If you haven’t yet heard of Daya, read up. The 17-year-old singer’s sassy bubblegum anthem, “Hide Away,” was a certified sleeper hit last summer, vaulting her from high school teen to next-gen breakout. The ensuing months have seen the tune hit No. 23 on the Hot 100, rake in more than 110 million streams on Spotify, and help Daya score sets at New York’s Webster Hall and SXSW.
Her second single, culled from the self-titled EP she put out last September, packs a similarly spunky punch. While “Hide Away” pondered where the “good boys go,” “Sit Still, Look Pretty” relegates them to the sidelines. “Could wake up, and make up, and play dumb pretending that I need a boy,” she belts on the bouncy, eff-you jaunt, which debuts as an official single shipped to radio on Tuesday.
“It’s about being a girl that goes after her own dreams and really fights for what she wants, and not letting anyone get in the way of that,” Daya tells EW of the track. “It’s important for young girls to know that they don’t have to act a certain way or depend on someone for happiness. They can find all of that within themselves.”
And it’s a message Daya knows well. The success of “Hide Away” thrust her headfirst into the sometimes-daunting world of pop stardom, and she’s had to cast aside her own share of cynics along the way. “I’ve had a lot of people warning me about how to navigate [the industry]. People say it’s super hard or that I’ll never make it,” she says. “But it’s kind of like, ‘I’m going to do my thing and you can’t take that from me.’”
Daya promises the same sort of brash, ball-busting confidence on her debut album, due out later this year, but with a newfound sense of zen. The bulk of her EP was penned around her time in high school, and studying from the road has granted her the freedom to find herself. “I feel like my songs now are more chilled out because I’m in a happier place, doing what I love. They’re still feisty and powerful, but a little more chill,” she says. “I’ve learned more in the past six months than I have in three years of high school…I’m just working on who I want to be.”