Chart Beat Podcast: How Daya Broke Through on New Label Artbeatz

Nathan Johnson
Chart Beat Podcast: Daya

Steve Zap & Gino Barletta, co-founders of Artbeatz, recount the rise of the label's breakout signee, Daya. Barletta also talks about co-writing "Hide Away" & "Sit Still, Look Pretty."

"'If I'm gonna date, I wanna make sure that guy really respects me. I'm not willing to compromise on certain morals, ethics and standards,' " Daya told Gino Barletta in a writing session more than a year ago.

While praising the young artist's values, Barletta also thought, "That's a really great song." Soon after, "Hide Away" was written (with Brett McLaughlin and Britten Newbill). In early 2016, it became Daya's first Billboard Hot 100 hit, reaching No. 23, and her first of three top 10s, climbing to No. 7, on the Pop Songs airplay chart.

Not only did it mark Daya's breakthrough, it also signified a successful launch for new label Artbeatz, founded by Barletta and major-label vet Steve Zap, both of whom join Billboard Chart Beat Podcast host, and Billboard co-director of charts, Gary Trust to trace the rapid rise of Daya and Artbeatz over the past year. In both the artist and label's latest milestone, Daya's debut full-length Sit Still, Look Pretty arrived Friday, Oct. 7, and is set to launch on the next Billboard 200 albums chart (highlights of which are scheduled to be announced Sunday, Oct. 16, on Billboard.com).

"I've lost sleep, I've aged, my family doesn't know me anymore," Zap half-jokes about the challenges he's faced heading up a startup label, despite the multiple successes for Daya, who followed "Hide Away" with her featured vocal on the No. 3 Hot 100 smash, and three-week Pop Songs No. 1, "Don't Let Me Down" by The Chainsmokers and her own "Sit Still, Look Pretty," now at No. 8 on Pop Songs (and No. 32 on the Hot 100 after reaching No. 28). According to Zap, "Words," sporting perhaps an even more immediate hook than any of her hits so far, will be the next single from the new album.

"We're a small company. All we can do is have hit songs," Zap says. "Now we have a lot of credibility. We changed the lives of a lot of people with this project."

Zap, also Daya's manager, additionally traces the origins of "Don't Let Me Down," spurred by Artbeatz's partnership with Sony's promotional and distribution arm RED, which, earlier this year, was helping take The Chainsmokers to new heights with what would become the duo's first Hot 100 top 10, "Roses" (featuring Rozes). "Gino took Daya into the studio and recorded it." The response? "'Winner, winner. I think we have a winner here.' And, look at it now. It also gives her three hits to tour with." Daya will headline her first tour beginning in February. Before then, she'll join iHeartMedia's Jingle Ball Tour for dates between Nov. 29 and Dec. 18.

Says Barletta of Daya, aka Pittsburgh native Grace Tandon, 17, "I've known Grace for a really long time, and the core message of 'Hide Away' really is who she is as a person. Standing up as a young female and saying, 'We don't have to be treated a certain way,' is a really relevant message to girls her age and beyond." From "Hide Away" to the rest of the new LP, he says, "We tapped into something that is really authentic."

A sampling of previous episodes with host Gary Trust:
KCSN's Sky Daniels / Timothy B. Schmit / Chart Historian Joel Whitburn / Fall Preview With ABC Radio's Andrea Dresdale / Debbie Gibson / Hit Songs Deconstructed on The Chainsmokers & Meghan Trainor / Lionel Richie (hosted by Trevor Anderson) / Chubby Checker on the Hot 100's All-Time No. 1, "The Twist"

Enjoy the entire latest Chart Beat Podcast and check back for more upcoming episodes with artists, label executives, radio programmers and personalities, songwriters, producers and more, as we look at why what's on the charts … is on the charts. And, to receive every episode automatically in your inbox, subscribe to (and rate) the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast on iTunes!