This contestant on ‘The Voice’ has a surprising D.C. musical heritage
Music is in “The Voice” contestant Owen Danoff’s DNA.
The 25-year-old singer/songwriter hails from one of Washington, D.C.’s most musical families. His dad is Bill Danoff — an original member of Starland Vocal Band, best known for the hit song “Afternoon Delight,” and for writing “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” which he composed in a Georgetown apartment basement.
Danoff has survived the singing competition show’s early culling — and he was one of the only contestants this season whom all four judges picked to be on their teams. Ultimately, he went with Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine as a coach.
“After I heard all their comments, Adam just seemed like the clear choice,” he said.
Danoff now lives in New York City with his girlfriend, Hallie Eisenberg, and her brother, the actor Jesse Eisenberg (sounds like a kooky sitcom setup, but it’s less weird than you’d think, since Jesse Eisenberg is often away on a movie set). But the singer’s roots are in D.C., where he grew up playing everywhere from the Kennedy Center to his parents’ former restaurant, The Starland Cafe in the Palisades neighborhood.
“He’d come up with me and see the folks who were singing,” said Bill Danoff, who still lives nearby. “That was kind of his start, playing at the restaurant.”
Owen picked up tips and learned from the local artists who came there to play.
“What D.C. lacks in the music industry in terms of record labels and management companies it really makes up for in the supportive community aspect,” he said. “Because it’s not over-saturated, the audience for music in the D.C. area is really responsive and nice.”
Though he’s moved on from the D.C. scene, one local venue still has a place in his heart.
“I got the chance to play the 9:30 Club once, and I’ve dreamed about playing there my whole life,” he said. “And even though I’ve played there once, I’m still dreaming that.”