Dana Williams: California Dream

A couple of weeks ago a duet cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams by Dana Williams and Leighton Meester made waves on the internet. And we can thank a simple suggestion by Leighton for that. "We were just hanging out. I’ve known her for 15 years; we went to elementary school together and she was like, ‘Why don’t we sing Dreams together,’" Dana told me in a chat over the phone.

Many recognized the former Gossip Girl star, but California-based singer Dana Williams has managed to stay under the radar, though I doubt that will be for much longer. Her recently released EP The Lonely One climbed to #26 on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter Chart. Her angelic voice has a blend of rich emotion and airy lightness that recalls Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, whose music helped shape Dana’s style. "I listened to a lot of jazz growing up but mostly Ella and Billie Holiday. So that’s definitely an influence on my sound," she told me. Her sound also encompasses a wide range of genres like folk, soul and pop. Tracks like "Keep Me Waiting" seamlessly combine soul and indie rock while "One More" incorporates elements of blues and psychedelic folk. Damon Dash has taken notice and asked that she provide the soundtrack to his new clothing line Poppington.

At the moment, Dana is focusing on promoting her EP and performing in Los Angeles. Among her growing following are fellow musical artists Freddie Gibbs, Aly & AJ Michalka and of course Leighton Meester who Dana performs with from time to time. She revealed a few reasons why her fans should be excited with plans to release a "handful" of videos in the next couple of months. But if you can’t wait to get your fix, Dana’s video for Keep Me Waiting is already up for your viewing pleasure.

Follow Dana Williams on Twitter at @IAmDanaWilliams

Photography by Joshua Shultz

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