Real Career Girls: An Interview with Danika Portz

Today’s post kicks off our new “Real Career Girls” series: a column where we’ll be talking to real women from across the country who are doing cool things with their careers.  If you know a Real Career Girl who you think our readers would love, please let us know by emailing!

Danika Portz is originally from Remsen, Iowa and is a 2007 graduate of Remsen St. Mary’s High School. She is a 2011 graduate of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa with degrees in accounting and marketing and a minor in musical theatre. Danika moved to Nashville, TN upon graduating from college to pursue her dreams of becoming a recording artist and songwriter. (

On February 28 2013, Danika signed as a songwriter with Green Hills Publishing and Grin Like A Dog Music.

1. How long have you been singing?

As long as I can remember. My mom always sang around the house and I definitely followed suit. I was in 3rd grade when I entered my first singing competition – singing the jingle for Hy-Vee commercials. – I didn’t win but was a finalist.

2.  How long have you been writing songs?

Only since moving to Nashville – May, 2011 I’m up to around 90+ songs now.

3. What was the most difficult thing about moving to Nashville?

The fear of the unknown. Not knowing ANYONE and moving without a job. I had built a network while in college… too bad it was 11 hours from where I was now living.

4. What has been your greatest hurdle on your road to becoming a singer-song writer?

Learning how to roll with the punches, developing thick skin (not everyone is going to like, or even “get” my music- and learning that it is okay), and being patient and waiting for the right time to do things. I’m a child of Gen Y and I want the wheels to move faster. 

5. What advice do you have for people who are upcoming artists in similar positions?

If you’re serious about wanting to be a national act- move to Nashville. I would not have had most of the experiences that came my way had I not been in this city, made myself available, and taken up every opportunity I could.

6. How do you stay grounded?

My family and friends.

7. On your road to success, what is the best advice you’ve received so far?

99% of the time, you will hear the word “no.” “No, we’re not signing any females right now.” “Sorry, your sound just isn’t what we’re looking for.” “Unfortunately, we already signed someone who’s style is too similar to yours.” etc. etc. etc. You’re just looking for that 1%. That one “yes.” It will change your world. And it’s out there if you’re willing to find it.

Full disclosure: I went to school with Danika and she is truly one of the kindest, most talented, and hard-working people I have ever met. She always has a positive air about her, and her story is a great reminder to all of us that hard work, talent, and perseverance are a formidable combination.

Like Danika’s Facebook page and follow her personal Twitter, @DanikaPortz. Below is “Are You Still With Me” – one of my Danika favorites.

Kovie Biakolo

Kovie Biakolo is a Drake University Marketing Graduate. Originally thinking she was headed to law school in Chicago or a year in Spain, Kovie found herself in the Windy City in digital writing and marketing for over a year. Currently, Kovie is in graduate school for Multicultural and Organizational Communication and started a blog, Life At Twenty Something to write about the good, the bad and the ugly of the twenty something life.

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