Fresno Beehive

Daya proves an engaging – if emerging – pop star

Seventeen-year old pop singer Daya performs at The Big Fresno Fair.
Seventeen-year old pop singer Daya performs at The Big Fresno Fair. The Fresno Bee

Even before Daya took the stage for her Sunday afternoon performance at The Big Fresno Fair, it was easy to spot the hardcore fans. There was the kid up front with the homemade photo collage, tie-dyed T-shirts and copies of the singer’s EP and debut album. Another, a few rows behind, sang Daya’s hit “Hide Away,” as if in preparation for the moment to come. One girl was hardly able to contain her excitement waiting to see the 17-year-old pop singer.

“I’m getting the chills,” she said, perhaps to a friend or more likely to the crowd at large.

Daya lead with her new single “Sit Still, Look Pretty,” then ran through a 45-minute that ended with “Hide Away.” In between were a few tunes that she admitted she’d never played live before.

It was a reminder that even with Daya’s success – 50 million streams on Spotify,the backing of “The Today Show’s” Elvis Duran – the singer is still young and it’s early in her career. Her debut is just out. This is her first major tour. As such, the crowd wasn’t quit packed in the way it is for the evening shows. There were large sections of empty seats.

Daya’s strength comes in the voice, which is pure and lilting and emotive. That showed through in the show’s quieter moments; when she sat at the piano to play “Back to Me,” for example. Unfortunately, those moments, which should have felt close in and intimate, got lost in the size of the venue. Mostly, Daya came in with fun, big banging pop tunes that had her bouncing around the stage and rocking out.

Stray observations:

▪ The name is pronounced DAY-AH.

▪ The Paul Paul theater needs some shade for these noon-time shows. The sun was brutal.

▪ The fair’s afternoon show are for the kids. The crowd was mostly teens and preteens with their parents.

▪ The security did its best to keep people from recording the show with their phones. It was an uphill battle.

▪ I stood through the majority of the performance. Not everyone did. It felt odd.

▪ The singer totally showed her age, stopping to get a cell phone video of the crowd. “This is going on the snap.”

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee