“I’ve always wanted my music to be something that could inspire people and that they could look up to. It’s always been my dream to be a signed musician,” said singer, songwriter and pianist Liza Donihue.
That dream is now coming true.
On Sunday, the 21-year-old Santa Clarita resident signed a yearlong development artist agreement with producer Steven J. Robinson. Under their current deal, Robinson will help develop Donihue’s sound and produce more original music to prepare her to sign a deal with a record label.
Donihue grew up in a family of musicians and fondly remembers playing songs in the garage with her parents and brothers, but said she only became serious about it within the last few years. Donihue was heavily involved in playing soccer in high school, which did not leave much time for music, though she has now shifted her focus.
“Bruno Mars really inspires me,” Donihue said. “His energy on stage and how he writes his own songs and songs for other major artists makes me want to get up and dance and put my own spin on music. I’ve been writing poems for a long time and I realized that I could combine my passion for music and my poetry skills to make my own songs.”
In 2016, Donihue met Robinson through a mutual friend, just as she began to explore playing music professionally. Though initially Robinson intended only to provide Donihue with advice about the industry and music production, they remained in contact and eventually Robinson produced Donihue’s original song, “Let Me Go.”
“What I really appreciate about working with Liza is that she’s very specific and she knows what she wants,” said Robinson, a former Canyon High School student and founder of the Rakitt Boxx Entertainment record label. “She’s not one to say ‘just play me something and I’ll write to it.’ She’d make critiques and changes depending on what direction she wants to go, and I was able to really tailor ‘Let Me Go’ to her vision. I played the song to colleagues and friends who all said I should invest more resources into helping Liza’s career take off.”
Donihue has released a cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” which she recorded with Matthew J. Both Donihue and Robinson describe her music as having a “pop” sound.
“‘Radio’ is one of my favorite words to use when describing Liza,” Robinson said. “She already sounds great but when your throw the production value behind it, that’s what’s being used on the radio right now or is being used in commercials. She’s unique but there’s also a commercial value to her sound that’s through the roof.”
Outside of music, Donihue still plays soccer with the AYSO Aces in Saugus (“Not recently though, I sprained my ankle really badly,”) and is also the vice president and a financial adviser with her father’s company American Lifestyle, where she started as an assistant. She is currently studying to test for her Series 65 license, which will allow her to do investment work.
The young musician said she enjoys working in finance and having a backup career and appreciates the opportunity to work closely with her family since she is family-oriented.
For the next year at least, Donihue’s career will be more geared toward developing her musical portfolio, which she hopes will reach those like her who turn to music for solace.
“I like writing songs that bring awareness to topics I’m passionate about, such as mental illness or abuse,” Donihue said. “I’m super passionate about helping others and I can’t think of a better way to do it than through music because music is a universal language. Music is how I got through some tough times. You can speak to someone across the world through a song.”
Donihue’s music can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, or through her Facebook page.