Singaporean Australian singer Haneri’s (formerly known as Daphne Khoo) song “Y Didn’t You Say So” encourages others to embrace every single part of their identities. In the track, Haneri reflects on learning from mistakes and learning to love herself. The artist entered the spotlight in 2017 when she was featured on the Spotify “New Music Friday” playlist cover and charted at #9 in Singapore and six other countries with her first singles “Burning Up” and “Feel Alright.” Haneri is also well known in the EDM world and co-released tracks with DJ and producer DASCO and Dash Berlin.
The idea for Haneri’s track “Y Didn’t You Say So” emerged when she met someone who wasn’t sure about where their relationship was going.
She expressed in an interview with The Daily, “It was really confusing to me, and I’m sure [it was] for him too, but we both miscommunicated our intentions or how we moved forward, and I ended up being so frustrated I wrote this song!”
“‘Y Didn’t You Say So’ is my way of being fed up and infuriated, but also laughing off how men don’t know how to tell you what they want,” Haneri said in a press release.
“Music is the best way I share my heart and emotions in situations where I don’t know what to say,” she said. “I always find it best to write about something real, something I’ve been through or my co-writer has been through and to be as honest as possible.”
Haneri wants people listening to the song to feel relaxed and happy. She also hopes they will be singing along by the end.
“Y Didn’t You Say So” went through numerous versions and Haneri thinks the final version took the longest.
“Because writing it with Ben Samama and Tim Randolph was a breeze, we wrote it so quickly! I brought the song to producer Drew OfThe Drew a few years later, and it took some time to find a ground the song could land on that had the same tone and feel of the original demo,” Haneri said.
She continued, “I didn’t really understand where Drew was going ’til one day it all clicked, and I lost my mind over it! I hope you guys love it as much as I did as it was being made.”
Haneri considers “Hey, what’s your name” to be her favorite line from the song. Though it sounds simple at first, Haneri explained that the lyrics hint at a deeper meaning: “It’s my favorite because it reminded me of a time in my life where I finally picked up the courage to ask guys out instead of waiting to be approached, and it definitely makes me feel empowered to have taken that step.”
Haneri explained that dating can be such a confusing topic in today’s world. She felt that people can relate to that strange period when they’re spending time with someone they like and they’re not sure if it’s just for fun or if they’re going to take the relationship further.
“That time of trying to figure it out can be really fun or super frustrating,” she confessed.
Haneri mentioned that her track expresses her view on what had happened to her, but she does believe that everyone will be able to identify with it. The message of “Y Didn’t You Say So” is that “everyone deserves a partner that won’t keep us guessing.”
The artist revealed that she had gone into the writing session after driving to Los Angeles from San Francisco and had listened to the self-titled DNCE album on repeat, which had a huge influence on her record. The other songs in the EP were inspired by experiences in Los Angeles, whether it be her own story or the stories of people she’d met. She always tries to ensure that she brings authenticity to her records.
“The theme of the EP this song is on is honesty. The title is asking a very simple question on the lack of honesty, and it’s my way of building on that trajectory,” she said.
She also has a mini-documentary series coming out on YouTube and IGTV called “Makin It,” which talks about her life and the challenges she faced as an independent artist.
Haneri encouraged singers to always work on the best versions of themselves: “People that listen to you will always have an opinion about what you’re doing, but you need to be happy and satisfied with where you’re at and how you’re growing. Let that be your priority.”
Contact Ron Rocky Coloma at rcoloma ‘at’ stanford.edu.