Interview – Danielle Ate the Sandwich

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Editors Note: Due to a busy week here, we will be replaying our interview series.  Since I interviewed Danielle back in January of 2009, she has released a great follow up album, has completed several small tours and even appeared in a major festival this last summer.

Once, stuck in the car with three screaming toddlers, I desperately put two empty raisin boxes on my fingers and made a puppet I called “Raisin Dog.” Raisin Dog, who had a very bad French accent, was far funnier than I have ever been. The ukulele seems to inspire funny in people the way this simple puppet did for me. Maybe it’s the small size, or the plucky sound, but the uke seems to pull it out of people.

One of the funniest people playing ukulele, and one of the best young song writers I have heard in years, is Danielle Anderson, who performs under the very humorous moniker, Danielle Ate The Sandwich. Behind her thick framed glasses, Danielle has the facial elasticity of a silent movie star. Fortunately for us, she is anything but silent, has a lovely voice, and writes songs that say things in a simple yet expansive way. For example, from her song On Planet Earth:

In a factory
in a small
Midwestern town
there are women
manufactured by the hour
and they are sexy
and they know more about comic books than me
and when you’re gone
I worry that they’ve found you

This lyric demonstrates the “show, don’t tell” dynamic she has down so well. Or, if you still need convincing, listen to the word craft in yet another great video from her forthcoming album.

To find out more about this rising musician, we asked her the following questions:

Donnie Bubbles: More and more of your songs have been on ukulele lately. Is the uke your official instrument of choice these days, and why or why not?

Danielle Ate the Sandwich: I do love the ukulele the most! So far, it’s the instrument that best compliments my songwriting style and singing voice. Aside from it being a crowd pleaser (people love tiny things), it’s fun to play and easier for me to work around than the guitar. Also, it’s easier for me to find the right tone or sound of a song I’m looking for on the ukulele. The chords tell stories on their own. The ukulele and I have a symbiotic relationship. I whisper, “Let’s write a song about my mother’s father’s death” and the ukulele says back to me, “Gm-F-C.”

DB: Sorry, but I have to ask about the name. Whose sandwich did you eat, and why has it left you branded as the one who ate it?

DATS: The name came after a long, late night of desperate attempts to finally decide on a name to call myself when I play music. I don’t love the sound of my first and last name together. It doesn’t evoke interest or imagery or any sense of anything really. So Danielle Ate the Sandwich is the name I came up with. But to really answer your questions…It was Prince William’s Reuben and there is a king’s ransom out for my head for such acts of treason!

DB: Do you find, as I did with the Raisin Dog puppet, that the persona of “Danielle Ate The Sandwich” begins to take on a life of her own?

DATS: Absolutely. I am a different person when I perform and the more I do it and the more comfortable I get with myself as a singer and as a performer, the more I morph in to this character. To me, a successful performance is entertaining your audience through music and genuine emotion as well as letting them into your world through conversation and making jokes and showing who you are as a person. I want to give people a reason to watch me and to listen to me. I love to perform. I love the things that come out of me. I feel more powerful and self-assured. I feel like I have the right to be loud and obnoxious. It’s silly, though, how I work as a person and as a musician. I don’t really like to be around people, but I love to be in front of them. You want to see a monkey dance? Give Danielle a microphone.

DB: The name of your new album is called Things People Do, which is also who you quote as your musical influence on your web site. Can you elaborate on this? Are you amused or befuddled by the things people do?

DATS: I say my influences come from the things people do, because it’s as simple and as complicated as that. I write songs about things I’ve seen or felt or experienced or wondered about or tried to put myself in the shoes of but never had the slightest idea how to. I think that the things people do are amusing and awful and brilliant and beautiful. One thing I’ve concluded about life is people do the things they do. We’re monsters and madmen and we’re capable of so much and usually do so little. When you think about it like that, about all of those possibilities, there are a lot of songs to be written.

DB: You have a “Coffee House” tour coming up at the end of January. Have you done many live performances? On the dates you share with other performers, will you be playing together, or one after the other?

DATS: I have played a handful of shows in Fort Collins and Denver, Colorado. I’ve played a butt-load of open mic nights. This is where I got my start and feel most at home. I can go there and get lost in a dark bar and drink beer and not have to talk to anybody, but get the chance to play for people. I am very excited about my upcoming show on the 27th of January at Pianos in New York City. I will play a set, followed by Part Bear ( and then we will play some songs together. It will make a very interesting mush, because I am a little bit country and they are quite a bit rock ‘n’ roll. It’s part of Liberated Matter’s Cross Pollination Series where they mix two unlike acts and get them to play together. I will also be playing a show on the 29th at Stain Bar with Kellie Rae Powell (, a beautiful ukulele player and singer. I would love to play with her, but we haven’t talked about doing anything yet. My show on the 30th at Tillie’s Coffee Shop in Brooklyn with Liz Wood ( should be a good time. We’ve talked about playing some songs together. I’m trying to talk her into playing “Time of My Life” from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack and she is politely refusing. She obviously has more self-respect than I do.

YouTube Channel: daniellesmagic

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