Two years ago, Dakota Lee was just a tween from Kimberley who loved to dance. Forward to 2022 and the youngster is now represented by 33 and Me Talent Agency and has worked with leading names in the industry. She’s walked the runway at the Northern Cape Fusion Weekend, and has just released her debut single ‘Jealous’.
Dakota did all this at a tender age, while still trying to figure out who she is. As part of her self-exploration process, she was harassed and intimidated by green-eyed trolls, who sought to belittle, demean and break her down. But the multi-talented performer would have none of it, instead of channelling all of her negative emotions into a song.
She says, “Writing ‘Jealous’ was very personal for me. I felt like I was being personally judged and I found it hard to make friends. Many people who didn’t even know me formed their own opinions of me. My professional brand was attacked and I was told things like I Photoshop my pictures on my social media and that I was lying about going to America.”
The singer was a contestant in the International Arts Talent Showcase (IATS) in 2019, where she received a call back to perform at the International Modeling and Talent Association Convention (IMTA) in New York in 2020. Due to COVID, all contestants scheduled to visit New York were grounded because of the travel ban. Instead, Dakota performed at a virtual IMTA convention and received four international callbacks, including Watersound Entertainment in New York. With America and IMTA still on the cards, Dakota has used this time to hone her craft, absolve herself of negative emotions and establish her standing in life and music.
She put pen to paper and ‘Jealous’ was born. The fledgling songwriter sings about jealous teens writing hurtful remarks about her on bathroom doors and posting negative comments on social media. She had to endure things like her lunch being kicked out at school and body shaming.
Her aim with this song is to highlight that jealousy is a toxic emotion and that youngsters are constantly being bombarded by messages about how they should look or act to be accepted by society.
Embracing her individuality, she says, “Stop caring about other peoples’ opinions of you. You don’t have to meet the expectations of others on how you should look, who you should be, or what you should wear, just to be in the ”cool crowd”. You don’t always have to fit in. It is fine to be different. I have come to realize that the cruelty of others is often fueled by jealousy and people who need to make themselves feel better by hurting others.”
Despite everything, she recognizes her worth and sings “I’m made of starlight, moonshine and dynamite.”
Jealous is a powerful pop song with an important message. It was recorded and produced by Gino Lee at River Road Records in Qqeberha.
Dakota recalls, “Recording my song was an amazing and fun experience. I had a great time. There was just positive energy in the studio. Gino is a whole vibe and made my first experience of recording extremely positive.”
The youngster has already started working on new music, to release an EP in August.
She concludes, “This is still a learning process for me. Right now I want to explore this new journey and see where it takes me. I would like to find my place in my home country of South Africa, and as I grow and develop, work towards an international space.”
Facebook: Dakota Lee SA
YouTube: Dakota Lee SA
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