On Pearl Street, different from the one she grew up near, Dafna poses in front of buildings and flowers. Just this year she played her first UMS and released her second album WHEN I WAS WITH YOU. Now, doing her first interview for 303 Magazine, the 22-year-old indie artist recounts her relationship and experiences with music up until this point before moving on to the next step in her career.
Born and raised in Boulder, Dafna recently graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a degree in electrical engineering, which, like music, she was introduced to by her family. She explained how her older siblings both majored in electrical engineering and — being jacks of all trades like her — also dabbled in music. “My siblings also got into songwriting and stuff too, mostly my brother but also my sister… I think when I was around 11 was when I really started getting into songwriting and all that. And after that, in high school, I actually started sharing my music with people and performing. I’ve been doing that ever since.”
Even before the age of nine, Dafna was exposed to a world of music through her parents’ tastes. Trained classically in piano from a young age, Dafna gained a sense of the technical side of music that opened her up to songwriting even more. Both her commercial music and classical training influenced the sound that Dafna crafted in her music, blending alternative elements with piano-driven melodies.
Despite her age, Dafna has already released over 45 songs, including two full-length albums, and has played shows in both Boulder and Denver. Making a name for herself at a rapid pace, Dafna has stuck to a DIY approach, reaching out to venues for booking shows on her own, as well as handling all creative decisions pertaining to her music. “I write, record and produce everything in my bedroom so it’s just very independent in that regard,” she said.
With her latest album, she explained how the process of creating the music on her own was revealing to her growth as both a musician and a producer, as it also allowed her to navigate plights in her personal life. “With this album, I definitely had a lot more going on in my personal life than I had in the past that was helpful to write about. One of our very close family friends had died and that was the first time I had any closeness with death, so that was very helpful to be able to write about that. Because it was my mom’s best friend, showing her that song and also having her bond with it.”
Exploring topics of grief, heartbreak and the many perceptions of ourselves that people have, WHEN I WAS WITH YOU is evidence of the healing power of music. The album looks into Dafna’s world, exposing the rawness of human nature that comes from loss, giving listeners something to relate to while being comforted and entranced by Dafna’s reposeful voice and instrumentation.
Following the release of her album in May, in traditional Dafna style, she kept things rolling with the release of her single “NOT A BREAKUP,” and is already satisfying her songwriting itch by beginning on her next album. In just a few weeks, Dafna explained her plan to move to Los Angeles and see what opportunities reside there for her. She explained that although she’ll miss the milestones that Boulder and Denver alike have given her, she is excited to see what ground she can break in la la land.
All photography by David Cohn