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Musician Daiela Simon-Seay ’26 makes her mark on campus music scene

Simon-Seay talks pursuing music professionally, collaborating with other student artists

<p>Daiela Simon-Seay ’26’s single “I’m Not Her” is available to stream on both Apple Music and Spotify.</p><p>Courtesy of Daiela Simon-Seay</p>

Daiela Simon-Seay ’26’s single “I’m Not Her” is available to stream on both Apple Music and Spotify.

Courtesy of Daiela Simon-Seay

Daiela Simon-Seay ’26 is new to the campus music scene, having just arrived at Brown in the fall. But she is not new to the industry at large: her family consists entirely of musicians, her music is available to stream on several platforms and her band members are scattered all across the country, from Boston to Los Angeles.

“Music has been a huge part of my life ever since I was born,” Simon-Seay said. Her mom is a vocal producer and singer-songwriter vocal coach, her dad a bass player and her brother a singer and producer, she explained. “It was something I could not escape, but now I’m so happy I’m doing it seriously.”

Currently, Simon-Seay is a member of HALFnHALF — an R&B and indie band whose other three members currently attend Berklee College of Music. The group first formed a few years ago after meeting at summer camp. They all then “just kind of linked on Facetime,” according to Simon-Seay.  

“We’ve gotten so many cool opportunities being split between Berklee and Brown,” Simon-Seay said, adding that the band opened for Blue DeTiger at the Royale in Boston last November. HALFnHALF’s song “LADY” boasts over 200,000 streams on Spotify.

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Simon-Seay’s single “I’m Not Her” is also available to stream on both Apple Music and Spotify. The song was released about two years ago, along with a music video.

“I think I’m being super selective with the music I do put out, just because I want to make sure it feels super authentic to me,” she said. “Since I am kind of all over the place, I want to figure out my sound before I just start putting out things.”

Simon-Seay described her personal style as spanning a wide array of genres. “I mainly do R&B soul funk music, but I’ve been venturing into hyperpop and heavy metal,” she said. She also grew up playing jazz and is trained in drums.

As far as her artistic process goes, Simon-Seay draws mainly from her personal life. “A lot of my daily experiences I like to reflect on and then kind of just put those vibes into my music,” she said. “I voice memo so many things.”

Simon-Seay added that her process for making music is different every time, “which is kind of the beauty in it.”

When first coming to Brown, Simon-Seay knew that she was “here to mainly focus on music.” She plans to concentrate in music, has performed at events, including one hosted by Small Victories, and has joined Shades of Brown, an on-campus a capella group. 

“It’s really cool to meet other musicians who … aren’t classically trained … and to just build that community with really dope singers,” she said.

While she is engaged with many different musical communities on campus, Simon-Seay wants to maintain a balanced lifestyle. “I want to make sure I’m growing as a musician — practicing, putting in my hours — but also just living,” she said.

In terms of current projects, Simon-Seay recently finished recording background vocals on a song for fellow campus musician Julien Deculus ’25. She is also planning a performance with Chance Emerson ’23.5, another student musician, and is scheduled to appear at the Class Coordinating Board’s annual gala in the spring. She recently performed at a WBRU live session, accompanied by her bass player Jon (JD) Gormon ’26.

Simon-Seay was extremely appreciative of Gormon and his work, calling him her “rock.” 

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“We play every single show together,” she said. 

Gormon said he felt similarly about Simon-Seay. “Not only is she one of the most musical people that I’ve met and interacted with, but she’s also my best friend,” he said.

Simon-Seay just finished working in collaboration with another student artist on campus, photographer and videographer Dori Walker ’24. Walker had been helping her shoot a music video for a single that she and her brother plan to release in mid-May.

“She’s crazily talented and also warm and open,” Walker wrote in a message to The Herald. “Especially as a collaborator, she’s always willing to try new things and push her art.”

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The single is called “Delete Me” and is a product of Simon-Seay and her brother’s band Abuelita, which she described as a“little alter-ego band.” 

It’s “our angsty teen music,” she said. 

In the future, Simon-Seay said that she is looking forward to continuing her work in the music industry, both on and off campus.

“I definitely want to graduate, and then just start touring,” Simon-Seay said. “I'm just super excited for the time that I can focus on my artistry solely.”


Rya Vallabhaneni

Rya is an arts & culture section editor from Albany, NY. She is a junior studying English and Literary Arts, and her favorite TV show is Breaking Bad.



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