an artist, porque, I finally discovered who I am in my music," she says.
Read on to find out who Paola is dying to collaborate with next and the latest show she's binged.
POPSUGAR: How would you describe your personal style?
Danna: Edgy, dark, sexy, and bold with a twist of cuteness.
POPSUGAR: What is your favorite home-cooked meal?
Danna: Chicken veggie soup during the winter and tuna salad sandwich.
POPSUGAR: When was your first star-struck moment?
Danna: When I met Katy Perry! I cried like crazy.
POPSUGAR: What's your favorite snack?
Danna: Something sweet and salty. Best of both worlds.
POPSUGAR: What is your dream collaboration?
Danna: Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, or Adele.
POPSUGAR: What's your favorite thing to do to relax?
Danna: Leave my phone first. I like being at home with my dogs and my boyfriend drinking beer or wine and watching a movie while also cooking dinner.
POPSUGAR: What's the last series you binged?
Danna: I don't have much time to binge series right now. I think the last one was "The Last of Us," and I loved it.
POPSUGAR: Who is your biggest inspiration?
Danna: I've been inspired by so many people and artists in general — not just singers. At this moment in my life, I've found inspiration in everything and everyone who captures my attention and resonates with my soul.