Here at Chrome City we pride ourselves in having ultra-creative and inspiring homies throughout the Chicago area. Each week, the Chrome Chronicle will share a little bit about these incredible people and why we are excited to feature them as our #ChromeHomie.
Let us introduce our Homie, Danielle!
Danielle Starkey, Advertising Strategist at The Left Hand Agency and Slam Poet
Q: Explain your job position.
A: For the last few months, I've worked for Leo Burnett and The Left Hand Agency. I'm an advertising strategist, which means I take business problems and turn them into briefs. Essentially, I take business problems and combine them with data and research and try to humanize them, so that creatives can digest the problem and solve it creatively. I'm in a transitional phase at the moment, as I've been told by supervisors that they think I'd be great as a copywriter- so I'm weighing my options. Besides that, I've done freelance music PR for hip hop/rap musicians in Chicago. I'm also a slam poet/ rapper/ musician and activist. I go by yung lady.
Q: What is your creative process?
A: In advertising, I try to think objectively. What's happening in the world around me- inside and outside my bubble? What are people talking about? What are the universal truths? Writing a brief is difficult because there's no formula. You have to be attuned to culture. When people look at commercials or great print work, or when you see award-winning Cannes work, credit is given to art directors and copywriters- as it should, they do great work. But behind that work is a brief, and if you can strike a balance between universal truth and insight and a solid business problem, THAT'S where great advertising can happen. You never want your team to be fighting against your brief because it's limiting - or too broad.
In performance and poetry, it's purely emotion. I get into moods where I need to write or play or expel something creatively. Words stick in my head and I will type them out on my phone if I don't have the time to assemble them and figure out where they come from later. It's like...self-counseling almost. I also have been told I'm incredibly intense, and if I don't give myself an outlet through art or activism(and by that I mean actionable efforts towards a movement or cause), I'm pretty insufferable.
Q: What inspires and motivates you?
A: Frank Ocean. My degree and what I've gone through for it. The scrappy nature of Chicago. Sylvan Esso. My late mother. My friends kicking ass. The Black Lives Matter movement. Seeing successful work and knowing I could make something just as good or better. Does that make me sound like an asshole?
Q: How did you end up in Chicago?
A: Honestly, I just needed to leave my city. I grew up in and around Grand Rapids, Michigan and was heavily invested in the DIY scene there but didn't feel like I was represented in any way. I needed to be around more POC and creatives. I wanted jobs that don't exist there and felt restless all the time. If you would've asked me a year before I moved if I would've packed up and left, I would've been terrified. Turns out I was more restless than I thought. I moved a little over a year ago and my life is 100% different now.
Q: What is your favorite part of living in Chicago?
A: The fact that I can get just about any food delivered to me at any time of the day.
Q: What has most influenced your career?
A: My upbringing. I grew up under the poverty line in the foster care system and always wanted a career where I could be myself and experience financial stability. I had grandparents that loved the arts and listened to the awful poetry shows I'd make them listen to at age ten and they put a violin in my hands at age 11- I've played ever since. But I also learned at a young age that I needed a backup plan, and that I could only count on myself, so I sought out ways to turn my creativity into a financially viable asset.
Q: What is your experience with Alex and Chrome City?
A: I was approached by Alyssa Kromelis to take part in a fashion show hosted by Chrome City, and that's where the story started for me. They wanted influencers, and I think they realized that much of my "influence" is slowly transferring over from Grand Rapids to Chicago and wanted to connect. I've been a homebody since I got here- I took a break from my activism and writing for awhile once I got to Chicago. But Chrome City has a lot of homies I know from creative projects and mutual friends, so it was a natural fit!
Thanks for being a #ChromeHomie, Danielle!
PS: Check out this dope shot of Danielle walking in our Style of Sound Fashion Show at Disco!