Daneen Wilburn put music on hold for 20+ years to focus on motherhood.
  • Daneen Wilburn put music on hold for 20+ years to focus on motherhood.
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“This is what I was born to do,” says vocalist Daneen Wilburn, about her reentry into the music world after dropping out for more than 20 years to raise a family. “It’s more than just an ability, there is something deeper happening here.”

Wilburn’s career was ascending in 1992, but “I stopped singing when I had my first daughter — partially out of fear. I was still traveling to L.A. for auditions — but I felt guilty about being gone. I decided to be a mom first.”

She doesn’t regret putting family before career, but she never stopped thinking about music. “I missed it terribly, I mean, I still sang in the church but sometimes I’d be cleaning my house and crying, because I missed that side of me.”

What has she learned from gospel music that translated into the secular world? “In the church you strive to communicate a feeling — so much of it is emotional. You are focusing on the things you believe and I want to transmit that in all of my music regardless of who the audience might be. I want them to feel the spirit, too.”

Wilburn came to the attention of Grammy Award-winning producer Kamau Kenyatta, who produced her debut album, After All This Time. “I wish there were words to describe what his participation means. He took me in all my rawness and organized everything. I’m so grateful he took me on — he brings this gravitas because of all the people he’s worked with [Patti Austin, Gregory Porter, etc].”

Video:

Daneen Wilburn, "Amazing Grace"

Tony Gwynn Memorial Tribute: June 26, 2014

Tony Gwynn Memorial Tribute: June 26, 2014

Sports fans might remember Wilburn from her moving rendition of “Amazing Grace,” at the memorial service for Padres right-fielder Tony Gwynn in 2014 shortly after she returned to the music scene. “Singing at that event was very a very emotional experience for me and a real honor.”

Wilburn’s CD release concert last weekend at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad sold out quickly. “A lot of people have been calling who couldn’t get tickets, so we’ll do another one soon.”

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