HomeWorld NewsFrom Bryce Jordan Center Stage To TikTok: Sophomore Danny … – Onward State
From Bryce Jordan Center Stage To TikTok: Sophomore Danny … – Onward State
September 1, 2023
Sophomore Danny Vitale has already made his mark on Penn State through his content creation and music. In early August, Vitale dropped his single titled “Penn State,” paying tribute to the Happy Valley atmosphere we all know and love.
Ever since he was young, Vitale loved to entertain. Whether he was making short, funny videos on Musical.ly or recording songs in middle school, Vitale has grown as both a performer and content creator.
“I remember making videos with my sister’s dolls back in fourth grade, as little birthday videos for her,” Vitale said. “I would always perform for my family when I was little.”
Music has been in Vitale’s blood in many different facets throughout his life. Even while in college, he continues to learn and grow as a musician.
“I’ve always loved music,” Vitale said. “I played the saxophone, guitar, [and] drums. When I was a little kid, my dad taught me how to play drums. I just recently started picking up guitar again, but I started learning in middle school. The music started out as just a joke with me just making diss tracks, but it became more serious.”
During middle school, Vitale would record himself making funny diss tracks and post them to YouTube, including one about past internet sensation Miranda Sings. Once Vitale started getting more involved with music, he eventually recorded his first professional single, “$tay Young,” with a local musician in his hometown.
After his first real experience with music, Vitale continued to post funny videos and diss tracks on various platforms throughout high school. When it came time to make his college decision, Vitale ultimately chose Penn State, pursuing degrees in broadcast journalism and advertising.
“I liked the amount of opportunity this school gives,” Vitale said. “I think it’s so cool how you can have 500 people right here and then I see a whole new set of 500.”
With just shy of two semesters under his belt, Vitale put all the cards on the table and competed in a contest hosted by The Kid LAROI. The competition required each contestant to create a remix or additional verse of one of LAROI’s songs. The winner with the most votes got the chance to perform on stage at the Bryce Jordan Center before The Kid LAROI’s concert started.
“I sent my videos to people who I normally wasn’t comfortable with,” Vitale said. “I would ask random people to vote for me and put up QR codes for people to scan. I posted videos every day, dropping a song each day until the concert. The whole month of March I was behind a computer just grinding out content, hoping something would come out of it.”
Shortly before the concert, Vitali contemplated whether or not the contest was a scam until he heard back from The Kid LAROI’s team confirming that he had won.
On the night of the concert, Vitale had the opportunity to meet The Kid LAROI before performing on stage in front of a crowd for the first time, giving him the boost he needed.
“I blacked out on stage to the point I saw the people in the crowd but I didn’t understand they were like actual entities with feelings and judgment,” Vitale said. “I didn’t feel like anyone was judging me. I was just like, these are just placeholders almost. A lot of emotions were circling in my mind but I just went for it. I gave a little motivational speech at the end and my parents couldn’t tell if I enjoyed the performance more or the speech after because I enjoyed both so much.”
Closer to the end of the semester, Vitale began writing lines in his dorm room and eventually recorded “Penn State,” which he posted to TikTok later in the summer.
“I saw all these songs that are about colleges, like ‘UCLA’ by RL Grime, then I realized nobody had a song about Penn State,” Vitale said. “And I was like, ‘Why? That’s so weird. Why would nobody take this opportunity?’”
Vitale took his realization as an opportunity to highlight what it means to be a Penn Stater in a way that transports his listeners to Happy Valley.
“I wanted to make the beat happy and energetic, while also making it super catchy,” Vitale said. “My goal for this was to be a song to play at frats, to play at parties, to play at concerts, with a simple chorus like ‘UCLA.’ I wanted this to be a song that you can sing blackout drunk, without having to think about the lyrics.”
Although Vitale faced some criticism about his choice of lyrics and the quality of the song, he hasn’t let those comments stop him from creating content and promoting his music every day.
Vitale says the simplicity of the song was intentional, with the hope that people could sing along to the chorus in any party or group setting. The song allowed Vitale to express his thoughts about what Penn State means to him and his surrounding community.
Since its release, “Penn State,” has reached over 3,000 listeners on Spotify and thousands more on TikTok, with dozens of accounts using his song. Vitale continues to post content about his music and his life at Penn State.
“At the end of the day, I notice I’m happiest when I make somebody else smile and make somebody else laugh,” Vitale said. “I enjoy making people feel included and worth it.”
Evan Halfen is a sophomore broadcast journalism major from Newark, DE, and is one of Onward State’s social media editors. Evan loves all things Penn State, tailgating, being loud, just about any beach, and his puppies, Butterscotch and Wentzy. You can direct all your suggestions, roasts, and jokes to his Instagram: @e.evan.halfen.n or email: [email protected]