Keep up to date with the latest  news from Danika. Click below. - the 615 - chuck dauphin - 9.3.14

Country Newcomer Danika Portz Talks Eclectic Influences: Katy Perry, Dolly Parton & The Circus

Danika Portz's debut single "Greatest Show On Earth" definitely qualifies as one of the most unique country singles this summer. The dramatic, haunting melody is underscored by the fact that the Iowa native simply sounds like nobody else in Nashville these days, especially on a vocal level. The lyrics of the song compare a disastrous love affair to life in the circus, which Portz says she realizes is slightly outside the lines for country.

"It's a little flowery, which scares some people off," she tells Billboard. "I wrote it with Chris Drizen, who is a great writer. We started with a melody, which sounds circus-y. It was very dark. I always loved going to the circus, and I loved that imagery idea. Because of the melody, it felt very angst-y, like someone had been wronged. It was easy to take it in that direction, and there are so many images that come along with that theme."

Portz is glad she took time to develop her skills as a writer once she moved to Music City in the spring of 2011. "The first thing you want to do when you get here is make a record. I had never written a song before I moved here, so I dove right in. By the grace of God alone, I fell in with some amazing writers, like Steve Mitchell, who also co-produced the album. He's been fabulous, and I learned so much from him.

"Three-and-a-half years ago, the songs I was writing were good, but they weren't this. I'm glad I had the foresight to hang on and build a catalog of great songs that I could pick from."

Her just-released EP, Set This World On Fire, showcases her diverse group of influences, ranging from icons like Dolly Parton and John Denver to more modern voices.

"My generation, our attention span is so short, and we get bored so easily -- myself included. That's where my music comes from: Katy Perry melodies with Mumford & Sons rhythm. It's grabbing from those, making something that is unique and different and represents just me."

The singer grew up in Remsen, Iowa -- a town of 1,500 -- so aside from singing in the choir at church, there weren't a lot of musical opportunities for her. "In second grade, I did my first competition. It was a jingle for Hy-Vee, a grocery store chain back home. I made it to the finals, so that was my first taste of competitiveness mixed with music. My mom lined up my first 'tour' -- which was to the local nursing homes with my cousin.

"We sang karaoke to Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. We put on a show, and I was in charge. I couldn't have been second or third grade, but I was calling the shots. Even from a young age, I was already in it," she recalls with a laugh. Later on, it was her stirring performance of the National Anthem that led to people outside of nursing homes to notice her talent.

One track that might very well break Portz's career wide-open is the heartfelt ballad "And He's Waiting." A song about heartbreak, the songstress says it's indeed personal. "That song is based on a true story. I've noticed in my writing that the more personal and specific that I get, the more universal that people are able to connect with it."

As a writer, Portz admits that she always has her radar on -- whether it's her life or conversations she might overhear at the airport, mall, or grocery store. "I have a whole list of notes on my iPhone. You would be surprised at what they can turn into. They can light a spark that leads the discussion to something else. I'm always listening."


Chuck Dauphin, Look Who's Talking- CDX Volume 600 Review 7.22.14

"DANIKA PORTZ/Greatest Show on Earth
Writers: Danika Portz and Chris Drizen; Producer: Steve Mitchell, Danika Portz & John Willis; Publisher: Green Hills Music and Grin Like A Dog Songs; DP
–The imaginative "circus" production touches are matched by terrifically inventive songwriting and a highly accomplished, sweet/tart vocal. There's a bonanza of creativity on parade here. Essential listening.  The DISCovery Award belongs to Danika Portz. I can't remember the last time I heard a new artist with this much creativity at her fingertips." - Robert K. Oermann, MusicRow Magazine 7.23.14 

"And, in the "Hidden Gem" section, I pick a couple of songs that showcase how unique the format is right now... It's a little bit off the beaten musical path, but Danika Portz has released a masterpiece with the totally intriguing "Greatest Show On Earth." While she paints outside the lines, that's a good thing. If her music can get heard by the right people, this could be one of those acts like The Civil Wars or Norah Jones, where you might see her name in a Grammy category sooner than later. She's that good, folks. Trust me!"

MUSICROWPICS: DANIKA PORTZ - Jessica nicholson - 7.11.14

Rising singer, songwriter and entertainer Danika Portz recently visited theMusicRow office to preview songs for staff.

Portz hails from the tiny town of Remsen, Iowa, which boasts an estimated population of 1600 people. “I had 32 people in my graduating class,” said Portz, “and that included two exchange students.”

Portz moved to Nashville three years ago to pursue her musical aspirations. Her songs blend various colors from the musical palette, incorporating shades of jazz, folk, and pop. “I’m from the YouTube generation,” said Portz. “People are always looking for something new. People get bored very easily, myself included, so I pull from a lot of influences.”

In 2013, she signed a co-publishing deal with Green Hills Music Group, and Grin Like a Dog Songs. Accompanied by Scott Mulvahill on guitar and percussion, Portz performed a trio of tunes from her upcoming project Set This World on Fire, including “Greatest Show On Earth,” “Feet Run Out,” and the project’s title track.

“This is three and a half years of hard work and honing my craft,” said independent artist Portz.  “I feel like it doesn’t sound like anyone else. Because I’m not signed, I had more freedom and I took advantage of that.” She worked to finance the project through a Kickstarter campaign which raised $17,000, which was $7,000 more than her $10,000 goal. Though she set a 45-day goal to raise the $10,000, she met that mark in less than three days. “That allowed us to put an extra song on the album and do some interesting promotional things for the project,” said Portz. “Everyone has been so supportive.”

