'Elite' star Danna on 'peace' with early fame, why she left acting for music

Danna has mastered acting, so she's flipping the script. Born Mexican pop singer Danna Paola Rivera Munguía, now known as Danna, began her career at the age of 5.Her acting career began with benign parts in youth telenovelas such as “María Belén,” “Pablo y Andrea,” and “Atrévete a Soñar.”Danna's career grew with prominent roles in Spanish-language dramas “La Doña” and Netflix's “E”.lite.”

Danna retired in 2020 after 20 years as an actor. Danna began a full-time music career after releasing pop albums between 6 and 25. The 28-year-old singer reconciles her unique upbringing with a search for self-identity on her new album “Childstar,” released at 8 p.m. ET April 11.  

Building yourself through characters and personalities was wild, so I guess I started molding myself based on numerous personas, Danna tells in an English-Spanish interview. In therapy, I realized there were very messed-up things that prevented me from being my most honest self. For this record, I accepted that.”  

Don't expect a sarcastic record about fame's drawbacks. Danna's 13-track LP is mostly cathartic dance-pop that explores her life's kaleidoscope of experiences that have shaped her story.  

I discovered my art. Danna thinks she found her voice, music production style, and songwriting style. “It's a beautiful journey, but it's been hard and emotional.” Jet black tears across the face. A fishnet-clad devil wrecking a dressing room. A strobe-lit nightclub with writhing bodies. Danna says her unhappiness inspired the somber, gritty video for “Childstar” instead of the brilliant lights of kid stardom.  

“I wanted to deconstruct the image people had about me in this pink, perfect world and this sweetie thing with this aesthetic,” Danna explains. This darkness made me discover myself as an artist, and without that sadness and pit I was living in, I wouldn't have.”

Danna communicates this darkness on the album's opening track, "The Fall," a melancholy ballad in which she recognizes her inner struggle but promises to overcome it, a lesson she's learned from fame. “You'll see me fall thousands of times because I'm not perfect, but I'll make art and music from it,” she says.

Danna explains, “I’m a human being, and I make mistakes too every day, public or not.” “I don’t want perfection. I want to understand life. I've found serenity in that today.  

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