Dakota Tucker graduated from high school and took a minute to think about what that meant.
It’s how her single, My Gratitude, was born.
As she states at the beginning of it: “This song is dedicated to everyone who has been there for me, loved me and shaped me into who I am destined to be. This is my gratitude.”
The 17-year-old hopes that the message gets across to two people especially: her mother, Calvina Brangman, and her brother, Denver Tucker.
“I want to put a special shout out to [them] because they listened to it before it was complete, when it was not the final [version]. They listened to the lyrics and helped the lyrics become more refined,” she said.
“You always have to have a team behind you and I feel like they were definitely my team. They would tell me: ‘This is nice, that’s not nice, take that out.’ They would give me their opinion on it and that’s what helped me.”
The single is something she’s been working towards ever since she started singing in public at “a very young age, around five years old”.
Ms Brangman encouraged her daughter even then, making recordings of her as she sang and insisting that she had a natural gift.
As Dakota’s confidence grew through her performances at the Bermuda Institute she started singing in churches and at various events across the island.
“I’ve performed at many concerts,” she said. “I’ve done the Bermuda Music Festival; I also have played at the premier’s concerts, at church, [with the] City Hall Christmas programme and for charity events as well – stuff like that.”
In 2018 she entered the Bermuda Teen Idol competition and won. That she faced off against runners-up from the previous year only heightened the pressure of the talent contest.
“I felt like I had to try my best,” she told The Royal Gazette at the time. “I felt I had to work a little harder to get my name out there. Even if I didn't win, I thought I would still enjoy the experience and the process. [It] was very fun, and gave me exposure [and] it was an experience for me too, because I had never been in a competition before.
“I felt good [when I won] but at the same time I didn't feel cocky about it. I felt like the achievement was good but I could always do better. I could always get in a higher place than I am.”
Three years later she feels she has done that.
“I thought I should start writing music because I feel, as an artist you have to have your own music as well,” Dakota said. “It’s OK to do covers but I also feel like you also have to have your own original pieces.
“I graduated from Bermuda Institute in June this year and I was thinking about what I could write about and the topic that came up was I could do a thank you song to everyone because I’m graduating and it just makes sense and aligns perfectly; a thank you to everyone that’s impacted me in my life so far.”
The teenager wrote the lyrics and the melody for the song; the music is a track she got off YouTube. Once she put them all together she got to work recording at New Wave Studio.
“I do hope to expand and become more experienced and get out there some more so more people can hear and understand my music,” Dakota said. “But in the fall I’m going to Oakwood University and studying a bachelor of science with a focus in pre-veterinary medicine. And I’m doing a minor in music as well.
“I am interested in animals but music is my passion. I’m doing the veterinarian programme so that I always have something to fall back on but my number one choice would be to do something in music.”
Dakota is “very much” pleased with how My Gratitude turned out. Her hope is to “do many more different releases in the future”.
“I don’t know really when but definitely when I’m doing the music programme [at Oakwood] I’m probably going to be doing studio recordings, learning theory, playing the piano …. So I definitely think that my creative mind is going to come out for sure,” she said.
Listen to My Gratitude on YouTube, Instagram, iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify