Meet Along the Way: Danetta Mason

Women do incredible things. This running “Meet Along the Way” feature shares the stories of women who are a part of the Southeast Missouri community by way of living here, being from here or passing through. We hope these stories inspire you to connect with others and that they encourage you to be who you are in the world. We need you and your unique gifts.

Danetta Mason has been singing since she was a kid; she credits her grade school music teacher with inspiring her to sing. It was in her 30s that she decided to start singing with a band; since, she has sung with approximately 10 bands. Two years ago, her music video for the song “Bad Goodbye” won Video of the Year in the Rock Category at the Josie Music Awards in Nashville. She has opened for bands such as Styx, REO Speedwagon, Smile Empty Soul and Saving Abel, as well as played at Moonstock. 

“It’s not a lot, but it’s more than some,” she says of her musical accomplishments. “It’s enough to be proud of what you’ve done.”

By trade, Danetta is a hairdresser; her songwriting inspiration, she says, comes from listening to people as they talk to her while in her salon.

“I listen to people as they speak to me at work or just in general, and sometimes I can pick out of their story when they tell me their story something to write a song about,” she says. “I do that quite often. Seldom is anything I write about myself.” 

Currently, Danetta is taking a break from music to open her new salon in Cape Girardeau, La Dolce Vita Salon. There are many similarities between being a hairdresser and songwriter, she says. Among them are being dedicated, having a lot of help from your network of people and having a good work ethic. You also have to be a people person, someone who can relate to others as a good listener. 

Listening is the key to writing songs for Danetta.

“If you’re going to write a song about someone’s life, you better be listening to what they say,” she says. “Every now and then, you get a gem, and it either will just come to you — you get the whole melody with it and the words — or you just have words and your musicians help you fill in the gaps with the music and somehow a thought turns into a thing. Just kind of progresses into that; it’s neat. Then you have a little piece of it forever.”

Despite its joys, the music industry doesn’t come without its challenges. Danetta says it is an especially tough one for women; in her experience, many of the clubs musicians play in are owned by men who are more apt to book shows and negotiate prices with other men. 

“If I had to give another female musician who was trying to do what I was trying to do advice, it is try everything and don’t give up,” Danetta says. “Just don’t quit.”

It’s one of the many things Danetta has learned throughout her years as a musician. Practically, she has also learned how to set up a sound system, how to manage a band and how to be a businessperson who does a band’s booking and promotion. Stylistically, she’s taken something vocally from people she’s played with, adding it to her own vocal style. 

She loves that music builds community.

“Everyone can relate to music, you know. It’s a frequency,” Danetta says. “It’s a frequency that kind of matches everyone’s soul. Some people’s frequency is real loud and some people’s is real mellow, but I think that is how everyone can relate.”