What is your earliest memory of music? And, how did you get started in music?
I don’t remember exactly how I got started in music, only that I was very much encouraged by my parents when they realized I had a natural gift. I think my first memory of singing was when I was very young. My father would sing in church a lot and one Easter he had me sing a duet with him, a song called “The Holy City.” I also have several photos of me playing instruments and singing when I was super young but I don’t have a great memory of that time. I guess I really only retained the memories that meant a lot to me.
What was the first song you ever wrote? What or who inspired you to start writing music?
The first song I ever wrote was a very basic gospel song. I took it to a Christian youth competition and it didn’t do too bad. But I couldn’t even tell you name of it now LOL. After that, I wrote a bunch of terrible songs! But at around 13, I spent a summer in NYC with my Mom's family to start dipping my toes in the recording world and I wrote a song called "Rain" (that is still one of my mom’s favorites). I was also going through a pretty intense Jewel phase so everything I wrote in that year was inspired by her. She wasn’t my original inspiration though, I grew up on gospel and country (along with my parents eccentric taste in music) so I had a lot of Johnny Cash, Reba, and Amy Grant. Truly, though, I listened to a little of everything and I took inspiration from almost every genre in my writing until finding my niche.
Do you play any instruments? If yes tell us about it. If not, do you work with a band or studio musicians? Do you produce your tracks or work with a producer?
I play several instruments, actually. My main instrument is piano, which is funny because that’s the one I taught myself to play. I started with the violin and oboe; I also play a little guitar and the melodica. I have a great group of guys that play with me, we actually just got back from a couple shows in Western New York where I’m originally from. I’ve also worked with some amazing session musicians who were part of my last few projects.
What is your favorite part about being an artist (performing, recording, writing, playing)?
I love every aspect of being an artist. I love the whole process and life of a song. But my favorite part is the performance. It starts with an idea that develops into a written song then I get to record it, make it come to life in production, then practice with my musicians where the song then takes on a whole new meaning when I sing it in front of an audience. The best part is when people come to me and tell me what that song means to them personally. You never know how your music affects people and when you sing it live for them they become part of it. And the song starts to have memory. I remember the stories people tell me and each new time I perform them I sing them with not just my meaning but theirs as well. I’m singing about my experience and theirs.
Do you have any advice for young women pursuing music?
Take the risk and don’t wait. Listen to your intuition; if your gut says to go to LA or Nashville go. It’s better to try everything then to have regrets. Get out there and sing and perform every chance you get and make time to be an artist. Don’t wait for a big stage; sing at the coffee shop, the dive bar, even busk on the street. I sang at Potbellys sandwich shop in D.C. before I became a full-time musician. Write as often as you can and always have a way to record little ideas. Some of my best songs come to me in the grocery store or walking my dogs. I can’t take total credit for my advice though, Garth Brooks once told me a lot of that. It’s only fair that I share.
For readers who have never heard your music, can you suggest one or two songs to start with?
"Gonna Need My Love" is my newest song and while it’s not one I've written, it’s the current version of me as an artist. It’s a preview of where I’m headed. Another good one is "Come To Me," it’s a song I wrote about finding your person and it’s dedicated to my amazing wife.
What do you feel are your strengths as an artist?
I think my biggest strength is my ability to take you with me on my Journey and to relate to my fans. When I’m on stage everybody in the audience is on stage with me. When I sing you a song, I’m singing to just you, and I try to make you feel whatever I’m feeling. And like I said before, I’m not just singing about my experience, I’m singing with the emotion from every message or story that I've gotten about that particular song. And when I get off the stage, I’ve left every ounce of energy and joy and pain that I had to share. Then I do it all again the next day!
Where can fans access your music?
Anywhere you stream music you can find my latest songs, and be on the lookout because we have more coming your way!
About Ddendyl Hoyt
Emerging indie artist and LGBTQ+ advocate Ddendyl Hoyt, who has received critical acclaim for her authentic mix of rock, pop, Americana, and blues, recently released her debut single "Gonna Need My Love," which was written exclusively for her by Breaking Benjamin Guitarist Keith Wallen. Produced and engineered by Shawn McGhee (Drowning Pool), the sultry, edgy, and the bluesy rock-driven pop song showcases Hoyt’s signature, soulful voice, and elegant piano playing, while McGhee – who also lent his guitar and bass skills – and drummer Charlie Nicholson drive the tune’s melodic, sing-songsy choruses.
Hoyt has received several awards for her work, including “Artist of the Year” by Batavia Daily News in Western New York and being named the “Nash Next 2017 New York Winner.” In addition to her music career, Hoyt is an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and serves as an ambassador for the nonprofit Free2Luv, taking a stand against bullying and advocating for their rights.
While “Gonna Need My Love” is Hoyt’s first official single, she is certainly no stranger to performing. Throughout her career, she has shared the stage with such artists as Hunter Hayes, Scotty McCreery, Sebastian Mikael, Elle Varner, and opened alongside colleagues for Justin Moore following her appearances on Season 6 of NBC’s “The Voice.”
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