Danielle Ate the Sandwich performs in Beaver Creek Sunday
VAIL CO, Colorado
Many singer/songwriters these days take the easy route when it comes time for a name and use their own, whether they have a backing band or not. Just look at the Underground Sound series lineup: Gregory Alan Isakov, Leon Redbone, William Fitzsimmons, Paula Cole, Jaimee Paul.
But not Danielle Anderson. She didn’t want to be “just another singer/songwriter,” she said. That’s fitting, because she’s not your typical girl with a guitar set up, either – this folk musician plays the ukulelee. She wanted a name that would get people’s attention. And thus Danielle Ate the Sandwich was born.
And really, who doesn’t love sandwiches?
“I wanted an attention-getting detail,” Anderson said. “And back then, when I came up with the name, I figured I could put a sandwich on a sticker.”
Anderson remembers coming up with Danielle Ate the Sandwich and thinking, “No, that’s way to weird, my mom would be so confused by that.”
“But I kept coming back to it,” she said. “And like with a lot of ideas, the first is always the best, so I came back to the first weird idea I had.”
So the question remains: What sandwich does Danielle prefer?
Since the 26-year-old recently became a vegetarian, there aren’t as many options, but grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly are her usual suspects.
‘Moved for love’
Up until a few months ago, Anderson was based out of Fort Collins, where she lived for six years following college. She built a fan base slowly, and worldwide, by posting intimate, charming performances on YouTube and made some extra cash doing alterations for a clothing store in the mall on the side.
In the past three years, she has built enough momentum touring and writing music to support herself.
“I feel restless when I’m not on tour,” she said. “It feels comfortable to me, to get in my car and know I have to drive at least five hours.”
What started as a hobby of self-expression has evolved into a fully realized artistic outlet.
A few months ago, Anderson relocated to Minneapolis, where her boyfriend lives.
“I moved for love,” she said.
“As good as Colorado’s been to me, I lived there since I graduated college,” she said. “I always wondered what else was out in the world. … I feel like I had mastered the Denver scene.
“I had good connections and was established. It’s exciting to move to a new place and be the underdog. Being unexpectedly delightful, that’s how I hope to be, and work up to something similar to what I had in Denver.”
And besides, she’s still playing plenty of gigs in the Denver-Fort Collins-Boulder triangle, and in places beyond. She plans to return to Colorado at least once a month or so. Her show at the Vilar Center on Sunday night marks the first time Anderson has performed in Eagle County, she said, and she’s excited to get her music out to a new market, and play for some new faces.
“I’m excited to be up there and get to play an awesome show in an awesome place, and they’re treating me like a movie star,” she said. “I’m very excited because I expect people to be very rich, so hopefully they’ll buy thousands of CDs.”
‘Songs about wondering’
Speaking of CDs, Anderson recently released her fourth album “Like a King.” She raised the funds for the record using Kickstarter. She set out to raise $6,000 and her friends and fans gave her $16,236 instead.
“I had more than 250 pre orders of this CD, not including over 400 people who pitched in the money, so that helped me get the word out, and get the buzz and excitement started,” she said.
The album itself is pretty heavy, the songs rife with unsettling themes.
“A lot of my songs are about wondering, being unsure of everything, which can be very dark,” she said.
Her 2010 album “Two Bedroom Apartment,” had similar themes, but was recorded “a little lighter,” she said. “This one is very deep, heavy and dark. I kind of like that as a female singer songwriter who is silly and colorful, to release a product that slaps people in the face. I struggle to get people to listen to what I’m saying in my songs. A lot of people think I’m a comedic singer, so for me it was kind of exciting to release something really heavy, really dark, so people couldn’t say ‘these are cute songs.'”
During Anderson’s live shows – she’ll perform as a trio on Sunday night – she tries to strike a balance.
“It’s a mix of these melancholy and bittersweet songs that make you think and bring you to your knees, but in between I try to be lighthearted and silly, so that no one gets driven too far in one direction,” she said. “When effectively done, it’s pretty appealing.”
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