Daisy de la Hoya is a woman of contrasts. Known primarily for her 2009 VH1 reality TV stints — first on Bret Michaels' Rock of Love, where she came in second to actress Ambre Lake, then as the bachelorette being pursued by 20 men on Daisy of Love — de la Hoya hasn't toned down her outrageous rock 'n roll diva image, but she's definitely worked through some life challenges and is on a new path.
Talking by phone from her current home in Los Angeles, the woman who grew up in Denver chatters with excitement about her new band, Daisy and the Beautiful Disaster, a project she only recently was inspired to start, but feels like she's been prepping for, for many years.
"I had an interest in music by the time I was 5. I was very into Ozzy and all the rock bands. When I was about 10 years old, I got my first guitar, but it was acoustic and I didn't really like it because it wasn't cool, it wasn't 'rock 'n roll,'" she says with a laugh. "I started in a band when I was 18 years old. I played bass, did backing vocals, until about 24. I decided I wanted to try to have my own band ... but by that time I was on Rock of Love and things took a pretty crazy ride after that — so I put it on the back burner."
In 2010, her good friend Corey Feldman asked her to go on tour with his band Truth Movement as a backing vocalist. That's when she became inspired to "get serious" about music. By November, she'd recruited the Beautiful Disasters.
The band, currently on tour and coming to Sunshine Studios on Wednesday, just finished writing the songs for their first EP, which they'll record when they return home — songs that de la Hoya says are "100 percent a reflection" of everything's she's been through. That same personal history led her to recently become spokeswoman for To Write Love on Her Arms, a national nonprofit that works to help those struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury and suicide.
"A lot of people are affiliated with charities. I felt if I really wanted to make an impact, it has to be in something I actually have experience in," she says. "I've been through suicide attempts several times. I suffer from and have had depression for most of my life. I've had issues with drugs and stuff like that ... it's really a dark place to be in, but you can overcome it. ... I like to refer to it as, everyone has their own choice of being in hell or heaven, right here on Earth."
de la Hoya encourages people to find others in their life who can support them: "Everybody needs love, and everybody needs help. We're all connected together in this situation we call life." But at the end of the day, she also wants people to remember one thing: "You have the right and you have the hope and you have everything at the end of your fingertips, to make your life be whatever you want it to be. ... There is no answer except within yourself.
"Someone else is not going to fix you. Drugs are not going to fix you. Suicide is not going to fix it. It's you that has to fix you. You have to learn to know who you are."
For her, the music industry has challenged her resolve in this area, but it's songwriting — in her "dirty, sexy, rock 'n roll" way — that has helped her along. "As a songwriter and as a lyricist and as a musician I'm still, you know by all means, I'm still learning and I'm still growing and hopefully 10 years from now, 20 years from now, or whatever it is, I'll be 10 times better than I ever was."
And maybe she'll meet up with Bret Michaels again? She laughs when asked if she's spoken with the Poison lead singer recently.
"No, I have not. ... But if I could say something to him, I would be like, 'Hey, I would definitely like to be on that tour with you and Mötley Crüe and New York Dolls. That is my dream. Everything about it. Not only do I like all those guys, but I respect their music, too, so that would be a lot of fun."
Of course, those guys should know one more thing about Daisy: "I am definitely currently in a relationship with music. It is a very serious, committed relationship."