Dorchester native Erin Daneele got a golden ticket to Hollywood on "American Idol" last week, and everyone is waiting to see how she'll fare in Wednesday night's episode. Daneele, who grew up in Lower Mills and went to Berklee College of Music, is also currently recording her first album, due out this summer.
Q. You've tried out for "American Idol" six times before. Does it get easier?
A. I think it's more of a growth process for myself. My voice has grown, I've done more shows. I've grown as a musician and maybe that's what they saw.
Q. How did you choose which songs you'd sing?
A. It I was really just looking at melody and what could show off my voice in less than a minute. I chose the songs based on whether you could hear the three parts of my voice—the low-range, the middle and the high.
Q. You also picked a couple different genres of music. You sang some old-school Motown, and then a more recent pop song.
A. I did want to pick different genres so they could see I'm versatile. I also picked some old songs to show that I have the background and foundation, musically. So I picked Martha and the Vandellas, "Dancing in the Street," I did that one first, it's really up-tempo and engaging. They were dancing to it, actually. Then I did a slower song, the Jackson 5, "Never Can Say Goodbye." That song pretty much shows my range. It was the Whitney Huston song ("I Believe in You and Me") that got me through. That one's more of a really passionate song.
Q. Which judge gave you the hardest time?
A. Randy [Jackson], definitely. I would say that Steven Tyler was the one that actually liked me most.
Q. You also competed on Gospel Dream in 2009. Was gospel music your introduction to singing as a kid?
A. When I was a child, I was in a church choir at the Morning Star Baptist Church. But I really started to write and record in high school. And from there, I went to Berklee, and that's where I got so many different opportunities. I got a full scholarship, and they put me in this band [the Berklee City Music All-Star Ensemble] that represents the school and travels. … I learned so much at Berklee, it pretty much equipped me for what I do right now.
Q. Do you have a big hometown following?
A. lot of people saw me in the little clip they gave me on the show. My Facebook has been getting a lot of hits, and on MySpace a lot of people have been adding me. A lot of my friends have been asking, 'Are you really on Idol ohmygod!' But I've been keeping it really low key. I didn't tell anyone at all, until I got closer to it. But everybody has been really supportive, saying, "I'm going to vote for you!"