Meet DannyLux, the Mexican-American Singer Opening for Coldplay

Photo by David Alva.

It’s not every day that an 18-year-old tries to define a revived era of artistry, let alone a genre. Yet, DannyLux, the Palm Springs native, is doing it at the plucks of his fingers, striking a chord for corrido fanatics alike. Formally, Daniel Balderrama, the Chicano alt-rocker, flips through decades of references — from Pink Floyd, The Eagles to The Beatles, and of course, regional Mexican music, thanks to his mom — and influences that make up the body of work he is so keen on completing. By definition, you can’t box DannyLux’s sound, nor can you shelf it into something already existing. It’s fluid, floating through different sonics into one sound stream of melancholic sierreño pieces. Although he comes from humble beginnings, getting his footing from an aged guitar his father gifted to him at just seven, almost 11 years later, DannyLux is stepping into his own. 

In a way, you can’t deny his stardom is characteristic of a fresh Gen-Z artist: Gathering an almost 700,000 TikTok fanbase due to showing off his corridos licks, getting signed to Warner Music Latina, named one of Billboard’s Latin Artists to Watch in 2022, all while releasing his latest record Perdido En Ti. Even though age can be seen as just a number that rules our sense of maturity, you can’t help but marvel over the Chicano singer’s triumphs, and for him, it’s only the start. 

Just a week after the release of Perdido En Ti, Coldplay invited DannyLux to open up for the prolonged stretch of their Mexico tour dates. With eight consecutive nights under his belt, to him, it felt like “somewhat of a crazy dream and a shock.” Despite it, Balderrama is ready, juxtaposed with anxiety and a newfound thrill for what’s to come, as he manifests the possibilities of playing arenas all on his own. Once again, divine timing was the key for DannyLux to open up for such a renowned group as Coldplay, bringing a sense of stability and maturity that unlocked the secret ingredients for a new recipe of self-discovery.

With Coachella season upon us, the “Tristeza Y Traicion” singer will perform a special set at Remezcla House in Palm Springs, CA, on Saturday, April 16. Of course, being the perfect return to the city that raised him for the past 18 years — it’s the ultimate homecoming. With acts such as 2Deep, Jay Roxxx, and Ape Drums, the two-night party in the desert serves as icing on the cake for DannyLux after playing a monumental colosseum tour. 

Intuitively, Balderrama’s hands were open to receiving such a gift. Remezcla got to chat with DannyLux ahead of his final night at Foro Sol stadium on April 8 about his journey with the British rock band, what it’s like to be playing arenas in the midst of his community, and growing as a young musician.

First off, congrats on opening for Coldplay on their Mexico stretch of the tour. They’ve been playing in Mexico for quite a while now, and it’s incredible to see them bring out such celebrated Latine acts while also opening the door for upcoming musicians. How has the experience been for you?

It’s crazy because when I first found out Coldplay wanted me to open up for them, I was so confused, and I remember thinking, “Did they get the right artist?” Because I know my music is so different in terms of sound from what they play. Tonight is actually the last show for me on the tour, and it’s just been so much fun and a really good experience. Once you get used to playing in front of so many people, it becomes easier. When I start doing chosen theatres for myself, it’s going to come just so effortlessly. 

Which is understandable, considering the venues they play are massive. Has that prepped you for how you perform now and even the growth you experienced from the first show to now? How has it been playing in a more significant setting?

I was honestly so nervous because people in Mexico are keen to criticize you more. They want everything so perfect. They want it to be their way, which I totally get. So that’s why at first, I was a little nervous because they are coming for a Coldplay concert, and they just see this random kid opening up with a different style of music, and I thought I might not be accepted. That was my only worry, if they would truly accept me. Thankfully, the crowd every night has responded so well to my music and I started to lose a little bit of that scaredness I felt in the beginning. It’s been such a big step because, before the tour, my first headline show was with 500 people, which felt like so much. Fast-forward to where I’m at now while playing in front of thousands, just feels crazy. 

So I have to ask, how was the first show then?

Oh man, I felt like it was so bad, even my stomach started hurting. I was so nervous because I remember we were walking up the stairs to go up to the stage, then I took a peek, and there were so many people just waiting. And that’s when I got timid the most because I was like, “Damn, can I do this?” But honestly, it all went well. And since then, we’ve just been evolving more. I just started to lose that nervousness when you play live and just interact more with the crowd and talk between the songs. Even improvising has gotten better for me. 

How are you feeling today, considering it’s the last show tonight. I’m sure, as you mentioned previously, you can see the growth in yourself. Is there anything that comes to mind?

What I lacked most in live shows was stage presence because I would always be so shy or talk a lot. But now, especially playing in this setting, I’ve been able to build that more and connect with the crowd the way I want to. The most essential thing I’ve been able to learn is having patience with yourself. You really have to train yourself to just be patient. This industry, in its entirety, is really about patience. 

Is there a night that stands out to you as your favorite thus far? Any memorable moments? 

This past Sunday, our fifth show but the first one here in Mexico City, was the most memorable. While I was playing “Mi Otra Mitad,” the whole crowd started to do a slow wave with their hands. It was just a sweet moment seeing everybody vibing along to the song. It was amazing. That’s genuinely been my favorite part so far and favorite show we’ve done. Can’t really explain why, it’s more of a feeling. 

There’s a common thread between you and Coldplay. You both have a knack for really pulling at the heartstrings and emotions, coming from a space where you use music to help people in times of need. I’m curious if that has always been the main goal for your artistry. 

I remember when I first started, I always wanted to just be able to change people’s moods or lives with my music. That’s the best part about doing what I do. Even while we’ve been playing live the past few nights, people are a little skeptical because we look so young. But once we start playing, once we see their faces change and open up, it’s just an amazing feeling because we come from such a sincere place.

What do you hope to see for yourself going forward? Now that you’ve been able to execute opening up for such an iconic group, what do you hope to do with your career?

I want to get to the point where [Coldplay is] — to be globally known and just to exist as this iconic artist. But even more than that, my goal is to inspire people. Whenever you think of Mexican, or Latin music in general, they think of me. I’m just blessed to be where I am right now.