Seeing a new musician explode right before your eyes is always worth a story. It’s likely going to be the kind of narrative that you recall when talking about Grace Martine Tandon, or as the world knows her, Daya.

With only 17 years under her belt, this Pittsburgh native was just another high school student about two years ago. Then "Hide Away" happened.


Produced by Scott Bruzenak and Gino Barletta  (JoJo), the mid-tempo number finds the teen beckoning for some modest dating standards and it's a message that resonated all across the world. "Hide Away" broke the United States, peaking at the no. 23 position on the Billboard Hot 100, and reached heights in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, just to name a few countries. 

Days ahead of her high school graduation and senior prom, the 17-year-old starlet took to iHeartRadio HQ in New York City for an exclusive interview to talk about the progress on her forthcoming full-length debut album, balancing fame as a student and partake in another installment of My First Time.

Daya on Making Her Debut Full-Length Album 

"I just spent a week or so in L.A. working with the same creative team that I worked with for the EP and we're super stoked about all the songs on it," she said of her debut, which will include all six of the tracks on her self-titled EP. "We just have to change some things up with production and we might add in a couple of collaborations, too, which will be fun. It should be out definitely before the end of this year." 

No word on whether or not "Don't Let Me Down," her mega-collaboration with The Chainsmokers, will be included on the collection. After all, the cut did reach the top spot on Billboard's Dance/Electronic Songs chart. And to think that it might not have happened when the DJ duo lost their laptop with the first version of the hit song.

"I can't even think of how much time goes into produces one song and then having to do it all over again from memory. It's just insane to me," she said of their work habits. "They reached out to me a couple months after that and were like, "Hey, we have this song. Do you want to sing on it? I heard it and I just loved it right away."


Daya on Balancing Music and Her Personal Life 

Asked how she manages to balance being a pop star and student in 2016, let's just say, it's been a bit of struggle. "My mindset has been on different things for so long that it's hard to jump back in," she revealed. "Of course, I've saved everything for the last minute, so I have to do like five papers before turning it all in but it'll work out."


If you want to learn just a little more about Daya, get to know some of her firsts in our latest installment of My First Time. Take a look below!


"My first headlining show was actually in New York. It was at Webster Hall just a couple months ago. It was after a tour. I toured with Jack & Jack; I opened for them for like a month straight and then right after that, I jumped into my first headlining show. I felt pretty prepared and I had a band and everything and it was so much energy and just, the crowd was crazy. It was wild."


"I want to say it was probably U2. My dad was a huge fan, so he like bought us all their songs and had us listen to them and he drove us. It was a Wednesday night. It was a school night. He drove us all the way to D.C. from Pittsburgh. He's like, 'You have to see them.' It was a great show. Obviously, they killed it."


"I was still in school last year when I released the song. It was April last year and then by May my whole school had heard it. They were all super supportive and super into it. I was just a junior in high school, so then there was this fashion show thing. It was like this very small [event], where the fashion group in my school would showcase some of the things that did throughout the year. It was like May, the end of the year, and they asked me to perform at it and I was just ... I had no clue how to perform. I mean, I have performed a little bit before that but this was different, I didn't have an instrument or anything, so I was just standing there like, 'What do I do?'"


"I'm a quarter Indian because my grandpa. My dad's dad immigrated here from India. I was just looking up translations online one time and I came across Daya. It's like a loose translation for 'grace.' It means mercy, compassion, grace, everything. . . . I wanted to change, and I wanted to be different than I had. I don't know. I just felt like 'Hide Away' was a like a new kind of era in my life."


"I don't really get starstruck that much unless it's the person that I really, really loved and looked up to and respect. But I'd have to say probably when I met Tyler Oakley, to be honest, it was like a year ago and I was just out of high school and he had tweeted about my song a couple times. He was just super supportive, but I didn't think ... I hadn't met anyone up until that point and then he came and surprised me at my rehearsal for 'Hide Away' and it was just really cool and I freaked out obviously."



Photo: Rachel Kaplan for iHeartRadio