DannyLux is an innovative singer exploring a plethora of musical references through the lens of his dual Mexican-American heritage.
The result of his creative musical talent? An almost genre-defying sound.
From making waves on TikTok to collaborating with regional Mexican group Eslabon Armado and opening for Coldplay, DannyLux has a rather stellar resume. This is alongside his creative musical inspirations and the exciting studio albums defining his unique sound.
WHO IS DANNYLUX?
DannyLux, is a Mexican-American singer, songwriter and guitarist whose music infuses traditional Mexican folk with classic rock. He was born and raised in Palm Springs, California and received his first guitar from his father when he was seven years old.
In a 2021 interview, DannyLux recalled being “star-struck with the guitar”. His father, a refuse collector, picked up the second-hand guitar from the trash, allowing him to transform what some else had discarded into treasure.
Over a decade later, the fast-rising star has nearly 2.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
HOW DID DANNYLUX BECOME FAMOUS?
DannyLux found fame due to social media, specifically TikTok. In DannyLux's words, he “started a TikTok with the intention of posting videos of him singing”, and the platform was “just another social media account like Instagram”.
When DannyLux posted a viral video (resulting in over 100,000 views), he was motivated to keep uploading videos.
His Instagram following (which currently sits at over 800,000 followers) also grew. At the time of writing, "his most popular video has over half a million views and over 220,000 likes”.
COLLABORATING WITH ESLABON ARMADO: ‘JUGASTE Y SUFRI’
After gaining a formidable social media following, DannyLux's next major music breakthrough came in December 2020, when he featured on regional Mexican group Eslabon Armados track “Jugaste Y Sufri”.
The song charted number one on Billboard's Latin Songwriters chart.
Eslabon Armado soloist Pedro Tovar initiated the collaboration by reaching out to DannyLux through TikTok.
“I did a cover of one of his songs. And one day he asked me if I would like to participate in his next album. I was very excited. I was so happy that day,” DannyLux said.
The two then on Facetime, and Danny Lux showed Tovar more of the songs he wrote.
“I decided to show him the song I was still working on as well. He really liked my song. I said I finished it, but I actually lied because I only wrote half of it,” DannyLux revealed.
“After we finished the call, I immediately went to finish the song and finished it the same night. Later we recorded it in the studio. And so a song called ‘Jugaste Y Sufri’ was born.”
OPENING FOR COLDPLAY
Cut to the spring of 2022, Sierreno sensation DannyLux served as the opening act for nine nights of Coldplay's extended Mexican tour.
In an interview on the day of his last tour performance, DannyLux said that when Coldplay asked him to open for them, he was “so confused”.
He questioned whether they had the right artiste because DannyLux’s “music is so different in terms of sound from what they play”.
But like indie luminaries Coldplay, DannyLux, who has “always wanted to just be able to change people's moods or lives with my music”, also embeds a layer of emotionality into his offering.
DannyLux has shared how the experience helped him as a performer.
“It's been such a big step because, before the tour, my first headline show was with 500 people, which felt like so much. Fast-forward to where I'm at now while playing in front of thousands, just feels crazy,” he said.
WHAT ARE DANNYLUX’S MUSICAL INFLUENCES?
In his 2022 interview with Spin, DannyLux recounted the first song he learned to play on guitar. It was Mexican-American legend Ritchie Valens' “La Bamba”.
He emphasised how much Valens encouraged him to inspire others “to create their own sound that’s unique to them”.
Aside from Chicano rock pioneer Valens, DannyLux is influenced by British rock bands The Beatles (his favourite band as a child) and Pink Floyd, alongside American folk-rock artistes like The Eagles and Regional Mexican musicians including Ariel Camacho.
DannyLux also cites Eslabon Armado as one of his contemporary musical influences, saying, “I have always been a fan of their music.”
He also thanked the band for helping him to reach music fans beyond TikTok.
WHAT GENRE IS DANNYLUX?
Drawing upon such a broad pool of references makes for a fluid listening experience. Thus, DannyLux’s sound is almost hard to define.
In his own words during a 2021 interview with Mitu: “I always wanted to start something new, like a new wave. I don't want to keep doing what everyone's already doing. I like it when there's like uniqueness to somebody. I don't want to sound like anybody else.”
