No, Nashville singer-songwriter Danielle Cormier is not related to two-time U.S. Olympian and current UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, but she does say that she gets that question a lot.
The two are sharing plenty of success at the moment though, with the fighting Cormier recently defending his title in emphatic fashion while the singing Cormier just released the first single from her forthcoming album, Fire & Ice, “Can’t Quit You.” And as thrilled as she is about the single coming out, she really can’t wait for listeners to get the rest of the tunes on March 2.
“I’m so excited,” she said. “It’s been almost a year since we recorded the album, so I’m so excited for everyone to hear it and to get it out there. I’m a little nervous, but more excited. I want to share it and have people hear the stories.”
The stories on Fire & Ice are compelling and show a maturity beyond her 22 years, but the story of how she got here may be even better, because if she followed her initial path, we might be seeing her on the stage in a totally different way. But despite nearly finishing a run at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, the North Carolina native found herself getting signs that musical theater may not be her final destination.
“I had always written and played guitar,” she said. “I’ve been playing guitar for 11 years now and writing for six or seven, so it’s always a thing I’ve done, and I continued to do that when I went away to school and was in New York, studying musical theater. But slowly, my teachers would say, ‘Oh, you sound like Carole King,’ or ‘You sound like Joni Mitchell.’ And these are working professionals in the business in musical theater. So I was joking, saying, ‘Oh, maybe they’re trying to tell me something, like I don’t really have a musical theater voice.’”
She laughed it off, but she also took those comments in and realized that maybe she was more suited for telling her own stories as opposed to someone else’s.
“So I called up my mom one day during my last semester of school,” Cormier continues. “‘Hey, I don’t really want to do this anymore, can I move to Nashville?’ (Laughs) And she was all for it and super supportive and was like, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’ It was an instinct kind of move.”
And the right one. And if she wasn’t completely sure about making the move before, she certainly is glad she did now.
“My passion is really singing and writing, and I was realizing as I was there that acting wasn’t my strong suit,” she said. “It wasn’t what I really wanted to do. And with my songwriting, every song I write, there’s a piece of me in it, so I get to tell my own story.”
These days, we need those stories more than ever, and Cormier is glad to bring them to us.
“It’s so important,” she said. “What we try to do as artists is try to tell these stories that everyone can relate to. I listen to songs all the time on the radio where they hit me a certain way, and it’s so powerful. You want people to understand these stories, and wherever they’re coming from, to say, ‘Yeah, that’s me. I understand that.’ They may be my personal stories, but universal at the same time.”
As for taking the risk of entering a business that doesn’t remotely resemble the more lucrative one it once was, Cormier is all in and not in the slightest bit intimidated by what’s ahead.
“I didn’t really feel that it was much of a risk,” she said. “They say when you live in New York, everyone’s an actor and in Nashville, everyone’s a singer, so I knew what I was getting myself into and everything’s worked out in such a way that I’m so grateful for finding my manager, and she helped me find my producer Adam (Lester), who works with Peter Frampton, and it’s all worked out in such an interesting way that I’m just really grateful and lucky that everything has happened the way it has.”
Frampton plays on “Can’t Quit You,” and having that seal of approval from a rock icon will only bring more good things to Cormier’s doorstep in the coming months. She’s ready for all of them.
“This is something I’ve wanted my whole life,” she said. “I’m so excited to see where it’s gonna take me, and the journey that I’m about to begin.”
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