Danielia Cotton in Concert

Posted in Events, Past Events

DanieliaCottonDanielia Cotton

Performs Live

Cadwalader Park

Sunday, June 24, 2018,  4-6pm

sponsored by

City of Trenton and

Trenton Museum Society

Hopewell born, powerful vocalist and songwriter Danielia Cotton will perform her signature blend of blues, jazz, rock, r&b and gospel in a free concert.

Danielia Cotton is a Philadelphia-based powerful vocalist and songwriter from Hopewell, NJ.

Longtime local music aficionados know that Danielia is the daughter of jazz singer Wenonah Brooks, still performing in local venues today. Danielia began playing guitar at the age of 12 and she joined her mother and aunts in a gospel vocal group called the Brooks Ensemble Plus. At home, Cotton absorbed her mother’s love for jazz and gospel, while at school she picked up a appreciation for hard rock bans like AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and Judas Priest, and she’d later discover black rockers like Lenny Kravitz and Living Colour. Cotton would go on to attend the New Jersey School of Performing Arts, and after graduating, she earned a full scholarship to study music at Vermont’s Bennington College. Cotton would also study at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and she credits her study of acting as making her a stronger singer.


In 2004, Cotton released her first recording, the eponymous Danielia Cotton. Since her initial release, Cotton has released five additional EP’s and albums, including her latest, The Mystery of Me.


According to her website, Danielia Cotton closes her new record, The Mystery of Me, with a message of resilience. “The dark spots will appear,” she sings on the title track. “Just remember, you’re still here.” Cotton penned “The Mystery of Me”—a lovely ode to self-acceptance—in just one night. “I sat down and the song came; I was settling into that good place. I’m alright with the fact that there’s a few mysteries to life and to myself. I don’t think I always felt that way, but I do now.” The new album’s 10 tracks feature an eclectic mix of rock and soul, from the soaring “Set Me Free” to the deeply personal “Drink” and the upbeat “4 Ur Life,” which pulls inspiration from classic Motown as well as Sly and the Family Stone. In this we find Cotton coming to terms with her new-found happiness. The song’s carpe-diem message also makes it a call to arms for the younger generation in our current political climate, she adds. “I just feel like we need that right now. It’s saying something that needs to be heard, but not in a way where you’re like ‘goddamn.’ It’s not throwing it in your face, but it’s also like ‘this is it, the moment it changes.’ Right now, what we do now with everything that’s going on, it will change everything. It will change how we are here now and possibly the future.” It’s a strikingly optimistic message, one that Cotton’s arrived at after enduring some incredibly difficult times—where she dropped into an abominable low.


But The Mystery of Me sees the singer/songwriter rising from the ashes of that tumultuous period and finding a new, healthier perspective. “This is sort of the album that’s coming up to the other side,” she says. “There was an EP released before it that was sort of the beginning of the emergence. I was just coming up for the first bit of air. This is me standing more solidly on the ground…It was just writing in a better headspace, mentally and physically.”


Cotton believes The Mystery of Me accomplishes what she only hinted at with previous albums Small White Town and Rare Child, crediting her recent dedication to the piano with taking her to new creative heights.


“It gave me more vocabulary,” she says. “And instead of coloring with seven colors, suddenly I had like 19 colors. My vocab expanded and woo, I was off to the races…It just opens up the door and there’s a new way to say hello. It’s like learning a new language and all of a sudden you can just say things completely differently and the inflections are different. It’s awesome.”


It’s telling that after so many years Cotton is still looking for fresh ways to say hello to audiences. Though she’s constantly evolving as an artist, Cotton’s quick to point out that she’s always managed to remain herself.


“I still stayed true to myself because to me, I had to keep redefining success along the way and decide what it is I truly wanted,” she says. “Did I want adoration or did I want a certain level of artistry and acknowledgement from my peers versus fans? And I keep redefining and answering that question over and over again. I believe I’ve stayed true to who I was in the process, so that’s a deep thing. I went the long route, but I wouldn’t do it any other way. My first entertainment lawyer, Jaimie Roberts, always said ‘if it comes quick, it doesn’t last.’ If it’s a slow build, you’ll get there and you are much more likely to have longevity.”

The concert will be preceded by a Trenton Circus Squad performance at 3 pm.