RIYL: Harry Styles, John Legend, Joy Oladokun, Lianne La Havas, HAIM
"While truly each of her songs stands on its own as a catchy and cathartic outpouring of self-expression, all of McDaniel’s art contains through-lines that effectively, evocatively capture our shared core humanity."
Atwood Magazine - New York
"Classic dreamy, crystal clear vocals, she lets her melodies soar and brings her sound to life...vulnerable and honest lyrics"
Wonderland Magazine - London
"Crystalline vocals blend painlessly with the pop-fused melodies and flavorful instrumentation"
Occhi Magazine - New York
"Shayla’s relatable lyricism fits perfectly with her distinctive vocal style, creating a sound that is wonderfully vibrant as a result."
HRMNY Presents - Brighton, UK
"Shayla McDaniel’s debut album, Take Care, certainly delivers and her musical gifts are on full display from beginning to end. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this record, and I can honestly say I’m a big fan of her work."
"Shayla’s writing skills really shine on this album – lyrically she manages to reach out with ease as she speaks about what she feels without being cryptic and difficult to follow. And when it comes to instrumentation, well there’s plenty of really good production going on."
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Shayla McDaniel is a singer-songwriter & multi-instrumentalist crafting music to soundtrack your life. The Knoxville, TN-based laid back artist's honeyed vocals and indie pop-rock hit that sweet spot between major and minor tonalities with a pan-genre appeal. Pristine vocals, breezy pop grooves, big hooks, and soaring melodies contribute to her pop allure. It took a little prodding to get lifelong musician, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Shayla McDaniel onstage. A friend of hers had never heard the Knoxville-based singer-songwriter’s musical gifts, but was well-versed in her steely determination and Type A personality. He suggested she take her music out of the basement, and Shayla took his sage advice and emerged an award-winning prolific artist with a soulful, guitar-driven alt-rock sensibility. In a short period of time, the young artist has garnered prime accolades. Her music has been featured in MTV's Siesta Key, Disney+ Big Shot, and The CW's Nancy Drew, among others. She performed at Rhythm N’ Blooms Music Festival; the Waynestock Festival; Sunset on Central; Women in Jazz Jam Festival; and live on-air at WUTK 90.3 FM, WDVX 89.9 FM, and WOZO 103.9 FM, among other stations. Shayla has been in Knoxville Music Warehouse’s Top 16 song charts; been voted by fans as Knoxville’s Favorite Band; won numerous Knoxville Music Awards; and earned prestigious awards nominations from CityView Magazine and Knoxnews. Shayla’s catalog is vast, however, several recurring themes surface, thematically as well as musically. The tracks showcase her purposeful and generous songwriting skills—she’s a boldly vulnerable and expressive writer who never hides behind vagueness. “I process my feelings through my songs,” Shayla divulges. “Sometimes, I start off feeling confused or neutral, and I let the music take me away. In my songs there are recurring themes of loving others, loving yourself, and mental health. I feel like if you look after yourself, you’ll be equipped to take care of others. I struggle with depression, and now that I have more of a platform, I want to share my story and shine a light on mental health issues,” she says. Shayla’s polished vocals, her pop-rock songwriting, and her instrumental instincts invite comparisons to John Legend fronting an indie rock band, The Roots affiliate Cody Chestnut (“The Seed 2.0”), and a silken Gary Clark Jr. But the truth is, there aren’t many talents who sound like Shayla. Her smoothly emotional vocals, self-contained artistry, and indie rock outlook is singular. Shayla counts as influences artists as diverse as the band Joseph, Lianne La Havas, Andraé Crouch, and Deep Sea Diver, among others. She released her debut single in 2016; her debut EP in 2017; and a follow-up EP in 2019. She released her debut full-length record titled "Take Care" in 2022. Shayla grew up playing music in church and elementary school orchestral programs while exploring multiple instruments in her parent’s basement. She began learning bass at church, accompanying the gospel choir when the bassist had gone off to college and left the instrument behind. “My brother messed around with it first, but didn’t really like it, so I picked it up,” she recalls. “Learning to play by ear and with other musicians was extremely helpful.” Through a patchwork of school instruction and informal experiential learning, Shayla has been able to be proficient on bass, guitar, drums, keyboard, and production software. She played her first show in 2017, and has been pursuing a professional career ever since. Today, she writes, sings, produces, engineers, and plays all the instruments on her songs, but has outside engineers mix and master her tracks. Driven, productive, and prodigiously talented, McDaniel is now poised to emerge a world-class artist with a uniquely emotive indie-rock aesthetic. Up next, she will be playing local and regional shows with her band, as well as intimate solo performances for her ever-growing audience. “I feel like I am really finding myself as an artist these days. It’s been such an uplifting journey,” Shayla says. “Music really brings meaning to my life, and it always makes me feel better.
Music featured on MTV, Disney+, The CW and more sync
Performed Rhythm N' Blooms Music & Arts Festival: 2017, lineup included Young the Giant, Dave Barnes, Gogol Bordello, Birds of Chicago, and others
Radio airplay & Live in-studio performances on WUTK 90.3 FM, WDVX 89.9 FM, WOZO 103.9 FM, and others
Nominated Best Local Musician/Band: 2019 - 2022 by KnoxNews
Nominated Best Local Singer/Songwriter: 2019 - 2022 by CityView
Voted Best Local Musician/Band 2018 by KnoxNews Readers
Voted Favorite Local Band 2017 by KnoxNews Readers
"26 Letters" selected in Top 20 Albums of 2017 by Knoxville Music Warehouse
"26 Letters" selected in Top Albums of 2017 by Maryville Daily Times
Trio - pop/rock band
Trio - reduced volume setup
Duo - regular setup
Duo - reduced volume setup
Solo - guitar and vocal