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Lavender Lense Magazine


Issue 99 May 2008


Danielle Egnew
Mystical, Philosophicaln Creative Soul

by Maria Ayala

This is only a brief description of movie and music maven Danielle Egnew. She has been named as one of the “Ten Most Powerful Lesbians in Music,” in 2007 by the editor of Curve Magazine, (Diane Anderson-Minshall). At the All Access Music Awards 2007 in Hollywood, she won Best Keyboardist, and the year prior, won Best Pop/Alternative Female Guitarist. Her pop and orchestral works appear

in several film and TV projects in including the upcoming feature film Changing Spots, in which she also stars as a disenfranchised former rock star “Peg Franklin”. She was also a part of the VDAY 2007 West Los Angeles celebrity cast of The Vagina Monologues with Jennifer Beals and Alexandra Hedison. Hold your breath, she is also an alumni of the New York 2006 VDAY cast of The Vagina Monologues alongside Ally Sheedy and Kathryn Erbe, (Law and Order: Criminal Intent). Her latest music projects on Maurice The Fish Records include her acoustic solo album Red Lodge as well as fronting and producing popular girl band Pope Jane and the alt swamp band Junkie Cousin.

I had the opportunity to talk to Danielle, who will be headlining at this year's Pride festival Lavender Stage.

Can you tell me about the mother of pearl design on your guitar? It looks like a Geisha!

It does look like a Geisha! Hey, that’s sexier than what it actually is, which is an angel. I guess she’s a sexy angel? The design was laid down the fret board by guitar design Marc Minarik, and that particular guitar is one of a kind, the only one of its type made by Minarik guitars, who endorses me. I was very honored that they gave the guitar to me. Marc is known for his elaborate inlays on his body and fret board designs, and the best part is that the guitars also sound amazing, so you have this incredible piece of art that makes beautiful music – my Geisha angel is pretty cool, and the guitar sounds fantastic. That’s a crack up -- every time I look at her now, I’m going to see a Geisha. That’s awesome.

How did you come to terms with being a clairvoyant (especially in Hollywood?)

That’s something that took a long time for me to digest on a personal level, well into my early thirties, especially being raised in a very religious family, nevermind how to make it publicly known. Ironically, I couldn’t be in a better place to be known as a clairvoyant than Los Angeles, an anything-goes city where a majority of my clients are studio heads, Fortune 500 execs and artists wanting spiritual advice on the future of their projects! On a personal level, I was raised to believe that anything spiritual that didn’t happen in church was occult, which by traditional Christian church standards in Montana equals demonic. So I had some personal reconciliation to do in terms of what these spiritual gifts really meant, and the bottom line is, there is absolutely nothing demonic about these sixth sense aptitudes. I’ve met some weirdoes in the metaphysical industry that have given me the creeps, but that’s not the Devil at work -- that’s just strange, egotistical people giving off creepy vibes. I’ve really been fortunate to be able to use these gifts for some greater good, especially with my work with law enforcement.

In the song: “Story of My Life,” you have a lyric that says, “Nobody knows my pain…and I’d like to keep it that way.” What is the meaning behind that particular lyric?

I have to admit, it’s interesting that you’d key in on that passage. That particular song was written about a woman that I was seeing, in what would be considered a small town, when I was living back in Montana. I got to thinking one day, man, no one has ANY idea that we are together. And the relationship is not really something I could talk to a whole lot of people about, because even though I was out in the community as a gay woman , this woman was not out, and

This is going to sound completely melodramatic, but I thought to myself, good lord, what if she died tomorrow? I’d be balling my eyes out at her funeral, and nobody would know why I was crying. So that became the first line of the tune, and the “I’d like to keep it that way” line was a reference to the fact that I wouldn’t even begin to know how to explain my relationship to her, to all those people. The song ended up being about under the radar trysts – definitely an interesting time in my life!

What was the inspiration behind your current myspace picture (which doesn’t leave much to the imagination!)

I’m a rural gal, and there is just something so natural about the human body to me. That guitar I’m posed with is this beautiful blonde spruce color, and the photographer noticed that it went with my skin tone very well - and the rest is MySpace history! I had taken a photo years ago, wearing my guitar strap for a shirt, and that photo went crazy getting passed all over the internet. At the time, I wasn’t trying to make any big naked statement, but it was my own defiance against what the mainstream music industry’s identity of “sexy” was, which was any woman under the age of 23. So then, at 35, I thought, hey, I’m gonna take off my shirt and wear this guitar strap as a default, and let all these A&R reps come tell me I look like an old lady -- I dare ya! Well I’m 39 now, and at the very least, I’ve learned how to wear a guitar! There will definitely come a day when this look won’t fly, but until then, I am standing in the gap for every woman who is over the age of 23. Sexy is a vibe.

What do you like most: acting, singing, writing, or producing?

Geez, they are all so different. That’s like saying, what do you like better, filet mignon, lobster, or standing rib roast? They’re all succulent and amazing, but it just depends on what mood you’re in. I guess right now, I miss acting. I just finished up my album Red Lodge, and the label issued as a limited edition pre-release that sold out on my last tour, so I’ll be releasing the full album in a bout a month, and I’m very proud of that. I’ve been hyper-saturated in music. I’m on tour right now to promote that album, so again – lots of music around me, which I love, but also makes me start to itch for a change up on the horizon eventually . It’s likely that I am going to be producing some other Maurice The Fish Artists, and I am really looking forward to that process, and I am currently one of the writers on a TV pilot, so that’s getting some exercise. But missing right now? I think acting. I’d like to play some fantastic, bizarre character – maybe a Vegan Vampire, struggling with her own self loathing, or some such thing!

What is your coming out story? Do people still ask if you are straight?

It’s a good Lifetime TV story! I was the last to know I was gay. My dad was all supportive and asked me if I was gay when I was 14. I was a late bloomer, and had no idea what he was even talking about, and I got really offended – hilarious! When I was 19, I was at the dinner table and my mom asked me point blank if I were gay. Awkward! I was, but I was really having a hard time figuring all of that out with my religious raising, so I wasn’t very slick in blurting out I was seeing a woman. My poor mom – at the time she had some educating to do on the subject, living in a small Montana community and being a school teacher. My family ended up all being extremely supportive, at the end of the journey. And yes, I still get asked if I’m straight, and it’s assumed I’m straight, all the time, especially by members of the community, even though I have been an out artist since my first record deal when I was 20, and on the cover of LGBT magazines with LESBIAN under my name – it’s hysterical!

What is the story behind the song: “Wendy”? “Some things are better left alone…I kept your secret for as long as I could”

Well, that song IS the whole story, spelled out. I had a very powerful relationship with a woman for several years who was very closeted. I should have left that whole situation alone, but you don’t have any control when you’re heart chooses someone. Everybody in town suspected we were together, but it was one of those “don’t ask don’t tell” relationships for a number of reasons -- the kind you have in small towns. She was too scared to settle down with me, or to end it with me, so I ended it. Years later, well, the song spells it all out, but I could no longer keep the “big gay secret” that ended up not being so secret, when I was confronted with having to tell the truth about us. This all happened many years ago, but I bumped into this person only last year in the same small town, after not seeing her for years, and she screamed my face off for telling the truth – that incident ended up being “The Red Door” on the album. Anyway, this song is what I would have said to her -- if I could have gotten a word in edgewise.

 

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