As the summer sun shines bright, a new anthem is set to capture the essence of joy, freedom, and the sheer pleasure of living in the moment. Onoleigh, the singer-songwriter who has enchanted listeners with hits like “Ghost Stories” and “Make It Hurt,” is back with her latest single, “Why Can’t We Dance.” Co-written with Jonathan Wyndham and produced by the acclaimed David Dorn, this track is more than just a song; it’s a celebration of life’s simple pleasures. We caught up with Onoleigh regarding her new release, delving into the creative spark behind this summer sensation, her collaborations with industry giants, and the journey that has shaped her into one of the most refreshing voices in contemporary music. Join us as we dance through the world of Onoleigh, a world filled with melody, passion, and endless inspiration.
Tell us about your new single, “Why Can’t We Dance,” and the inspiration behind the music?
“Why Can’t We Dance” was written during a very pivotal time in my life. It’s about having a good time with friends and not getting into anything serious or long-term. The lyrics very much inspired the rhythm of the anthem because I wanted a song that literally made you want to dance when it came on.
My favorite line is from the pre-chorus, “gotta clear my mind, make the rough edges round, I don’t want a pick up, I just want to get down.” I think the words flow so effortlessly in conjunction with the lead guitar part and really create a moment leading to the chorus.
Tell us what the songwriting process looked like co-writing with Jonathan Wyndham.
We started by brainstorming the concept of the song and then brought the music and overall groove in second. Once we locked in a melody, everything lyrically wrote itself.
Where was the “Why Can’t We Dance” recorded?
The song was recorded at Farmland Studios in Nashville, TN.
You worked with David Dorn on producing the single. What does Dorn bring to the table?
Let me start by saying it has been an absolute honor working with David Dorn.
After speaking with him the first time, I knew right from the start that he had a very versatile and creative musical mind. Knowing that, the recording process was smooth, and I felt very comfortable trusting his judgement during crucial moments of creation. David is also unique in the fact that he advocates for the artist and can remove himself from the production just enough to ensure the artist’s voice is heard. This was our first project together, and I already can’t wait to get back into the studio!
A music video for the single will also be released. Can you share with our readers the filming process and what fans can expect?
This music video is one of the most epic things I have ever been a part of creating. Finding a way to match the energy of the music with a visual component was a challenge that I was determined to see through. Ever since I wrote the song, I knew there had to be some sort of choreography in the music video. When I was scouting for ideas, I came across choreographer, Richy Mon, represented by FreshTalentGroup. We met, and everything came together so perfectly. He then introduced me to the Director, Tristan Cusick, who took it across the finish line. We filmed it at the Underdog in Nashville, and having it there really elevated the look. There are six main dancers along with 15+ background dancers in the video that not only interact throughout but also come together for a final number in the end. The shoot took about seven hours from start to finish, and I am so pleased with how it came out!
How did you first get started in music? Was there a particular moment when you knew you wanted to pursue music as a career?
Growing up, music was a huge part of my life and a source of confidence for me. Music gave me purpose, whether it was in band, chorus, or singing the national anthem at a football game in high school. I went to the University of Missouri and got a degree in social work; I then went on to intern as a middle school guidance counselor. I would tell my students every day to dream big and do what scares them the most… in that moment, I realized I was being very hypocritical and not doing just that. I decided to live by example and make the move to Nashville, where I literally found myself within the lifestyle. In hindsight, I feel that I was being pushed towards music as a career my whole life.
Who are some of your musical influences?
Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, and Adele.
What do you hope your fans/listeners take away when listening to your music?
It is my hope that my music can provide listeners with an escape, a distraction, or even a moment of reflection.
Besides playing some fantastic tour dates coming up, I have two more songs coming out this fall that I am so very proud of. They show a more vulnerable side of my songwriting, and for that, I’m excited to have them out there. You can follow my journey via social media: Instagram, Facebook & TikTok and stream my music on Spotify, YouTube & Apple Music.