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6 Things You Don't Know About Trap R&B Singer DaniLeigh

No One Compares To "Lil BeBe"

Culture & Entertainment

To describe the musically unique singer/songwriter DaniLeigh as a vibe you can't get anywhere else, would be to put it lightly. Just one scroll on her Instagram, a listen to her vocals, or a peek at her style would be enough to convince any person that she's here for both a long time and a good time.


Her joy is contagious, her energy is pure, and her music? Well, her music speaks for itself. With a new album on the way, her musical versatility spans across different styles, namely trap, R&B, and some Dominican influence, which is an homage to her Latina roots. But it wasn't just her impressive vocals that made us want to know more about the young Miami native.

After being personally sought out to direct and co-star in a music video by the Purple One himself at just 18 years old, and gaining a major co-sign from Drake after featuring her infamous #InMyFeelingsChallenge in his music video, the stage is now set for DaniLeigh (pronounced Dani-LAY) to make her own mark on the industry. xoNecole got the chance to briefly catch up with the swaggy songstress just before her meet and greet at Lady Foot Locker in New York City.

DaniLeigh at her Lady Foot Locker in-store appearance in Soho, NYC (11/28). To get DaniLeigh's sneaker look, she's rocking the Jordan Retro 11 Utility.

Lady Foot Locker

With an album (The Plan) out now and her nationwide Be Yourself tour underway, the "Lil BeBe" singer chatted with xoNecole about why it's important to do just that along with her personal style and her new album.

xoNecole: H​ow does the vibe on this upcoming album ‘The Plan’ differ from your debut EP, ‘Summer With Friends’?

DaniLeigh: I feel like Summer With Friends was [based off] the place I was in. I had just gotten signed to Def Jam and I was super happy! I think the vibe was definitely more light and colorful whereas I think The Plan is a little bit more moody. You really get to hear my story. I think I've grown as an artist, I think my pen game is better. I really tried to just show my versatility and I played around with different types of production, a little bit of darker things.

xoNecole: If you could describe yourself or your music in two words, what would they be?

DaniLeigh: Cool and unique. I say "cool" because as far as my personality goes, I like to be chill. With everything that's happened in life, I kind of handled it in a patient way. I never acted out of character. As far as "unique" goes, that comes out in my music. My tone, my voice is different, I don't really sound like anybody. The tracks that I get on are different, no one can really compare to me.

"No one can really compare to me."

Ryan Postas/DaniLeigh's Instagram

xoNecole: As you can see, the women in the music industry are doing impressively well right now. Cardi B, Rihanna, and of course Queen Bey. How does that make you feel as an up-and-comer? 

DaniLeigh: It's amazing, I love it. Every female on top has a dope message to give and that's important. As women, I feel like we have to work a little harder to get respect in the game, but it feels like we're finally taking over. It's a wave for women right now and that feels good.

"It's a wave for women right now and that feels good."

xoNecole: You’re at Lady Foot Locker, so let’s talk shoe game. Where did your personal love for sneakers come from?

DaniLeigh: In high school, that's when I really started to get tuned in with sneakers. I always had my Air Maxes, my Jordans, my Nikes. My Air Force Ones back in the day, those were my favorite. Now the love has just grown to where now when I make an outfit, I think of the shoe first. I got to have a crazy shoe on to complete the outfit, you know?

xoNecole: Makes complete sense. And speaking of outfits, your personal aesthetic is on a whole different level, it's not mainstream. Not many people dress as differently as you do. Where do you draw your style inspiration from?

DaniLeigh: I was always inspired by Rihanna. There are a couple of different girls I follow on Instagram, but I like to look different. I definitely have that tomboy aesthetic to me. But I like colors and matching down to every little detail, even my nails and my socks. I have a vintage side to me as well. I like to incorporate the high-waisted jeans, oversized turtlenecks, things like that. That's my speed.

xoNecole: Last thing, what’s one important thing you want your current fans and potential fans to know?

DaniLeigh: I want them to know that it's okay to be yourself. Throughout my life, people were always trying to change me or they weren't really accepting who I was. But I feel like I kept it real and always showed who I really was from the start no matter what. And now I'm starting to get recognized and it's for just being me, my authentic self.

Keep up with DaniLeigh by following her on Instagram. Click here to listen to her new album now.

Featured image via Def Jam Records.

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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