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Danielle Lo Presti
Danielle Lo Presti
Artist Spotlight Archive - Oct. 2003
Danielle Lo Presti's "Imagining", which was last month's Featured Lyrics, may be one of the best tribute songs to John Lennon. Powerfully emotive and hauntingly beautiful in its simplicity, Lennon would be proud of this song.

While her music style may range from R&B to Alternative rock, it's her passion that always take front and center. Refreshing in her bluntness and her daring to take on sensitive subjects in her lyrics, she is still a relatively undiscovered gem.

Starting off her music career with a provocative debut album named "Dear Mr. Penis Head", it has been described as controversial, blatant and addictive. The songs dealt with a gamut of topics ranging from sexual abuse to social injustice.

This is what Ani Difranco has to say about her... "Danielle's music is raw and emotive, an impressive album for a new millennium where women will seize the music industry and turn it upside-down."

A staunch supporter of independent music, she named her band "The Masses" after a historical activist magazine which was instrumental in the fight for women's suffrage, minority and working class rights.

If you happen to be down in sunny Southern California, try and catch Danielle and her band live as you are likely to walk away impressed, charged, and maybe... become a fan for life.

» Danielle Lo Presti and The Masses Web Site
» E-mail Danielle at

Exclusive Q And A
Q:  Why did you feel it was important to contribute a song to our project and what do you hope to get out of it?
A:  While I endeavor to write music that grooves and otherwise inspires the body, I also care very deeply about inspiring the mind and spirit. It seems there's not a great deal of places, at least in the mainstream marketplace, that expose and value music of this sort. Music like that of Kevin Gilbert, Ani Difranco, Sara Jones, Michael Franti, Toshi Regan, and many, many lesser known but just as brilliant Indie musicians. We're always looking to find the places and people who value this, and thought your project would be one of them.

Q:  Besides John Lennon, who else inspires you to write songs?
A:  I have to say that, in all honesty, it wasn't so much that John Lennon inspired me to write "Imagining", it was more of a desire to 'call upon' a universally known cultural icon, who represented peace and awareness and honoring of diversity, etc... someone who inspired a feeling of those concepts at one time, and then to bring that feeling into our present. To say, 'I remember you, I heard you, and I still do, and I'm trying... I'm trying to take the concept you wove into song and make it into an everyday ACTION.'

Q:  Can you provide some background on your song submission of "Imagining"?
A:  I think the lyrics pretty much say it all in regards to why we thought it was a good fit for your project. But I will say that it was one of my responses to the 9/11 experience, and that my co-writer, David Rubinstein, asked how I would feel about 'writing a song about peace'... what came out was an expression of profound sadness, frustration, desire, anger, resolve, optimism... all these things came together for me in the melody and lyric of the song.

Q:  Can you tell us the story behind "22 Mountains" which is the title of your second CD?
A:  I wanted to write a song that spoke to that indescribable will in every human being, whether we've tapped into it fully or not, to persevere no matter how much it hurts, how hard it is, how utterly IMPOSSIBLE the situation seems. So I used the story of Nikki Tesfai in verse one, and a dear friend of mine in verse two, both of whom have endured remarkable challenges and then proceeded to use their stories and experiences to help and guide others.

Nikki Tesfai is a woman from Eritrea (near Ethiopia) whose story involves her being sold into an arranged marriage by her family at the age of 13, her escape from that abusive husband, and a journey that involved her scaling 22 mountains before she made her way to a refugee camp, where she was brutally tortured for a year. She ran away again and encountered trial after trial, abuse after abuse... immeasurable pain and obstacles. Today she is the founder of the African Community Resource Center in Los Angeles, CA, which has to date helped over 52,000 refugees from over 52 countries.

Q:  What's your take on the recent RIAA decision to go after illegal downloaders?
A:  May I quote my little brother, Tony, on this one? "When the infrastructure of communication supercedes the bounds of capitalism, corporate America goes nuts."

Q:  So what's next for you and your band?
A:  We're looking for a new manager, working real hard to get our music OUT there, building an ever-growing web presence, getting ourselves on the bill at more and more festivals, etc. We have a really strong live show and are doing well in Southern California... now we could use some help in moving beyond.

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