DannyLux. Credit: Esteban Flores

Coachella almost always features a hometown act. This year, that hometown act is Palm Springs native DannyLux—but his popularity had him ready for Coachella regardless of where he calls home.

After exploding on TikTok during the COVID lockdown, DannyLux, aka Daniel Balderrama, has become famous around the world. He’s got more than a million followers on Instagram, and more than 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify; he’s headlined festivals in both the U.S. and Mexico … all while finishing high school last year. His music can be described as “alternative corridos,” putting a new spin on a classic form of Mexican music. Check out songs like “El Dueño De Tu Amor” and “Mi Otra Mitad” for an emotional slice of indie Mexican music.

YouTube video

DannyLux will perform at Coachella on Friday, April 14 and 21.

“I was in Austin, Texas, at the airport coming back to Cali, and I was literally in the airplane, and then I got a random tag from Coachella,” Balderrama said during a recent phone interview. “My team was talking about it, that maybe I was going to be in Coachella, and then randomly, I saw that the literal Coachella page tagged me. It’s a sick feeling. … I couldn’t do anything, because right when I saw that, the airplane took off. … Right when I landed, I called my mom and told her.”

Although he grew up 30 minutes from the Polo Grounds, Balderrama has never before been to Coachella.

“It’s my first time going, and I’m going be performing, so that’s pretty sick,” Balderrama said. “My dad works picking up garbage, and he actually used to pick up the garbage at Coachella. Now he’s going to go with me and get to go backstage.”

Balderrama said his lack of a social life allowed him to dive deep into his parents’ music.

“My whole life in general, I never really made any friends,” he said. “Growing up, my parents would always play Spanish rock. They would play English rock as well. … I decided I wanted to play regional Mexican, because those are my roots, and I wanted to mix some of those styles that I grew up hearing with the regional Mexican. I added new chords into it; I incorporated a lot of new things into my music, and I just wanted it to be unique.

“Growing up here, it’s been really lonely. It’s a small place, and, of course, everybody pretty much knows everybody, but I didn’t really have that many friends. I was just pretty much home all the time, listening to music.”

Balderrama turned to TikTok, in part because people in his school didn’t appreciate what he was trying to do.

“I think the main reason why I ended up not having that many friends is because there were a lot of people who were jealous, mainly the guys,” Balderrama said. “I don’t know why. … Everybody’s just trying to do their thing, and when somebody does it, there’s not really that much support from the people from here, at least in the Mexican culture. Of course, there are some people who say they love my music and all that, but I remember when I first started making TikToks, I would get made fun of at school. People thought it was cringy or something.”

Balderrama started doing more on TikTok just as COVID-19 arrived.

“When I started making TikToks, it was in 2019, and a bunch of influencers were getting really viral,” Balderrama said. “I remember at first, I would post randomly, just trying to be funny—and then I realized that I didn’t want to be known for being funny; I want to be known for my music. I remember when I started posting covers—this was right when COVID hit. I knew I had to take advantage of it while I was going to be home, and post the most I’ve ever posted. I slowly started to grow, and when I hit, like, 50,000 followers, I saw a comment saying, ‘Why don’t you start making your own music?’ I decided to just try to make my own songs using the regional Mexican, staying in that genre, but making it my own.”

Tackling a genre that has so much importance could seem daunting, but DannyLux found that people appreciate the new spin he’s put on the music.

“I’ve always had my own touch to it,” Balderrama said. “My voice is not a normal voice you would hear in regional Mexican. The style that I’m doing, that’s what makes it unique as well, and all the chord progressions make it fresh.”

That appreciation for DannyLux and his music has spread worldwide. He opened for Coldplay during their Mexico tour, signed with Warner Music Latina, performed at Lollapalooza, and recently headlined Viva! Pomona. This adoration is drastically different from the reaction his first musical efforts received, he said.

YouTube video

“I remember the first time I ever announced that I was going to release a song, I put a preview of the song on Instagram, and I got so much hate on that post that I cried,” Balderrama said. “I was crying to my mom, and I was like, ‘Should I even do music?’ The song was just so different—and honestly, listening back to it, it was kind of bad. … Then I just kept going and going, and slowly, people just started getting used to my style and started accepting me.”

Balderrama credits a strong mind and determination for getting him through the initial hate.

“I just know what I want,” he said. “I know where I want to be, and I just really want to reach my goals and inspire people. It’s a good thing all the pushback went down a little bit. I have so many people who support me, so many people who love my music, and I feel like that’s why I do it—I do it for those people.”

Performing at Coachella will not only be another big moment in DannyLux’s career; it will be his first local performance since his spot at the Indio Tamale Fest in 2021, which was also his festival debut.

“When we played there, it just felt so fast,” Balderrama said. “It was really fun seeing all the people from the Coachella Valley coming to see us. I was so nervous, because that was when I was first starting to play live. I feel like I’ve gotten so much better at performing.

“(Coachella) is literally, like, a 30-minute drive. It feels like I’m playing in my backyard. I’m a little bit nervous, because I don’t know how it’s going to go. I’m just going to keep practicing, trying to get better.”

Matt King is a freelance writer for the Coachella Valley Independent. A creative at heart, his love for music thrust him into the world of journalism at 17 years old, and he hasn't looked back. Before...

One reply on “In His Backyard: Palm Springs’ DannyLux, Playing at Coachella, Has Achieved Worldwide Fame Thanks to His Nontraditional Regional Mexican Music”

Comments are closed.