East County singer-songwriter Dannie Marie performs at The Music Box

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Singer-songwriters have tales to tell through their music. That applies as much for younger performers as for more seasoned composers.

East County’s young country artist Dannie Marie demonstrated that with an energetic and engaging set of her songs in downtown San Diego on March 2. Dannie Marie was opening act during an evening of country music at The Music Box. 

Singer-songwriters have tales to tell through their music. That applies as much for younger performers as for more seasoned composers.

East County’s young country artist Dannie Marie demonstrated that with an energetic and engaging set of her songs in downtown San Diego on March 2. Dannie Marie was opening act during an evening of country music at The Music Box. 

This was her second show with a full band. Now 24, she already has nearly two decades of performing experience, as she began singing for audiences when she was 6 years old.

Dannie Marie infuses her singing with high emotion and high energy. She plainly puts much of herself into her music. Accompanied by a four-member band, she entertained listeners with quick changes of pace, from sweet heartbreak ballads to hard-rocking songs. Dannie Marie’s soulful vocals paired with backup harmonies showed off what her promotional materials describe as “bro country with a dose of estrogen.” The influences of Florida Georgia Line are clear in both her compositions and her performances.

In an interview after her set, Dannie Marie explained what led her to pursue this particular career path. As a little girl, she got hooked on Britney Spears musical performances. Dannie Marie explained that she begged her mother to take her to McDonalds, which at the time was featuring a complimentary “happy meals” Spears EP album, which Dannie Marie listened to “over and over for months.” She started in musical theater, learning to sing and dance. Dannie Marie began writing songs when she was 10 years old. With a new guitar at 16, she “started writing her heart out,” and at that point was inspired by Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift.

Dannie Marie has been appearing at the summertime Del Mar Fair for a decade. And that shows in her polished stage presence and ease with entertaining a crowd.

One band member was Dannie Marie’s younger brother, Nick Pupa, 17, a senior at Foothills Christian High School. Pupa ably accompanied his big sister on harmony vocals, and the acoustic guitar and banjo. He has been performing with Dannie Marie for over two years. He plans to attend Grand Canyon University in the fall, and his interest is in studying business. And the music? “I would love to stick with the band,” Pupa said.

That echoed a note that Dannie Marie mentioned. This career of hers is a family business. Although taken aback by her very young daughter’s determination to follow a performing career, her mother, Laurel Moore, now works as her manager and business partner. “My mom was most supportive,” she said.

Dannie Marie already has devoted fans. One family drove from Loma Linda to see the show. Miranda Varoz moved to La Mesa in July 2015 and met Dannie Marie when she had no local friends.

“I am a country music fan. I’ve followed Dannie Marie as a friend and singer. I have been excited over her music since the day we met,” Varoz said.

The “next big thing” in Dannie Marie’s career, she said, will be Nashville-recorded music released online. Country music fans can pre-order the nine-track album “Anything I Wanna Be.” Information about Dannie Marie’s music, career, upcoming appearances and videos can be found at www.DannieMarie.com.

Dannie Marie kicked off the evening of music and was followed on stage by another interesting group of local musicians. For their first set of the night, front man Eric Sage and his backup performers appeared as Young Guns, covering Legends of Country Music hits, throwing in a couple of out of genre pieces, it made for a wonderful evening of musical entertainment. His band, enthusiastic and interactive created a great atmosphere with everyone in the audience getting involved in the well known tunes, singing along and dancing the evening away. After an intermission and change of wardrobe, they retook the stage as URBAN Legend, covering the wide-ranging songs of Keith Urban. Sage was especially impressive in recreating the mood and music of Urban. For more information about Eric Sage and his lists of Tribute bands and performances visit www.ericsage.info.

More about The Music Box, located at 1337 India Street, and future shows there is available at musicboxsd.com.

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