Deni: An Atlanta Artist with Nashville Dreams

Danielle Salabarria, known on stage as Deni, is an Atlanta artist with Nashville dreams and extraordinary vocal talent. She has released a series of songs featuring her impressive, asymptotic dynamic range on a play date with guitar and piano. With formidable vocals and engaging lyrics, Deni is a singer to watch (and listen to).

The guitar in “Love Me Down” offers up a stripped down bluesy melody with a rhythm that provides Deni’s voice the perfect environment to bend, stretch, and contort with precision and agility. To print the sheet music of this song would probably use a lot of ink. The lyrics are sensual and feel right, like perfectly filed frets on a guitar.

“Shot Gun” is the sort of song that would be performed to much acclaim in a piece of theater, the delivery creates a vignette that specific. Deni does the sort of things one does not often witness coming out of a human being. I wonder how much water she drinks. “Silver Lining” opens with slow vocals, sympathetic lyrics and builds in vocal intensity. Deni is reassuring, reminding the listener of the limitlessness of human capabilities. “The Vow” pops with a cello’s bitter sweetness and unfolds with the sentiment [and songwriting] of someone about to get married.

Deni recorded “The Odds” at the age of seventeen. Piano strides into the room with the confident air of a woman in fantastic new shoes. The vocals are badass, with a lower pitched chorus the first time around “It’s just you and me… You and me.” This warms up the listener for the intensity in the delivery of the second verse. I wish Deni’s voice could be the packaging materials in my Amazon orders.

Described as “a typical heartbreak song,” “Journey Through the Break” features restrained sibilants and aspirated plosives, turning the articulation of the lyrics into an auditory popup book. When the rhythm picks up, Deni’s voice is so pure, it is difficult to consider the possibility of her owning any black leather. Staccato piano slathered with powerful, smooth, vocal clarity, makes me wonder at the potential beauty of Deni’s voice in an electronic piece.

“Infinite Love” begins with optimistic pacing, vocals not anywhere near the powerful full bore that Deni is capable of. However, as the song progresses, the vocals build in intensity to something that not just anyone can sing along to, especially during allergy season. The vocals, including “I will be with you ‘til the end…” are the sort that are accompanied well by the regal flavor of trumpets and other wind instruments.

“Do It” is a dynamic tune. Ribbons of rhythm are produced from guitar slapping and fast strumming, and Deni lays out the lyrics like an Indian buffet, beginning small and building up to something big and spicy. “Tell Me” opens like a black and white scene on a French street. The lyrics, delivered under the shelter of piano, allude to longing glances, cloudy skies, and questions left unanswered. Deni is a woman who can probably sing Bellini.

Every time I hear Ariana Grande sing, I wonder if she uses the English system or the metric system to refer to the function of her respiratory system. Deni covered one of her songs, “Almost is Never Enough,” with such pleasing vocal prowess that a live performance would certainly justify hiring a lighting designer. The most emotional parts in the recording I heard are unexpectedly ritardando between lines, a momentary lapse in the musician’s memory. Could it be a symptom of an incomplete thought, a youthful naïveté? Or is it simply that the song is new to that finicky mechanism that connects the cognitive fuzz of the psyche with the fuzz of the peripheral motor neurons (i.e., not enough practice)? The minute pauses do not seem to affect the magic that occurs anyway in Deni’s upper airway.

Deni is tempestuous and gifted, a combination that, when mixed carefully, can produce great art. I hope to hear more of her heart-rending music, and I hope she gets many opportunities to share it with others in the venue of her dreams.  Take a listen to Deni on her the music page her website at   Deni is spending the summer home in Atlanta to work on an EP that should be released soon.

Gwendolyn Lewis Written by: