It’s about time to get acquainted with Daya, the 18-year-old vocal powerhouse whose soulful, lip-glossed croons you might recognize from the Chainsmokers’ massive 2016 Grammy winner “Don’t Let Me Down.” The breakout star, born Grace Tandon, turned heads with her debut album Sit Still, Look Pretty last year, which included Hot 100 chart-climber “Hideaway” and earned her the No. 5 slot on Billboard‘s 21 Under 21 list for 2016 — all before her 18th birthday.
That said, we can only imagine what’s to come from this emerging name. For now, tune in to our seven favorite Daya songs thus far — and brush up on all there is to know about the dance-pop wunderkind — below.
7. Daya – “Words”
This sizzling dance-pop earworm covers impressive ground in its three-and-a-half minute runtime, layering thoughtful lyricism about saying those three special “Words” for the first time over atmospheric echoes, simmering percussion and Daya’s signature raspy vocal edge. All this makes the Daya song a hidden gem among her collection of radio smashes, though we wouldn’t expect it to stay under the radar for too long.
6. Daya – “Cool”
Another single from Sit Still, “Cool” has a slightly different taste than the rest of the album’s collection, leaning toward a chilled-out vibe with a bubbly, minimal melody. That mellow, laid-back feel meshes perfectly with the track’s message: that even doing absolutely nothing with the right person can mean, well, everything.
5. Daya – “Back to Me”
This raw heartbreak ballad is possibly the most emotive point in Daya’s catalogue, featuring goosebump-inducing new vocal heights and delicate piano chords. But it’s hardly a step in unfamiliar territory for the star. Listen closely to any of the tracks included on our list, and you’ll find the same tender, expressive lyricism under even the most club dancefloor-ready hook.
4. Gryffin & Illenium feat. Daya – “Feel Good”
Released in March, “Feel Good” with Gryffin and Illenium marks the newest addition to Daya’s collection of stellar collabs — and one of her best. The breezy Daya song pairs a glimmering, sunshine-y drop with blissful verses that more than live up to the track’s bright title.
3. Daya – “Sit Still, Look Pretty”
For the title track to Sit Still, Daya tackles societal expectations and female empowerment while managing to keep listeners dancing the whole way through — not to mention notching a No. 28 on the Hot 100. One listen through the bubbly, infectious chorus of this track, and “I don’t wanna sit still, look pretty” might just become your new mantra.
2. Daya – “Hide Away”
It should come as no surprise that “Hide Away” makes our list. With its smoldering, snappy soundscape and the catchiest of choruses, the track peaked at No. 23 on the Hot 100, snagging No. 20 on the Dance/Mix Show Airplay charts. Released in 2015, it served as the lead single off Daya’s debut self-titled EP, and was later included on Sit Still.
1. The Chainsmokers feat. Daya – “Don’t Let Me Down”
It’s hard to find a better track to top our list than “Don’t Let Me Down,” the sweeping 2016 heavy-hitter from the Chainsmokers that brought Daya’s expansive vocal range into the spotlight. It’s safe to say the world noticed — the track snagged a Grammy for Best Dance Recording that year, not to mention hitting a No. 3 peak on the Hot 100. We can barely believe Daya was only 17 years old when the song rose to fame, but if it’s any indication of what she’s capable of, there will be much more to come from this burgeoning star.