It’s hard to believe it, but two years ago, Daya was like any other J-14er. She went to school, hung out with her friends, participated in extracurriculars and spent countless hours dreaming about her future.

“I used to daydream in class about what it’d be like to be a singer,” Daya confesses to us. “It’s what I wanted to be ever since I was little, but I never knew if it’d happen or not. I was just a normal girl who was doing all the things teenagers do, but on the side, I was attending music camps and going to songwriting sessions.”

But by April of Daya’s junior year, her dreams started coming true when a song she wrote during an L.A. songwriting session hit the radio.

“As soon as ‘Hide Away’ came out, it was like everyone knew who I was and I started getting all this attention,” she tells J-14. “It was hard to get used to at first. I just remember thatI suddenly couldn’t walk down the hallways without hearing a classmate or teacher playing it — it was unreal!”

All the excitement she felt reminded her of what one of her favorite T.V. characters had gone through when she was in the same position. “It was like I was Hannah Montana!” Daya exclusively tells J-14. “I was a normal girl from Pittsburgh one minute, and then a pop star the next!”

hannah montana best of both worlds

As Daya’s song made its way up the charts, she found herself relating even more to the Disney character.

“I started traveling, performing, doing photo shoots and working on new music,” she says. “At the same time, I was juggling homework and trying not to miss out on too many experiences during my junior and senior years — like prom and graduation.”

While Daya’s schedule was hectic, she wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“My life has changed a lot over the last couple of years, but I feel like I’m still the same girl — I’ve just been able to live the best of both worlds,” she reveals. “Hopefully, people will get to know the real me through my music and I won’t ever feel like I have to hide who I really am!”

Interview and story by Morgan McMurrin. "Daya: 'I feel like Hannah Montana sometimes!'" originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of J-14.


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