If you’ve had chance to drag around on the Internet, you’ve probably seen a Danielle Ate The Sandwich video somewhere. The musical persona of Fort Collins’ Danielle Anderson, the twee-folk singer has already notched a bazillion YouTube views. (Okay, so it’s actually closer to 3.3 million with more than 20,000 subscribers, but still.) Her webcam videos, usually shot in her bedroom, mix her cuddly humor with her innocent folk tunes. The cutesy combo has certainly garnered a lot of local attention for Anderson, who has parlayed her Internet fame into real-life success, with big shows lined up at this year’s Underground Music Showcase as well as at the Mile High Music Festival in August. She dropped her third album, Two Bedroom Apartment, earlier this month, and will playing a release show for it tonight at the Walnut Room. Before that, Anderson pried herself away from the webcam to talk with The A.V. Club about, well, the Internet and being in front of the webcam.
The A.V. Club: Most Internet sensations fizzle out before being able to translate those successes into the real world. How did you break out of that cycle?
Danielle Anderson: I really don’t know. I like to think it’s because I’m a good performer. Even though I’m just singing in front of a webcam in my room like everyone else, I like to think I look comfortable and well prepared, like I’m into it and I’m having fun. People can then feel good about it, too. People I watch—that I don’t think are good—on YouTube, they just look uncomfortable, kind of scared, or they don’t look at the camera. That makes me feel uncomfortable and unnatural watching them.
AVC: You put a lot of effort into communicating with fans online. Why is that important to you?
DA: I’m kind of a bitch in real life. I don’t really like to be around people, ever. So I try to be genuine in my responses and my forming relationships with [fans]. It’s not like I’m like, “Oh yeah, let’s go out for drinks! Let’s have a party because I love being around people and I love you guys!” I’m not that kind of person. I don’t really like people, but I like meeting my fans because we have something in common. You know, me. I know there will be something to talk about or a story to hear.
AVC: Your Danielle Ate The Sandwich persona has spilled over onto your personal Facebook page, with more than 1,300 fans friending you there. Do you think blurring the lines between personal and professional is inevitable in this age of social media?
DA: It’s hard to keep them separate, actually. It’s no problem for me to fuse the two. It’s gotten to the point where my friends don’t comment or post anything on my wall because they don’t want all these notifications of people they don’t know about doing things on my page. Letting them into certain parts of my Internet persona and my Internet network has gotten rid of any private side of my life. But it’s also like, “Wait. I need to be just Danielle, not always Danielle Ate The Sandwich.” Lately, I’ve been feeling like where do I draw the line? Where do I say no? I still have to be a regular person.