The idea of “making it” in the music industry isn’t what drives Anthony Louderback to create vulnerable, truth-filled melodies, he shared — rather, his creative outlet has taken him on a life-long exploration of himself and his community.
“When I first started releasing music, I didn’t know that it was going to be this journey in learning so much about myself and growing. I had a lot of desires in the beginning; and along the way, these humbling experiences have brought me a lot of growth and life lessons,” shared Louderback, who performs and releases music under the stage name, Danza.
Danza released his debut LP “Danza Special” in 2017, but the lyrics of his musical odyssey began as a fifth grader growing up in Platte City, Missouri.
“I used to perform jingles in front of my class,” Louderback recalled, smiling. “I would take little ditties from the Lion King or Gangsta’s Paradise and make jingles for the lunch menu of the day. So I started with the lunch menu, but I really got serious when I was in college.”
Once described as a hip-hop artist, Danza’s sound is a culmination of hip hop, soul, pop, indie and funk influences mixing together, he said, not labeling his music under one strict category.
“It’s feel-good sounds with introspection,” Louderback said. “I’m looking inward at myself and trying to connect to the listeners with those feelings.”
Click here to listen to Danza on Spotify.
Keep reading to learn more about Danza’s latest project, a new music video for “Business Cards,” which premiered this week.
Kansas City to Hollywood
In 2020, Danza released his album “Danza’s Garden,” which follows his journey as an artist. Upon playing the album for a friend and longtime collaborator, Jerry Koukol, the duo was inspired to create a music video for the album’s second track “Things That I Do.”
“Jerry caught on to those dark feelings of the song,” Louderback said. “The song is in the beginning of the album, when I haven’t grown yet, and it’s based on chasing desires. There’s a balance to chasing desires, and if you reach too much, life can get complicated. That is where the idea for the music video came about.”
The music video for “Things That I Do” illustrates the concept of Danza selling his soul to the Devil and watching back the footage in old age.
“So Jerry picked up an eight millimeter camera from a garage sale, and we didn’t know if it worked,” Louderback noted. “We shot the whole thing at Plexpod Westport [now Plexpod at Park 39] in the eight millimeter film, and then we had someone shooting backup in digital. … The film came back, and it looked awesome; so we cut it all together for this music video.”
Louderback and his team submitted the music video in the Hollywood Screening Film Festival 2023 and won the award for Best Music Video.
“It was really neat to attend the festival and talk about the music video,” Louderback shared. “I got to talk about Kansas City and the beautiful arts scene and culture we have here. I wanted to show them what we can do here. The entire festival was filled with people who really care about your art and who want to build a supportive community. That’s what this is all about.
“And of course, I was hoping to win the category,” he continued, “so that was really cool.”
‘Best is yet to come’
Danza released his latest single “Business Cards” earlier in April and premiered the music video Thursday, April 20.
“[In the music video], I’m a vacuum salesman who gets knocked out by a customer, and it sends me spiraling into a popstar dream,” Louderback said. “Business cards is a metaphor for, ‘I can show you more. I’ve got nowhere to be but here in this creative space, so stick around and I’ll show you more.”
Throughout his musical career, Danza has performed at Porchfest KC, First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District, Record Bar and other venues across Kansas City.
“I’m working on trying to DJ my own set right now, so I’m laying low for shows right now unless there is an opportunity that I can’t pass up,” Louderback noted.
Listeners can anticipate another new song coming this summer with a music video, as well as a music video for an older song, Louderback teased.
“My next single is called ‘New Ways’ if that’s any direction of where I’m headed,” Louderback said. “I’m always headed to new sounds, a new me. My best is yet to come, always. I know I can always do so much more with my creativity.”
Creating within one’s community
Making music and videos come as a result of bringing a community together, Louderback said.
“When we use our resources in our community, we can create really wonderful things; I’m really big on sitting down and having those conversations,” Louderback said. “… We were able to film at Plexpod because of my wife. I have a music video that takes place on the Missouri River in an airboat because one of my friend’s dad had an airboat for his job. Another music video is shot in Anita B. Gorman Park because that’s my favorite park in Kansas City. So I would encourage people to look at what resources they have on hand.”
Louderback admitted that it can be nerve wracking for someone to start their creative journey and share it with their community, but it is worth all the nerves.
“It can be embarrassing to put out your art that you feel so strongly about,” he said. “I say put it out! It is embarrassing, but you’ll grow from it. Submit your work, take constructive criticism and get turned down. You’ll grow from it.”
When he thinks back on what he’s accomplished so far, Louderback is grateful he followed his passion, he shared.
“Keeping an open heart and trusting unfamiliar paths can lead you to destinations never imagined,” Louderback said. “Going all in on a natural creative spark has given me so much perspective and joy in life.”