But, if one was to be so bold, DannyLux's music is a sonic journey through genres like melancholic Sierreno, Indie, Corrido, Chicano, and classic-meets-alt rock.
“Nuestro Pasado”, a track taken from the 2021 album Love </3 even adds reggae into the mix.
DRAWING FROM MEXICAN CORRIDO
Corridos are a traditional Mexican song style that uses storytelling, poetic metre and sentimental themes to form a ballad.
Corrido was popularised amid the historical context of the Mexican Revolution, but it's still favoured in contemporary Mexican and Western music. The themes of traditional corridos often revolved around oppression and outlaw and vaquero life.
HOW MEXICAN CORRIDO INSPIRES DANNYLUX
DannyLux’s soulful lyrics imbued with storytelling about love and life, paired with his signature laidback requinto guitar and chord choices, all signify his corrido inspiration.
His breakthrough collaboration with Armado, “Jugaste Y Sufri”, is another example of how he is inspired by, yet also reimages, regional Mexican and corrido narratives through meaningful lyrics and vocal harmonies.
DANNYLUX’S CONTEMPORARY CORRIDOS
Regarding his approach to contemporary corridos, DannyLux consciously takes the style beyond the connotations of corridos verdes and creates a further breakaway from Natanael Cano's corridos tumbados.
DannyLux addressed this in his 2021 interview with Mitu, saying, “When people think of corridos, people automatically think of people talking about drugs in their songs. With my music, I feel like it's just calmer.
“You can listen to it and just like be vibing to it. Even if it's my sad songs, you can still be vibing to those.”
Indie record label VPS music signed DannyLux in 2020 when he was 16. At the time of writing (December 2022), DannyLux’s catalogue includes three studio albums and one five-track EP.
‘LAS DOS CARAS DEL AMOR’, 2021
DannyLux's first studio album, Las Dos Caras Del Amor (released Jan 15, 2021), exemplifies this artiste’s classic-rock Mexican corrido infusion.
Take the second track, “Dueno De Tu Amor”, for example. It features lyrics pulled straight from DannyLux's soul, archetypal corrido chords, and elements that sound almost like the 1977 classic rock tune “Hotel California” by the Eagles (which was, in turn, influenced by Mexican music).
‘LOVE </3’, 2021
Love </3 is a five-track EP released by DannyLux on April 29, 2021. It explores the two sides of love (feel-good and heartbreak).
The EP demonstrates the continued evolution and maturation of his music.
“Tristeza Y Traicion” is a standout track with a psychedelia-inspired intro. It reflects DannyLux's love of the Beatles, and the traditional corrido chords hark back to his Mexican heritage.
The lyrics discuss betrayal and heartache. If you want to indulge in love’s sunnier side though, try the EP’s opening track and lead single, “Mi Otra Mitad”.
‘PERDIDO EN TI’, 2022
Perdido En Ti (released on Jan 28, 2022) is arguably the album that caught Coldplay's attention. The ten songs follow the story of a relationship from love at first sight to its heart-wrenching conclusion.
DannyLux closes his second studio album with a newer sound more heavily influenced by Spanish rock in “Para Ti<3”.
According to DannyLux, he wanted to “end off the album with something different”.
He added: “If people like it, I'm going to go a little more towards that style as well, but of course, keeping my original style.”
Limerencia (released Sept 2, 2022) is DannyLux's most recent album release as of December 2022.
The opening track, “No Te Quiero Perder”, continues where Love </3 and Perdido En Ti left off by leaning into Spanish rock and neo-psychedelia.
Expect hazy Sierreño mixed with stunning lyrics. And like Perdido En Ti, the album's closing track, "Un Momento", possibly alludes to the next evolution of his sound.
INTERESTING DEETS ON DANNYLUX
DannyLux was born on March 12, 2004, making him 18 years old at the time of writing (2022). He's the youngest of three siblings, and his real name is Daniel Balderrama.
By age seven, he was singing in his local community church choir. It was here he started to learn guitar.
DannyLux uses an acoustic (more specifically requinto) guitar to create his signature classic rock-inspired corridos.
All Images: Esteban Flores
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Writer | Rachael Hope
Rachael Hope is a writer and visual artist. She loves to explore the connections between creativity in all its forms and broader culture. When not being creative herself, you’ll find her practising yoga or exploring nature.