One of the most powerful qualities of songwriting is its amazing ability to reflect parts of ourselves that maybe we didn’t even know were there. Sometimes, it’s writing something down and realizing what you’re feeling as a result of reading what you said… other times, you can access currents deep within you that you haven’t even begun to explore yet.
For singer-songwriter Danelle Sandoval, the latter happened when she wrote her new single “Go,” which dropped on July 1.
“‘Go’ was formed three years ago in 2018, but it wasn’t until this year that I decided to finally release it,” Sandoval tells American Songwriter. “In fact, I never really knew if it would be released or not… at the time, it sounded like a completely different genre of music from what I was doing. I loved it, and it felt like me, but a different version of me—a version I hadn’t really discovered yet.”
Part of what led to Sandoval’s change of heart—and resulting discovery—this year was the ongoing narrative about racial violence in America. “Because of the violence against the Asian community, particularly the Atlanta shooting this year, I felt the need to increase awareness around Asian women, our stories and our experiences,” she explains. “And this song became my way of shedding light on the subject. It started out as a love song but became more than that.
“It helped me understand and accept myself and the skin that I’m in, especially as a woman, and more specifically, an Asian-American woman,” she continues. “It became my way of reclaiming my sexual identity and not being anyone’s fantasy except my own. Because of the way I look, I’m assigned a certain role in society: to be submissive, acquiescent, meek, docile. For a while, I defaulted to being those labels, whether it was in relationships, the workplace, or even the music industry. It took me a lot to realize how much this affected my mental health.”
Pouring all these reflections into “Go,” the soulful song takes on vibrant energy, rooted in a sultry backbeat. Sharing it now, Sandoval feels like she’s finally coming into her own. “It became more than just a love song, but stood as a message of empowerment and confidence that I found in myself,” Sandoval says. “As an Asian-American woman, I can be dominant, I can initiate, I can take up space. The art I make, the way I dress and what I do is solely for my own pleasure, not for anyone else’s. My goal is to make sure women like me—and women in general—are reminded of their power and strength, and that they can confidently take the lead in relationships and in their lives.”
Danelle Sandoval’s new single “Go” is out now—watch the music video for it below: