This past October, singer-songwriter Lena Daniels released her debut single, “God Took You Home”. Through raw, heartfelt lyrics, the song explores one’s relationship with faith and the emotions one experiences when grieving the loss of a loved one. A song that reminds listeners that they aren’t alone in their grieving journeys, and the love and good memories they shared with their loved one who has passed live on with them.
Recently, I spoke with Daniels about her path to pursuing music, her debut single and her goals for the new year.
Kyla Pearson: For those who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell us a bit about your path to pursuing music? What made you want to become a singer-songwriter?
Lena Daniels: As a child, I was intrigued by music and the capability of how each song made me feel a little different. Living in a very unstable environment, I leaned on music through a lot of unstable times in my life. Unfortunately, without having a house let alone instruments to pursue music– my dream came to an end. Until my artistry began when I approached my 25th Christmas; my husband had bought me everything needed to make music and just where I left as a child I picked up writing lyrics and learning how to play not only guitar but ukelele, and piano. Country music in itself tells a story, our ups and downs… the good the bad and I feel like a person, I can relate. With my authentic sound and heartfelt lyrics, I feel like my music relates to country music in so many ways.
Kyla Pearson: “God Took You Home” is your debut release as a singer-songwriter. What made you want this specific song to be the first one you share with the world? Can you tell us a bit more about the inspiration behind the song and the recording process?
Lena Daniels: God Took You Home was written in the home of my own with my husband Rian Woolf. Pouring all of our raw thoughts and emotions that come with the impact of losing your closest loved ones. After getting awarded a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts; I took the funding and went into Edmonton Velveteen Music Studio to produce my first single. Working with Music Producers Bradley J Simons and Randor Lin, we laid down the instrumental for the song. I picked this song as my first song for the fact that it had so much meaning to me after the loss of my firstborn child. I thought if I’m only able to do one, I would want this one to be first. Inspired by the current events unravelling with the Residential School and all of our current loss in our Indigenous Culture, I felt that God Took You Home was fit for anybody who has ever lost someone way too soon.
Kyla Pearson: What do you hope to achieve with the single? What message do you hope fans take away from the song?
Lena Daniels: We would be thrilled to bring any additional awareness to the impact of death and the loss of a loved one, Many struggle with it, as did I. I encourage the memory of good thoughts and memories, and that they are not alone in their grief. Most of all the ability and opportunity to touch people with sincere topics and make them feel something powerful inside is a gift on its own. The feedback we have received has been very heartfelt and emotional.
Kyla Pearson: God Took You Home recently debuted on country radio and charted at #31 on the Indigenous Music Countdown. What have these achievements meant for you? How does it feel to hear one of your songs playing on the radio for the first time?
Lena Daniels: Hearing my song on the radio for the first time is a feeling that I will never forget. I remember phoning my late mother and we listened at the same time, freaking out. She was so proud of me! I am also just so incredibly honoured to be on the countdown with so many talented and prestigious artists like Ernest Monias, Robin Cisek, Celeigh Cardinal and one of my dearest friends, Ashley Ghostkeeper. I am truly humbled by all the love and support that I have had for our song God Took You Home through this time.
Kyla Pearson: Where do you think the best song ideas come from? What is your ideal setting to write?
Lena Daniels: Writing is a process for the most part strictly from the heart and soul but in many cases, my songs/stories come from past relationships or experiences. Growing up in a life with so many obstacles I grew up with not only a passion for singing but for writing, little phrases poems or even things to get me through each day.
Kyla Pearson: What live shows do you have coming up that fans can catch? What is one venue or show you’re looking forward to sharing “God Took You Home” at?
Lena Daniels: The Carrot House Cafe in January, Skirts of Fire in the spring on Whyte Ave. Also opening alongside R&B Indigenous Artist Melody McArthur with an all Alberta tour in March. Please check out my website for updates and dates.
Kyla Pearson: What is one thing fans may not know about you?
Lena Daniels: I work in construction and love fishing!
Kyla Pearson: Lastly, with the New Year just around the corner, what is one thing you’re proud to have accomplished this year? Do you plan on releasing new music in 2022?
Lena Daniels: 2021 was an amazing year but it also was the hardest of my life. My song was released on October 15th, 2021. My late mom Esther Stockman listened with me when they played God Took You Home with such excitement!! Daughter, you’re on the radio she said… Then I found out I was on the Indigenous Music Countdown and that topped everything, mom added my song to her playlist with a daily reminder to vote for my daughter each day. It was just after I hit #31 that my mom was diagnosed with COVID-19. Everything took a turn for the worst and my mom was put into an induced coma for 23 days until God took her home. Life is so hard without her and going to be even harder. But my biggest joy was how proud she was of me (her daughter) when she heard my song on the radio.
I am going to take time for the family, myself and work on another release for next year and hopefully a potential collaboration.
Listen to “God Took You Home”:
Stay up to Date With Lena Daniels:
Spotify: Lena Daniels
Apple Music: Lena Daniels
Daniels, Lena. Interview. Conducted by Kyla Pearson, Nov. 11 2021.
Unknown. “Featured: Singer-songwriter Lena Daniels.”. Photo courtesy of Lena Daniels. Accessed Oct. 25 2021.