Entertainer, MC, radio presenter Danny Painter is proudly “born and bred in Brakpan” and brings you interesting interviews with people from all walks of life. She currently presents “Love Songs with Danny Painter” from 7pm to 10pm Monday to Thursday on Jacaranda FM, where she focuses on love, human connection and kindness. She plays the biggest love songs in the world and chats to the most inspiring people. People, who have overcome adversity, people who will motivate and inspire us to grow together.
Danny started in the industry at 6 years old and she appeals to varied markets, as her family is “Rainbow”. The 33-year-old is married to Phillip (42) and shares her home with pets Stitch, Kelly, Churchill (dogs), Major Tom (a cat) and Lai (a bird).
Her mother was married to DJ Choc (Metro FM) for 15 years exposing her to the isiZulu language and culture, her uncle Dj Zand is a prominent YFM Hip Hop DJ and her sister Lady Du is a well-known performer. She adores her family and never refers to anyone as step.
Her biological father married into the Muslim community, exposing her to the language and culture as well. She was raised for the first 15 years of her life in a mixed Jewish/Bhuddist/Catholic home, speaking both English and Afrikaans. It was chaotic and loud and sometimes confusing but it made her the tolerant, open-minded person she is today.
Danny attended Veritas College in Springs until standard 5 and thereafter Pro Arte Alphen Park in the Drama study field. Spending the first year continuing her ballet and piano studies as well. She was scouted by Multichoice in her Matric year for Channel Go as the youngest field presenter amongst names like Elana Afrika Bredenkamp, Noni Gasa and Zuraida Jardine. She quickly became a permanent fixture and the voice of the channel.
From there she moved into Kids TV joining the SABCon their kids game show “World of Winners”as a live daily host alongside Wright Ngubeni. She has voiced everything from adverts to audio books and animated series.
With over 20 stage productions, half a house album and two short films under her belt, she is a veritable all rounder. After a brief stint on YFM, she joined the Jacaranda FM family in the weekend 3 to 6am slot, quickly moving into 7 to 10pm weeknights.
In 2007, she eloped after 4 months of dating and they’ve been inseparable ever since. He’s fondly referred to as “the beard” and is often seen with her at events. He is not in the industry, although he has been featured in ads for major brands.
RUAN: How has it been juggling life as a wife, radio presenter, TV presenter and V.O artist?
DANNY: I think the biggest key to not getting overwhelmed in any situation is Preparation. I’m a planner. I plan my week in advance, my shows are prepped, my blogs are written, my voices and meetings booked. I know what I’m wearing to what event. It’s planned down to the minute for makeup and travel time. I also meal prep every Sunday so that there are dinner and lunches for the week.
Phil and I met and got married when I was presenting kids television, so he’s never known any other me. I have an incredible husband with the most patience and understanding in the world. Its difficult in the week with the hours we work. He leaves as I’m getting up and I leave before he gets home in the evening, we try whenever possible to sneak a lunch or breakfast date in between. But I do have weeks where I feel like I haven’t seen him at all.
Obviously weekends are easier because he can go with me to alot of my events but, it’s still work and he understands that he probably won’t see me until the car ride home. I think having lived this lifestyle for such a long time, it’s become our normal and we just appreciate absolutely every single moment we have together.
RUAN: How did you forge your radio career and achieve success and longevity for 10 years now?
DANNY: We’re still working on the longevity! I’ll let you know when I’m a legend like Alex Jay and Barney Simon!
Radio has been the shortest adventure for me – but I can honestly say that it’s my favorite. I absolutely love it with my whole heart.
RUAN: You’ve been exposed to being multi cultural, how has that shaped you in the current South Africa we live in?
DANNY: My family is phenomenal. I watch my sister raise my niece in the same way we were raised and it just reminds me of what an incredible job my parents did.
Being raised in a multi racial, multi cultural home is something that I am incredibly grateful for. We celebrated every holiday, tried to speak every language and ate every food. We attended different places of worship and truly learned about each other’s culture.
There were no labels allowed, so a stepsister is a sister, a stepfather is a father and those rules extended past religion and into absolutely everything else. And that has definitely carried over into adulthood for me. When you’re raised that way you look beyond labels. We are humans before we are a sexual preference or a religion or a color, we are all connected and we all share this unique experience called life, so why not share it in love instead of hate?
Being exposed to vastly different cultures and religious practices taught me that there is no right and no wrong. That everything is subjective. That as much as I may not agree with something, to another human it may be the cornerstone of their faith and that I have no right to judge based on my limited knowledge. So I’m more inclined to ask and learn.
RUAN: Tell us more about your voice over career. How difficult or easy it is.
DANNY: I fell into voice over work. It was definitely not something I had ever thought of.
I was in Pro Arte and there was an “add on” course that we had the option to take focusing on voice work – accents and dialects and characterisation. I took it and loved it.
It’s difficult to get noticed but once you are it all snowballs. I have a handful of great clients that I’ve worked with for years. I was incredibly lucky that the production company that produced my TV show also produced animated series and so I was given the opportunity to voice for that, which got me exposure.
The rest is just putting you out there. As soon as you take that first step, the Universe will start working it’s magic.
RUAN: You have a bubbly and confident personality, how has that helped you change listeners lives and spread joy in all the projects that you do?
DANNY: I’m genuinely excited to meet every single person, and hear his or her story. I don’t know why, but people have always trusted me and it’s something that I take very seriously. I would never abuse it or break it.
When people message me with a situation they’re having or just to talk, I try my very best to take the time to respond, they took time out of their day to listen, the least I can do is try and be there for them. I never give advice, I always try and be positive, supportive and point them in the direction of places like Lifeline.
My view is this: if I can share love with you and make you smile or feel loved and important, maybe you’ll go out and share it with someone else and before we know it we have a world filled with love, empathy and community.
RUAN: Do you remember what age you wanted to be a radio personality and who was your inspiration?
DANNY: Radio was never on my radar. I was going to become a serious actress. I had been doing theater since I was 6 and it was all I wanted. When I ended up in TV and I just assumed I would move back into that space when I was older.
I remember the exact moment that I began considering radio, though. It was at a wrap party for a show we’d done, I was about 18 and Elana Afrika Bredenkamp said I should consider radio, that she thought I’d be good at it. And I think I responded with a hard no. Hahaha. But it stuck somewhere in my mind. And the more I thought about it, the more I began to want it.
As far as inspiration goes, Barney Simon, Kevin Fine and Alex Jay were all presenters I admired and listened to. I never missed an Uncle Paul’s Bedtime story! I still have moments of “how did this happen?” when I look at my life now – being mentored by these incredible talents.
RUAN: If you could sum up your life right now into a # what would it be and why?
DANNY: #blessed is me right now. In every single way. I love my job, I love my life, I love every minute of my day. I just feel so blessed and so loved by the universe.
RUAN: We have so many struggling youth out there that look up to amazing people like yourself, what advice would you give them to continue to live out their dreams?
DANNY: There’s a saying I read on Pinterest that I have never forgotten and it’s become my motto.
Hustle and heart will set you apart.
If you work hard, and I’m talking about hard. Showing up early, leaving late, learning everything you can and making yourself indispensable and you are kind and loving to everyone you meet there is no way you will fail.
I spent 3 years doing radio for free. Using my own time and petrol. But, I didn’t see it as “free” because the experience and knowledge I gained from those years is priceless. You have to find the positive in everything and know that even though it may not seem like it now, every single thing you do today affects your future. Make sure it’s positively.
RUAN: What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
DANNY: Hahahaha now that would be telling.. I guess you’ll just have to wait and see!