Dana Dayne is a female “jack of all trades”. She’s an event host, party planner, talent manager, radio personality and promoter. Dana basically does a little bit of everything, and she does it with style. Hosting parties and radio shows can appear glamorous, but there is a lot of labor that goes on behind the scenes. Dana is currently opening a boutique, executive producing a television show, and putting the finishing touches on an original new stage play. She is also the manager of a brilliant young vocalist by the name of Anastasia Skky.
Dana is skillfully making power moves in a traditionally male-dominated industry, and she’s making it look easy. In the entertainment field, working with the right people is very important, and she always gives credit to her “team” for her continued success. Dana has a close-knit network of friends, associates and business partners – people she can depend on and trust. Next year this self-made businesswoman has plans to take her brand national. She is involved with potentially lucrative ventures in Charlotte, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. So before Dana leaves the DC area for good, I wanted to talk with her and find out what fuels her relentless ambition, and see what the life of a DMV Socialite is really all about.
Sidney Thomas: Tell the world who you are, where you’re from, and what you do?
Dana Dayne: My name is Dana Dayne, I was born and raised in Northeast Washington, D.C. I do many different things, but to sum it up neatly – just say that I am an entrepreneur.
ST: How did you become involved in the music/entertainment industry?
DD: It was just a natural progression. I’m a people person so I love to see people getting together, having fun and being successful. I was in the mix having fun, so I decided to start using my natural abilities to make it my career.
ST: Who inspired you to become a entrepreneur?
DD: I would have to say Oprah Winfrey and Cathy Hughes (Radio One founder). They are self-made women. They are my definition of a female “Boss!”
ST: How do you define yourself? (host, speaker, manager, promoter, etc.)
DD: It’s funny you asked that. Even my family members ask me sometimes, “Dana, what exactly do you do?” I just smile and say “a lot.” I connect the dots for people dealing with different business ventures. I’ve learned that the more connections I make, the easier it gets to plug people in. I have built great relationships with people locally and nationally. When they need certain things pertaining to business, I connect the dots. I only deal with “true business” people. My time is valuable and so are the people I’m connected with.
ST: I’m going to put you on the spot with this question. I know you deal with a lot of the go-go bands. Who do you think are the top bands or performers in the DMV right now?
DD: Hmmm, good question! I would have to say it’s Team Familiar on top, and then Backyard. I say “BYB” because of their consistent presence and performance quality over the years. I don’t care what’s going on with any other band in this city, BYB never loses their crowd! For the grown and sexy bands, I would have to say Secret Society, Let It Flow, Lissen and Wisdom Speeks. They bring the music and flavor that people of all ages can enjoy. They add a go-go beat, but mostly it’s just good R&B music – mixed with a jazzy sound. Now for best up-and-coming band, I would have to say Black Passion. They have added a horn section with a jazzy mix and play a variety of hit songs. The range is old school and new school. I absolutely love their transformation. They are on their way, you heard it here first!
ST: When you’re not working what type of music are you listening to?
DD: In my “real world” I listen to all oldies but goodies and jazz – nothing more and nothing less. I might play an old Rare Essence or Familiar Faces CD if I’m feeling myself before I hit the streets, lol!
ST: What motivates you professionally?
DD: I’m inspired by working with individuals that are about being successful. When I see people “walking what they talk” I love it! I’m like, “Yes, this person is like me, let’s get it!” I must give a shout out to my mentors: Kevin Haynes, Richard Munroe, Mitch Credle, Anthony Commodore, Tim McAdams, Terry Miles, Darlene Brown, Gill Nelson and Cherita Whiting. Having these folks in my life is like getting hands-on training every day. We work well together and it’s great teamwork at the same time.
ST: Talk about the DMV Socialites. How did it get started and what is the current status?
DD: I started the DMV Socialites Radio Show with my partner Doc Robinson. We were on Go-Go Radio and then WINDC. We decided to branch out and do our own thing. We started to produce the show with DJ Nephew and our co-hosts Sassi Whayz and Mikel Myles. We would live-stream at different businesses and events around the DMV. We were a hit right away. The problem was we were all working on our own personal projects. Our schedules were so busy that it became overwhelming. At the present time, the DMV Socialites Radio show is being put on hold. I won’t say forever, but for now it is.
ST: Are you currently working with any radio shows?
DD: I’m getting ready to be a part of an amazing radio situation. It’s actually called “The Station” and it’s based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. The grand opening date is January 16, 2016. The owners have created something really special. I can’t express it enough how proud I am of Mustafa “Mu” Tariq and Yvette Elizabeth. I know they are going to take over in Charlotte! I’m just blessed to be a part of this movement.
ST: What role will you have at “The Station”?
DD: I will have a radio show and some of my upcoming television talk show segments of “Dana’s Lane” produced at “The Station.” It’s going to be incredible! There is national support behind this movement, so winning is the only option! I will be relocating to Charlotte next year. My cousin, Jamese Wyatt, and I are opening up a women’s boutique in Charlotte.
ST: That sounds like a great opportunity. Do you have any other projects planned for 2016?
DD: I’m the founder of Capitol Life LLC, a marketing and management company. I’m currently managing Anastasia Skky. She is presently in the studio recording her debut album. I already have performance dates set up for her in 2016. Her voice is amazing and the world will soon know how talented she really is. I’m also working with Gill Nelson and Darlene Brown on my upcoming stage play. This is another project that I’m really excited about! My talk show Dana’s Lane will resume filming episodes beginning early in the new year. I also have some big things popping in Atlanta. I guess I do have a lot going on, lol.
ST: How do you have time to manage all of these different ventures?
DD: I’m blessed that I can accomplish all these projects because everyone on my team pulls their weight. I really work with a lot of great people.
ST: Wow, it sounds like you’re really going to be busy this year. Thank you for your time with this interview. I wish you luck and I’ll definitely be following everything you’re doing. Are you doing any holiday events?
DD: Yes, I’m hosting the “Winter Christmas Party” at the historic Howard Theatre on December 18th. This event is brought to you by Sean Chapman, Frank Sirius and Hall Of Fame Dink. Featuring the Lissen Band, The Fix, DJ Casper and my co-host comedian “Billy The Kid.” It’s going to be a great night. Tickets are still available at: www.ticketmaster.com. I also want to let everyone know about the Winter White Soiree presented by Chariot Entertainment on January 9, 2016 at the Newton White Mansion (2708 Enterprise Road, Mitchellville, MD). My company Capitol Life LLC is a sponsor, and Anastasia Skky is opening up for Emmy Award winning violinist Damien Escobar. Tickets can be purchased at: www.eventbrite.com.