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March 26th, 2007

The Many Passions of Danielle Egnew
Written by Denise Sheppard and Darby Blue

To explain the myriad of places that Danielle Egnew puts her energy is nearly surreal: her professional titles include singer/songwriter (both independently and as frontwoman for the currently-on-hiatus Pope Jane), actor, producer, radio show co-host, clairvoyant and ordained minister! If that isn’t enough, her musical contributions are equally diverse, writing songs both for herself and others, creating a line of meditation CDs and penning soundtracks and scores for films.

Egnew admits that these talents and tendencies have been in her life since her earliest of days. “When I was born, my parents called me ‘Super Baby,’ she laughs. “It's painted on the back of my baby drawers. I thought it was some sort of cutesy ‘oh-isn't-my-kid-the-best’ kind of parent thing, but my mom told me the nickname was literal, saying I came out of the womb with incredible physical strength, a laser focus, and an unshakable sense of self. I don't believe in limitations,” she smiles, “and apparently, I never have!” Much like the present day, Egnew admits to having trouble narrowing down career desires even as a young child. “When I was really little, I wanted to be an astronaut, and then a veterinarian, but I set my sights on entertainment, because I loved acting, singing, writing, or anything that had to do with being a performer. I've even done stand-up and sketch comedy with a troupe, which I loved, and wrote for them as well.The acting came first -- I had two

different full-ride scholarships for theater from two different universities. I actually wanted to be a film actress, which was an abomination to my fellow stage actors!” Egnew’s college and theatrical journey was sidelined after receiving a record deal in Seattle in the early nineties, she explains, “so I was on the music track for years with Pope Jane, then I got into TV and soundtrack composition, got a radio show, and a screenplay optioned. Eight years into music I got asked to be in the movie Changing Spots -- so here I am, full circle, being a film actress, which is what I wanted to do in the first place!”

Changing Spots is a love-and-life story about two queer women – one, a former child star, the other a former rock star -- and the way that each of their pasts intersects with their present-day realities. The movie is slated for release in May. Egnew confesses that she loved the opportunity of being able to challenge herself by acting in such a weighty role. “Changing Spots is extreme drama, and my character Peg is riddled with obstacles, from crushing physical problems to horrible career failures to wrenching emotional difficulties. You know -- a day in the life of a typical lesbian! This type of character is like a fabulous all-you-can-eat-five-star-buffet for an actor, and I ate a LOT of Peg!“

Her involvement with the film came in many forms, from producer to actor to composing the film score and soundtrack, and she admits when asked that she couldn’t possibly
choose a favorite task. “This is a really tough one to call for me, because I LOVE all the aspects of acting, composing, and the behind-the-scenes strategizing of being a producer on this project -- but I would have to say that for Changing Spots specifically, my favorite part has definitely been the acting. It's the most artistic, and the most organic. Composing the score is creative, but it's a lot more structured.”

Fans of Egnew’s music will be thrilled to note that not only is she playing a musician in the film, her melodies can be found throughout. In fact, writer/director Susan Turley – when becoming aware of Egnew’s interest in the project -- changed the script to make it more Danielle-like. “Peg's character was re-written by Susan to be a former rock star, in order to incorporate my pop music. The soundtrack is comprised of my music, in different
forms, and since I have done so many different types of music, from the pop and roots of Pope Jane to my own more acoustic tunes, there is a really varied emotional and tonal character in the soundtrack! Not to mention, I am also composing the orchestral score, and that is an entirely invisible character that truly shapes the feel of the film.”

On a personal note, the multi-talented Egnew admits that she is only partway through her creative journey and has a deep desire to dive into other interests on a professional level. “There is still so much more I want to do -- I still want to finish my novels I've started, and get my film production company up and running to produce my own screenplay, Imogene's Waltz. As soon as I can find more hours in the day, I'll get right on those!” Life isn’t all blood, sweat and tears, however: she admits to enjoying her downtime, and one of the ways that she likes to relax is to spend time on the ‘Net, including “I absolutely LOVE Dramanonymous! What a hysterical and rejuvenating pit-stop on this long road trip called my life! It's an honor to be included with you guys!” She also admits that she finds herself drawn to nature to slow her own pace down when the world moves too fast. “I'm wired to pick up teeny little variances in the ethers, and these vibes can really cramp my style. I have a host of things I do to balance that out, from running to the ocean, which sucks up a lot of contrary energies, to teas, to walking or composing meditation music. But sometimes it just knocks me flat on my butt, and I just deal with it with the least amount of drama until it passes.”

Egnew’s future contains everything from working on her next CD -- an adult alternative disc entitled Red Lodge -- to fronting a new musical group entitled Junkie Cousin, whose first release, entitled JC Superstar, is expected this summer. Additionally, a reality television program showcasing her clairvoyant abilities is in the works. She also enjoys spending time as a rotating co-host on talk/music radio show “The Music Highway with Sheena Metal” hosted by her girlfriend, former Howard Stern on-air sidekick Jenny Sherwin. Egnew admits that, however, that all things to do with art, life and love are most appealing and rewarding to her when they come with queer nuances. “I have to be honest and say that I am more drawn to projects that reflect my sexuality, especially if they have a romantic storyline. It's refreshing and exciting for me to see intelligent stories involving two women, mostly because there is such a lack of them. I'm not saying that I won't do non-gay projects -- I do a ton of projects that have nothing to do with sexuality, especially in music. But overall, I do feel drawn to contribute to the art in our community, and the message that the art, whether it is music, film, or stage, has the power to convey.”

For the latest Danielle updates, streaming audio, screensavers and more, head to

Additional links:

Visit Danielle on Myspace

Check out her band Junkie Cousin

Learn more about the Clear Pictures film Changing Spots

Denise Sheppard (scribe at shaw dot ca) is a self-employed journalist/editor who likes long walks, candlelit dinners and writing for U.S and Canadian national mags and websites. Her fave topics are human rights-related pieces and entertainment journalism.


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