Mexican-American artist DannyLux’s musical journey began by turning trash into treasure


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Mexican-American artist DannyLux’s musical journey began by turning trash into treasure

DannyLux’s music doesn’t just tug at guitar strings—his tender lyricism, inspired by regional Mexican music and his father’s affinity for soft rock, pulls at listeners’ heartstrings, too. Since being taught how to play the guitar aged seven by a family friend, the instrument has been his calling card to a life outside his hometown of Desert Hot Springs, California. Now 19-years-old, his inner child is thankful for those lessons: over the past 2 years, he’s released three albums, and has just dropped his latest, ‘DLUX’.

For his debut A COLORS SHOW, DannyLux performed a rendition of “AMAR Y PERDER,” a break-up song so catchy it’s hard to tell it’s over. We spoke to the viral star about getting his start on TikTok, regional Mexican music, and how one person’s trash became his treasure.

What is your first musical memory?

My first ever guitar. I was seven-years-old and my dad brought it home from his job. He was strumming the strings—he’s not a player, he was just fingering them randomly.

Did you express to him that you wanted a guitar?

No, it was so random. My dad works as a garbage man: he picks up trash for a commercial government agency. When I was a kid, he would always find brand new things that people had thrown away just because they didn’t want them anymore. He would find toys for me, and furniture for my mom. Whenever I heard him come home, I would run through the door to see what he’d found. When he brought me home the guitar, I immediately fell in love with it.

My dad also picks up trash after festivals like Coachella now. When I played there, I got to take him with me. I brought him backstage and he had a great time.

How long did it take you to learn how to play the guitar?

I had this guitar, but I didn’t know how to play it. I started begging my mom to put me in guitar classes. My dad’s friend played in the church choir every Sunday, so during the week I would practice there. It probably took me around eight or nine months to get the basics. I was a little kid—my fingers were a bit too small! 

Has your father shaped your musical taste at all? What kind of music does he listen to? 

Even though my dad has never played an instrument or sang, he’s always had the best taste in music. He can listen to a song and know if it’s good or bad. He’s helped me a lot when I’m writing as well. He’s the first person I show new tracks just to make sure I get his criticism. He always tells me: “You should make this part like this,” or “change this word to this word.” He listens to a lot of rock groups from the 70s and 80s, and even the 60s. Some of the first songs I learned were from The Beatles. They’re still one of my favorite bands.

Is there a particular song of yours that he loved immediately? Or one that he thought you could improve?

I was really nervous when I showed him ‘Jugaste Y Sufri’, because I poured all of my feelings into it. He really liked it though. It was the first time that he didn’t have anything to say about a song.

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“I’ve always wanted to make regional Mexican music. It’s such a romantic style. Spanish is also a very romantic language. I wanted to be a part of that.”

You grew up in Palm Springs. What was that like? I always hear about the city from a tourist perspective, but not necessarily from locals.

It’s really boring. It’s a desert. There are things to do if you have friends, but growing up I was mainly alone in my room. I’d go to school, soccer practices, or just play guitar. For my last two years of high school, I got homeschooled because I wanted to focus on my music. I finished all of my assignments in a couple months so I could leave school earlier.

What’s the music scene like there?

There’s a little bit of everything. There’s a lot of regional Mexican music. You can also hear some street performers downtown playing old rock songs.

While I think we’re past it now, there was a time where it seemed like you had to be from specific cities to make it big. Did being from somewhere with a quieter scene discourage you?  

It motivated me even more. I live in Desert Hot Springs, which is right next to Palm Springs. Unless you stay there for Coachella, nobody has really heard of it. I really wanted to be the first person from there who actually did something. I’ve always known that this is what I want to do.

Some of your first videos on TikTok are covers. Did starting off with covers build your confidence? You were almost asking your followers whether you should continue. Did their response ever sway you?

When COVID started, I heard about people blowing up on TikTok by posting covers. I was always scared to share mine because usually no one would know the songs I played. I’ve always been a really shy person. I didn’t know if I wanted people to hear me.

One day, I decided to post a cover. I turned off my phone because I didn’t want to see if there were any comments. When I looked at it the next day, it had 12,000 views. Seeing the positive comments motivated me. After that, I started posting covers of regional Mexican songs on TikTok every two days. From the beginning, I’ve always wanted to make regional Mexican music. It’s such a romantic style. Spanish is also a very romantic language. I wanted to be a part of that.

“I like creating stories in my head. ‘If I was this guy in this type of relationship, how would I feel?'”

When did you start writing your own songs?

I got to the point where there were no more songs I wanted to cover. I remember looking through my comments, and I saw that someone had written:“Why don’t you try to make your own music?” I’d never even thought about it before. The first song I wrote was a love song called ‘24:7’. I was so nervous because I’d never even been in a studio before. The song wasn’t that well received—there were a lot of hate comments. My voice is really soft and people weren’t used to that in regional Mexican music. I remember crying one night because of the response. My mom told me that I just needed to be patient. Now, whenever I even release stuff, I always try to be patient.

Did it take you a long time to write your first song?

When I was first writing my songs, I was trying to make ‘corridos’. In ‘corridos’, they don’t really talk about love or breakups. They’re more about going out, drinking, and having a good time. I’ve never really experienced that lifestyle, so I couldn’t relate to it. Love and break up songs came the most naturally to me. My songs aren’t even written from personal experiences—I like creating stories in my head. “If I was this guy in this type of relationship, how would I feel?”

Can you tell us about the song you performed for your A COLORS SHOW?

You can feel the intensity in my voice on ‘AMAR Y PERDER’. Even if you can’t understand what I’m saying, you can still tell it’s a breakup song. Even if I’m writing a break up song, I like to have a groove to it. ‘TK’ is a sad song, but it’s still ear candy. 

You’ve done so much already. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I really want to start my own record label. I really think everyone deserves a chance to show what they have. 

DannyLux is a Mexican-American artist whose debut A COLORS SHOW dropped on 24th August 2023. You can watch the full performance on our YouTube channel.

Text: Kristin Corry
Photography: Megan Courtis
Videography: Lucas Sanou and Kai Chase-Meares
Video Editing: Louise Brewer


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