Set This World On Fire is produced by Portz, Steve Mitchell, and John Willis.

She has recently performed at Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe, the BMI Key West Songwriters Festival, and at CMA Music Festival. She was also tapped to perform the theme-song for current MTV show, Virgin Territory.

CMA Music Festival Perofmance- nashville, tn

one 16/7/2014 - June is turning out to be an exciting month for Danika Portz. First came a performance at The CMA Music Festival on June 7th on the AT&T U-Verse Stage in Fan Fair X.

"I was thrilled to be invited to perform at CMA Music Fest, this was a first for me. The AT&T U-Verse stage was perfectly placed to greet fans as they entered Fan Fair X – the crowds were fantastic and I was so happy to be included with such talented acts like Mattie and Tae, Native Run, Jana Kramer, Dan + Shay and more. The CMA Music Festival was a wonderful experience for me."

On the heels of her CMA performance, Portz is ready to release her debut recording project Set This World On Fire. Produced by Portz, Steve Mitchell and top session guitar player John Willis, the project was financed by a successful Kickstarter campaign that was fully funded in the first 54 hours, and ultimately raised over $17,000. Portz entered Willis's studio with 7 of her favorite songs, all of which she co-wrote.

To celebrate the release of her recording project, Portz will wrap up the month of June by returning to her home state of Iowa for a 10 day tour of the state. One of these performances will be in her home town of Remsen to celebrate the town's 125th Anniversary. Portz will be back in Nashville to celebrate the release of Set This World On Fire on July 9th @ 9pm at The Basement.

Danika Launches new campaign: Let's Set This world on fire!

This is it! My very 1st REAL album of songs I've written and produced with the best talent in Nashville! Let's Set This World On Fire!!! Click HERE for details! 

Portz to perform at nsai's 22nd annual Tin Pan South SONGWRITErS FESTIVAL

tin pan south
Saturday, March 29, 2014 $10 · 9:30PM
Danika Portz, Rich Karg, Steve Mitchell, Bob Regan

Grin Like A Dog's President and songwriter, Steve Mitchell, has assembled quite a round! There's hit writer Regan (Thinking 'Bout You, Soon, Not A Day Goes By, Runnin' Out Of Reasons To Run, Your Everything, Busy Man), with up and coming singer/songwriters Portz (Alice In Wonderland, Just Try To Stop Me, Feet Run Out, And He's Waiting) and Karg (Unstoppable Girl, It Ain't Hollywood, That Song Hurts, Her Fireworks). So, step right up for The Greatest Show On Earth, as presented by Grin Like A Dog.

In October 1967, forty-two songwriters got together and formed the Nashville Songwriters Association, because they knew their profession needed a voice. Today, NSAI is the largest not-for-profit member trade association for songwriters in the world. In 1992, a handful of songwriters and the staff at NSAI produced the first Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival. Now in its twenty-second year, Tin Pan South embodies the spirit of the songwriting community. For more information, CLICK HERE.



Celebrating its 19th year, The Key West Songwriters Festival is the largest festival of its kind in the world. Since 1997 BMI has been a charter sponsor of the festival and has helped it grow into both a tourist attraction and favorite of island locals.


The festival revolves around five days and nights of more than 20 free shows, staged at an array of the island's most popular drinking holes and hot spots, where live music bliss introduces crowds to the faces, voices and stories behind the songs.


Diverse lineups featuring more than 100 top songwriters deliver rare, "Key West-only" moments: Informal adaptations of Nashville's signature in-the-round acoustic showcases dominate much of the schedule, while an event-capping street concert adds an enticing Mardis Gras fillip to the mix.


Performers on the Festival line up are selected and invited by BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC. For more information, CLICK HERE



joining the country music association



CMA Close Up
Christian Bottorff  /  January 10, 2014

Danika Portz signs up for CMA membership on Dec. 16, 2013. Pictured (l-r) co-publisher and, CMA member Woody Bomar of Green Hills Music Group. CMA Director of Membership and Balloting Brandi Simms, Danika Portz, and co-publisher and CMA member Leslie Mitchell of Grin Like A Dog Songs. Photo by Sarah Abell / CMA

Danika Portz signs up for CMA membership on Dec. 16, 2013. Pictured (l-r) co-publisher and, CMA member Woody Bomar of Green Hills Music Group. CMA Director of Membership and Balloting Brandi Simms, Danika Portz, and co-publisher and CMA member Leslie Mitchell of Grin Like A Dog Songs. Photo by Sarah Abell / CMA

CMA welcomes its newest member, artist and songwriter Danika Portz, who stopped by Dec. 16, 2013 to sign up for CMA membership.

Portz, who is from the tiny town of Remsen, Iowa — population 1,600 — now resides in Nashville and is sponsored by Bettie Page Clothing of Las Vegas

Being a CMA member has its benefits. One of the greatest is that your membership helps advance Country Music. Several membership categories are available. Become a member today! CLICK HERE

Visit Danika’s official website HERE, follow her on Twitter, @DanikaPortz, or catch up with her on Facebook HERE.

Performing LIVE at the Sold Out Blue Bird Cafe:

Danika Performing "Feet Run Out"  

Danika Performing "Greatest Show on Earth"

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