Rochester’s Roots: Danielle Ponder credits hometown for successful singing career

Rochester’s Roots: Danielle Ponder

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — News10NBC is celebrating Black History Month. As a part of our coverage we’re talking with young African Americans who are making a difference before they’ve even reached the age of 45.  

Danielle Ponder is among that group. This rising musical star is leaving a mark in Rochester and the world, and she credits her Rochester roots and hard work.

News10NBC’s Lynette Adams asked Danielle Ponder how she would describe this place in her life.

“I did not think I would be in this position. I didn’t think I would have some of the opportunities that I have. And I’m just extremely grateful,” says Ponder.

Those opportunities were created by a big voice and a talent to match. At 42, she’s only just beginning. In a very short time, this rising star has graced stages near and far, from the stage at the CGI International Jazz Festival in Rochester to the Soul Inn, in Brussels Belgium. 

The Rochester native spent five years as a public defender, before deciding to pursue music full time. And seemingly like magic, one Zoom meeting turned her life upside down.

“Within a week, I was on a Zoom call with Q-tip. Within a week I was on a Zoom with Nina Simone’s record label,” Ponder recalls.

Then, she kept growing through singing at private parties for celebrities. Ponder was singing everywhere, non-stop. She’s been on fire since her debut album, “Some Of Us Are Brave” debuted in 2022.

“But, you know, it came from years and years of committing, years of trying to grow as an artist, trying to, you know, just redefine my sound, be more authentic as an artist, and working really, really hard,” she says.   

For years, Ponder has been working hard, right here at home.

“I talk about my hometown a lot. Every single show I introduce myself as Daniel Ponder from Rochester, New York. Not just because I’m from here, but because I was made here, like, my career really got its roots.

The support the stepping stones built by Danielle Ponder is a part of Rochester’s roots.