Dani-elle Kleha will be the first to tell anybody that being from a small town should never hold a person back from pursuing their life’s passion. The singer and songwriter from tiny Jermyn, Pennsylvania has proven that talent and hard work can lead to incredible successes even in an industry with roots in a city more than 800 miles away.
To put this into perspective, this is a 23-year-old woman who has already performed as a pre-opening act for some of the biggest names in country music, co-written with a Grammy-nominated songwriter, performed at one of Music City’s most popular venues during the legendary CMA Fest, and more. Dani-elle has managed to do all of that while living in a small Pennsylvania town with a population of only two-thousand people.
Like many children, Dani-elle showed an early affinity for music, and took an interest in singing even before she was able to read lyrics. Her first public performance, at only three-years-old, went off without a hitch because her mother helped Dani-elle memorize the words by playing the song repeatedly on a cassette. Dani-elle sang Alabama’s “Angels Among Us” as part of a Sunday school Christmas show at her church.
“I can actually remember singing on the altar and thinking how cool that moment was,” she remembers. “Since that day, there has never been anything else that I wanted to do.”
Fast forward nearly twenty years later and that same little girl is all grown up performing her own music as a pre-opener for country music superstar Darius Rucker. The show at Montage Mountain included another major act, Thousand Horses, at a time when the band’s hit single “Smoke” was sitting at #1 on the country music charts. By the end of that summer, Dani-elle was part of pre-opening acts for shows headlined by artists such as Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan. She also opened for Jon Muessigmann and Audra Mclaughlin, both finalists on NBC’s The Voice.
The opportunity to perform at those shows left Dani-elle with many precious memories.
“It was great being in front of so many country music fans who were so into my music,” she recounts. “It is an incredible feeling when you hit a stage like that and see so many fans having such an awesome time because of your music. Just being able to be a pre-opener for those people that I look up to in this industry was an honor and blessing in itself.”
Performing live has also allowed Dani-elle to fulfill other dreams, including playing at one of Nashville’s most revered venues: Tootsie’s World Famous Orchid Lounge during CMA Fest.
“I performed at four different venues during CMA Fest and each one of them had a vibe of their own but Tootsie's was really special.” she says. “Standing on a stage where so many legends have stood before me was incredible and I got to meet fans of mine from a bunch of other states who were in town for the festival.”
Dani-elle’s time in Nashville for CMA Fest saw her doing more than just performing. She was also acting as a CMA correspondent for one of her hometown radio stations, NASH FM 93.7. During the festival, Dani-elle was calling the station with reports about her shows as well as providing listeners with information on attendance, fans, people she was running into, and more. Her relationship with the radio station has since grown to include guest appearances, giving her an inside look at the world of commercial radio.
“Seeing it from the other side of the board gives you a much different perspective of the importance of radio,” she explains. “It makes you realize how radio truly is the lifeline between yourself, your music, and your fans. As an artist, you gain so much respect for those playing the music when you get to see how much hard work is put into a radio show.”
It is very obvious that this is a wild ride showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. Dani-elle has made every effort to learn from and work with the best in today’s music industry. She has studied voice with top voice instructor Renee Grant Williams (Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban), and has already co-written two songs with Grammy-nominated songwriter Amanda Williams (Garth Brooks).
Dani-elle was recently honored at the 2018 Josie Music Awards with the Fan's Choice Award, one of the most coveted awards of the night voted on by both the fans and the industry panel. The 2018 Josie Music Awards were held at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN.
She also earned a high honor at the 2017 Josie Music Awards where she beat out more than three dozen other nominees to be named “Female Artist of the Year” in the Modern Country Category. The award was announced and presented in front of approximately two-thousand guests at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee where she and her band were also able to perform.
“There were so many incredible female artists up for the award, so to hear my name called was a total shock,” says Kleha. “To be in music city and to be recognized by industry professionals is truly something that words can't even explain for me.”
Dani-elle has been awarded many other times as well including the 2016 Female Artist of the Year in Nashville, TN, 2015 Rising Artist Award in Nashville, TN, and the 2015 Steamtown Music Awards Country Artist of the Year.
Dani-elle’s growing fan base even rallied around her during the annual Nash Next Challenge for aspiring artists. She was one of twenty finalists from a group of nearly nine-thousand applicants. The competition involved a series of challenges in which artists were required to motivate their fan bases through social media and other types of engagement.
Even with her busy schedule, Dani-elle still makes time to give back to the community. She headlines the Positive Youth Tour, a series of live shows performed at schools in Pennsylvania’s Lackawanna and Susquehanna counties. The concerts include segments during which Dani-elle speaks to students about following their dreams, bullying, and self-worth.
“The feedback is absolutely incredible,” she exclaims. “I've actually had kids message me saying that I inspired them to go after their dreams and that makes me feel something that words can't describe. I share my own struggles with them and explain how I surround myself with the best of the best from my parents, to my team and to my friends.”
She is already attracting the attention of sponsors as well working with many different brands.
“I gain more team members and friends through the companies that we are working with,” Dani-elle says. “That makes me happier than I could ever explain.”
With her fresh new look and sound, Dani-elle is taking the Country Music world by storm one song at a time.