Donna Missal proves it’s her time at El Rey

Donna Missal El Rey 2019 mainbar

Rising singer Donna Missal‘s debut album is called This Time. At the El Rey Theatre on Friday night, the singer — who straddles the line between pop and R&B — proved to the capacity crowd that it’s her time.

Donna Missal took the stage in a white tanktop and white pants. She’s considered part of the alt-pop scene, and her sleeved right arm tattoo is a little bit of a sign of that. With a debut album full of bangers, the swagger-full New Jersey native brought the house down.

I was also shocked by such a wide demographic of fans that came out. I was towards the front on the left side where you’re a bit elevated. Next to me was a group of much older Asian people, including a few in their sixties or so. They were as into the show as anyone (though sometimes they got a little bit too boisterous during some of the slower ballads).

My favorite song from This Time is “Girl”, a feminist anthem Missal wrote that reminds women they’re all in it together and they should look to elevate each other rather than tear each other down. I also love that the song can really take on a dual, more romantic meaning because the lyrics are ambiguous enough. She followed that up with the poppy slow-burning “Driving”, another favorite.

Obviously, the thing that stands out most about Donna Missal is her humongous voice. She hits notes most singers only dream of hitting. There were numerous times during the show where people hollered in delight when she showed just how far she can push things vocally.

Missal just always looks like she’s having so much fun on stage. She almost always had a smile on her face, and was eternally grateful that the LA crowd supported her by selling the gig out. She brought some funky dance moves with her, sometimes bordering Elaine from Seinfeld territory. One song that stood out live that I didn’t really pay much attention to when I first heard it on the album was “Transformer”. That song had more production than most and really hit like a big rock song.

Donna Missal is on a clear path to big-time success, and is doing it on her own terms. In the pop sphere, that’s quite impressive on its own. Keep an eye out for more from the powerful vocalist.

Words by Mark Ortega
Photos by Danielle Gornbein