Throughout the history of artistic endeavor, creative individuals often gain a sense of freedom and new perspective by changing their name and appearance. Such is the path Cherry Hill’s Dayna Wachman chose, now reborn on the West Coast as “hava.”
“hava” is Wachman’s Hebrew name, derived from Chava, which means “Woman of all Women.” It’s a way for the 22-year-old to express her Jewish identity while also finding common ground with those who have been held back from expressing themselves. As she told Audiofuzz.com back in February, using the stem of her Hebrew name gives it an emphasis on life and breath, and can be more accessible to all.
Wachman grew up with her brother Justin in Point-of-Woods and then Springdale, attending Cooper and Johnson elementary schools, Rosa Middle School and then Cherry Hill High School East. Dayna, who starred as a field hockey defender, chose to attend the University of Arizona, while Justin opted for LIM College in Manhattan.
The artist began singing and performing from the time she enrolled in school, often using the remote control as a microphone, the fireplace as her stage and her family as her adoring public. Things really kicked into gear when she attended French Woods Performing Arts Camp in a tiny New York hamlet not far from the Pennsylvania border around the age of 8.
“French Woods was not a typical summer camp. It was a very serious perspective into the performing arts. I joined a rock band, did musicals, really got a feel for the stage, and it took me out of my comfort zone. There was this energy I could create being in front of a crowd. I didn’t want to let that go when the summer ended. I wanted to bring it with me and make it my own. It opened my heart, my eyes and it opened up worlds for me,” she said.
Later on, her musical instincts were sharpened at the School of Rock, an intensive program focused strictly around music and musicianship.
“I was there after French Woods, but I did that for three whole years. I was playing with older kids who had a strong impact. My drum instructor, Eddie, told me he’d never expect that a girl in an Allen Iverson jersey and baggy pants could cultivate the energy I brought to the music. Every season you get placed with a different group, there’s a lot of different personalities, you become exposed to a lot of different things.”
Dayna left Cherry Hill for Tucson in 2015, planning on studying marketing and digital business. She started writing songs on campus and connecting with other students who were making beats and filming music videos for the internet. She headed to Los Angeles last summer to visit Justin, who had already established himself as a producer. While she was there, the owner of Lodge Records gave her some studio time because he believed in her talent.
Serving as her own creative director, last September “hava” released her first single, called “Mind Games.” The music video was officially released last month.
”’Mind Games’ was inspired by deconstructing a larger poem I had written about society in my perspective, that I know is shared with most young minds. I know a lot of generations can feel the pressures of today’s social culture, the idea of finding love, and consistent competition and comparison with others,” she said in an email exchange with The Sun.
According to the elder Wachman, her debut single has reached almost 20,000 streams, and has been added to over 450 playlists. In addition, her streaming audience is nearly 80 percent women, and 43 percent of listeners are between the ages of 18 and 22.
“My future plans are to continue making an escape with my music and entertaining myself and my listeners. I have two more recorded songs that I am anxiously waiting to release,” she said.
Also on the horizon in the immediate future is college graduation. At the time of her phone conversation with The Sun, Wachman was only eight days away from completing her bachelor’s degree at Arizona.
“I’m fueled up for Los Angeles, and I’m so proud of everything we’ve done here in Tucson and what the future holds. There’s just so much to look forward to. Cherry Hill is such a part of me and I’ll always represent my roots,” she said.
To listen to “Mind Games,” visit: https://soundcloud.com/dayna-wachman/mind-games. hava can be found on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/havamusicofficial/, on Facebook at HavaMusicOfficial and on YouTube at “hava music.”