Described as “strong, resilient and passionate,” by B-Sides and Badlands and “a badass, a mic killer, and a hustler,” by Popdust, Daphne Willis is a genderfluid artist that exists with her multitudes on full display. “I stay true to myself, I’m honest with my fans, and I try to put music out that doesn’t shy away from the dark sh*t... that says ‘it’s okay to have dark sh*t’,” she states with typical candidness. This sentiment has helped her create a diverse catalogue of work that straddles worlds of commercial incandescence and raw emotionality, all whilst defying the constraints of conventional genre. Her powerhouse RnB releases like “BrickxBrick” are favorites on ESPN, whilst her pop/rock track "Legacy" was featured in Equality Now's gala in tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsberg (introduced by Meryl Streep and Gloria Steinem). Her music is constantly featured in popular programming like Empire, One Tree Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral and more. Meanwhile, her breathtaking musical letter on addiction, “Somebody’s Someone”, has amassed over 24 million views online, and launched her as a sought after speaker in the worlds of mental health, addiction and trauma recovery. It’s no wonder that the press has declared her to be, “fun and refreshingly smooth” (Paste), “timeless” (Pop Matters), and “taking the world of music by storm” (Affinity). Daphne Willis is a singer-songwriter who is an industry unto herself.
Born in Texas and raised in Chicago, Daphne cut her musical teeth sneaking into the blues and jazz clubs of the windy city. Two years into her college experience, Daphne landed a deal with Vanguard Records, sending her on frequent writing trips to Nashville, where she eventually moved. Immersing herself in the scene, she became a regular on the festival circuit, saw packed houses at bigger and bigger venues, and eventually left her record deal to mint a fresh publishing contract with Sony/ATV. Her greatest avenue for exposure was quickly proving to be in her music’s intense commercial applicability. Daphne’s track “Do It Like This,” in particular, has seen more than ten major international placements including Samsung, xfinity, Empire, Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge on the Run, and, among other honors, is, to this day, still the hold music for Royal Carribean Cruise Lines.
Willis’ identity as an artist, however, was not truly cemented until the release of “Somebody’s Someone”, a song borne from the heartbreak of addiction and mental health battles within her family. The song and its video quickly blazed a trail through the internet, growing Daphne’s audience twenty-fold. “Every single day I get an email from someone who tells me what that song means to them,” she explains, “It changed me and my whole artist platform. It helped me on a personal level as well in my own struggles with depression and trauma recovery.”
With ever-consistent sync placements in projects like Puppy Bowl with Snoop Dog and Martha Stewart, Queenpins, and Work It, new music in the pipeline, and burgeoning work as an independent producer, Willis shows no signs of slowing down. Out, proud, forthright, and the curator of one of the most welcoming fanbases around, Daphne is as authentic a performer and activist as they come, her prodigious output matched only by her capacity for empathy.