SXSW is underway, and one of the many musical acts you can see at the festival is R&B/pop singer Darnaa. I was happy to have a chance to catch up with her before her SXSW performance via email, and in the interview, you’ll learn more about how her musical family, what the song “Surv!val” means to her, and the special message she has for her fans.

You can learn more about Darnaa and her music at her website and you can keep up with Darnaa on Twitter.

How did you get started in music?

I have a lot of brothers and sisters and we all grew up singing from a very young age. We sang at church, in talent shows, we sang all of the time so it was a very musical household. Professionally, It was about five years ago when I was 22 that I started pressing music a a career. I have always had a passion for singing — I was always the girl that would sing at the bars and I loved it and I knew it was exactly what I wanted to be doing with my life. I still love it, and now I get to do it for a living.

What do you love about music and performing?

I love how music makes you fee.l I want people to feel the same way I did when I was writing the songs, I want to inspire them.

I put a lot of my emotions into my song and when I sing ballads the words are very serious and maybe people can’t relate to the exact things I went through but they can take the message from my song and apply it to something that they may be going through in their life. I also love all the different styles within music, you can take one message and make multiple beats and styles of songs with that.

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The thing about performing is that I love showing off and sharing my music. I get a lot of my energy from the audience so if there into it and feeling it, it makes me feel so good. A lot of people just watch and clap, but I love those people that really get into the music and you can tell are having a really good time.

The song “Surv!val” is a song you have said really became an anthem for your life. What about this song affected you?

Even though I didn’t write this song it’s based on me so I do have a personal connection with it. It is about exactly what has happening in my life at that time it was about surviving and not just the relationship I was in but surviving life in general. Every time I perform it, it reminds me that I got through a dark part in my life; I survived it, and it is a constant reminder of my strength.

You’re heading back to SXSW for the second time; what’s it like to go back?

This is actually my third time going back. The first time I was very nervous, I could barley even eat. I was only there performing for a short amount of time as well. The second time I had my own show. So now this third time — now I don’t want to toot my own horn — but it comes pretty natural now. This time I can stop being nervous and just have fun, it feels good because I feel better and stronger as a performer and as a musician.

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What can your fans expect from your SXSW performance?

To hear a lot of good music. I have a much bigger body of work this time as well. Before I would do a lot of covers and now I’m doing a lot of my own music. It is my own thing to, not like some other times where I would just come in and perform for 15 minutes and that’s it. Still as like all my show you can expect to have a good time.

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What other projects can fans look forward to?

We’re working on stuff for the single “Survival” right now so that’s fun. I hope to get to visit more places for shows as well. I don’t just want my fans to hear my songs, I want them to be able to see me too! I’m excited to see what the future has in store.

Do you have a message for your fans?

Don’t let any one else define you. Especially in this industry people want to make you into this or into that, but you have to stay true to yourself and learn to just do you. I’ve really learned that in the past couple of years.

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By Monique