Oh Honey’s Danielle Bouchard finds acclaim surreal
Q & A
Danielle Bouchard is used to the stage.
The 24-year-old Brooklyn resident landed roles in musicals and plays during her elementary, middle-school and high-school days.
By the time she graduated from Shenendehowa High School in 2008, she had also taken guitar lessons and had begun writing songs.
Bouchard is now using her musical and stage skills as lead vocalist in the indie-folk duo Oh Honey. And those skills are paying dividends.
The band’s first single, “Be Okay,” is in rotation on Sirius XM’s “Hits 1” station. Along with music partner Mitchy Collins, Bouchard has been seen on music television channel VH1; Oh Honey has also won praise on the Internet’s Huffington Post.
The band also includes drummer Robbie Ernst and guitarist Ian Holubiak — but the focus is on Danielle and Mitchy. The members have played gigs at Rockwood Music Hall and the Bowery Ballroom, both on Manhattan’s lower east side, and the Baby’s All Right tavern in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section.
Bouchard, daughter of Debbie and Terry Bouchard, has been living in the New York City area since her days at Pace University in Manhattan. She talked about her career and prospects as a rising star.
Q: How did your association with Oh Honey and Mitchy Collins begin?
A: We met through mutual friends. I knew he had started this project. We kind of saw each other around the city but we were never close or anything. But I knew he was starting this project and looking for a female singer. We kind of linked up that way and we tried writing songs together and it just worked out. Pretty cool, . . . it kind of organically happened.
Q: How do you like working with Mitchy?
A: He’s a songwriter for other artists as well. He’s very, very talented. . . . I feel I’ve gotten better at writing songs just from working with him. He’s been doing this a long time, so he’s a really good person to be in a group with. He’s got a good head on his shoulders, he’s a really hard worker.
Q: Oh Honey has received much acclaim in a short time. What’s your reaction to that?
A: It’s been very surreal. It’s all happened pretty quickly. We only released our first song in September and we only just started working together at the end of April, beginning of May in 2013. It’s been moving quickly but it’s been really rewarding so far. Just getting to see my name on an MTV blog post or seeing the Huffington Post release our song, it’s stuff I’ve kind of wanted my whole life, so it’s really cool to finally see it happening and all coming together.
Q: Maybe you had an idea this could happen — you received some awards in high school, right?
A: I was “most musical,” “most likely to be famous” and “most dramatic.” I guess I covered all those bases there.
Q: How would you describe Oh Honey’s sound?
A: I would say it’s sort of a blend of folk, and indie and pop music, a love child of all those genres.
Q: What’s in store for the band’s future?
A: I’m very hopeful. We’ve already done some cool things. [EMI’s compilation CD “Now 48” came out, “Now That’s What I Call Music,” and we ended up on the bonus disc for that, for “what’s next,” for emerging artists. And we also just worked with two actresses from one of my favorite shows, “Orange is the New Black,” we did a holiday video with them and recorded a song with them — Danielle Brooks and Uzo Aduba.
We’re hoping to do more projects like that. We’re going out to L.A. next week, we have a show booked out there and we’re going to be doing some writing with some songwriters out there, which will be really fun. I’m looking forward to the sunshine.
And we have plans to go to “South by Southwest” in Austin, which is a big musical festival. We’re going to play some shows down there that week, which will be good. That’s in March. We’ll probably do a little bit of touring in February and March as well.
Q: Do you still have another job?
A: Yes, sadly. I work in a restaurant a couple days a week to pay the bills. The hustle is real and the struggle is real. New York City is not a cheap place to live, but I make it work. I’m working as a waitress.
Q: How do you like singing “Be Okay,” which has been described as a “sun-kissed, feel-good jam.”
A: It’s fun. It’s a happy song. It makes me feel good when I listen to it and when I sing it. I really enjoy it. It’s always good to sing something positive.
Q: Do you have any favorite female rock-pop singers?
A: People like Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson — love her. I really look up to them, I always have. They make beautiful music. And Adele, she’s amazing. I really look up to strong, empowering female vocalists.
Q: What kinds of songs are in the Oh Honey pipeline?
A: I guess all kinds of things. We try to get really honest with our song writing. If one of us is going through something, it turns into a song, like most groups. We write about relationships, the happy, the sad, the good and the bad. It really just depends what we’re feeling at the time . . . it’s sort of freeing.
Q: Anything about living in New York City?
A: We haven’t written a song about it yet, but that definitely could be in the works. Both of us have been here for a while, it definitely influences what we do.
Q: How about Clifton Park?
A: Maybe. It could happen, definitely.
Q: Do you make it home much?
A: I haven’t been able to lately because we’ve been so busy with shows in the city. I used to go home about once a month. I went home for the holidays, which was really nice. I do miss my family. They’ve been amazingly supportive. They’ve been coming down, my mom or my dad have been to most shows that we’ve had in the city, which has been really cool. It’s really nice to see them there in the audience.
Q: As lead vocalist, you’re most often in the spotlight. Do you make any efforts to have that “rock star” look?
A: I try my best to represent myself well. Mitchy is actually really, really good with styling. I go to him for fashion advice all the time. It’s great, he’s really good at it.
Q: I’ve noticed Mitchy is a big fan of tattoos — is that a rock star requirement these days?
A: I have one, but it’s fairly well hidden. Maybe I’ll add a few more, we’ll see. I’m definitely not going to try to be heavily tattooed.
Q: What’s it like being on stage — when all eyes are on you?
A: It can be scary. Sometimes, I definitely get nervous before our shows, but as we play more of them, I’m getting more and more comfortable on stage.
I’ve been doing theater my whole life, so this is really just an extension of that, I’m kind of used to being on stage. But you get that rush and you get nervous beforehand, but after it’s over you feel so great because you just got to do what you love. Especially when people respond well, too — it’s very rewarding.