When Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People hit the stage things get torqued up quickly like a tent revival during tornado season. Named Top Ten Bands to watch by CityPaper, and winner of the 2015 Roc Awards, “Best Local Band”, Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People transcend musical genres with a blast of deep, powerful groove and soul. The band is the groove while Ponder’s pipes keep it rooted in soul. And according to Ponder, soul is more than a sound.
“Soul music is something you feel,” she says. “It gives you goose bumps.”
This Rochester, NY Native has spent the past years rendering goose bumps by perfecting her style and charismatic performance. She sings, you listen, you melt. The result of her focus and dedication is a tone that is both enchanting and seductive along with a riveting, honest stage presence. It is this voice that has helped her secure gigs opening up for powerhouses such as George Clinton, Ledisi and The Roots. The band has also completed two successful European tours. Boyd Kletter of Bourbon Street Blues Club in Amsterdam said “Danielle shines bright both on and off the stage. She’s truly is a star!”
In 2016 the singer released her debut EP Blow Out The Sun. Soultracks.com said “Ponder’s vocals combine the spirit of the church with the speak-truth- to-power assertiveness of a movement leader. “ Jeff Speak of the Democrat & Chronicle wrote “Ponder’s tough-sounding vocals on “Three Word Revolution (I Love Myself)” is a defiant call to self worth. That title track feels custom built as a room-shaking anthem for women in the audience.”
It is clear that Ponder writes to empower and uplift. But Ponder’s commitment goes beyond her stage performance. Like a soul singing superhero, during the day Ponder works as an attorney for the poor. Her work as a Public Defender was recently highlighted in The Guardians Side Hustle podcast.
To Ponder, the community is integral to the performance. They are, in a sense, part of the band. We are all tomorrow people.
“When I get on stage I want the audience to be just as important as the musicians. I want to hear them, feel them, and see them dancing and moving.”
And the crowd does just that. This daughter of a preacher take the audience to church, as she dances across stage and belts out her notes, it is clear that her gospel roots have had a strong influence. This sensational singer also lists powerful influences that lit her fuse like Nina Simone, Big Mama Thornton, Koko Taylor, and Lauryn Hill. Ponder opens her mouth to sing and it’s readily apparent; there’s another name that belongs in that pantheon as well. Danielle Ponder, and her time is now.