The job of a stay-at-home mom of school-age kids is one of the hardest jobs of all, they say. Under the title, “mom” comes with it a self-taught chef, maid, nanny, chauffeur, nurse, child care provider, dog walker, peacekeeper, and during a global pandemic, a tutor and educator. Danielle Nichole Thompson, known professionally as Dani Thompson and Dani N Thompson, is a working stay-at-home mom who built a successful management and artist development company in the music industry while raising children during the Covid-19 pandemic. Dani was born in Orange California, on February 25, 1987, to Charles Hirbour and Anne King (Anne Hirbour), and has one younger brother Matthew. In 2011 she married Ryan Thompson and they have two young boys of their own ages 4 and 7.
Dani started her professional career in the music industry in the early 2000s during her time as a lead singer for a promotional band for Fenders’ Kids Rock Free ® Music School known as “The Fender Benders.” She donated her high school years in 2000-2005 to the KRF organization to help raise money through live performances to help fund free and low-cost music lessons for other aspiring artists in her local community of Corona, California.
A desire to help others
During her time in the program, under the leadership of her band leader Lee Zimmer, Dani opened up for artists such as Paul Rodgers and Steve Miller who were avid supporters of the non-profit.
After graduating from California State University Fullerton with a BA in Broadcast Journalism Communications in 2010, Dani worked in the health and fitness industry and continued developing her music career singing in venues in Los Angeles such as BB Kings, The Mint, The Derby, and The Viper Room. It was her passion for music and her self-taught artist-entrepreneurship that drove her desire to help other aspiring artists navigate the music industry outside of the major label system. As an artist herself and a journalism student in college, she acquired first-hand experience and a skill set that included video editing, photography, writing, graphic design, live event booking, performance prep, show production, and marketing and promotion. Hearing horror stories from other up-and-comers tied into major-label deals, made her fearful to pursue her career further. It was also a lack of direction and female mentorship that first made her realize the need for independent support and guidance in the music industry. With her background raising funds to further music education with KRF, the desire to help other musicians was a direct result of her upbringing, and she knew early on that this was her calling in life.
The shift from center stage to the sidelines
Dani Thompson was asked by a family friend of her father’s to manage and represent his 14-year-old daughter, Macy Kate after she caught the attention of producers of Fox Television’ ‘The X Factor” in 2012. At the time she was their youngest contestant. Dani knew this was an opportunity to apply the decade of knowledge she had acquired to help develop this young artist. Her role in the management and development of Macy Kate’s career, included heading the publicity for Macy’s 2014 time on Season 1 of ABC Networks’ reality singing competition “Rising Star,” and aiding in contract negotiation and management for her single “First Kiss” featuring Sean Kingston, promoted the official formation of Dani’s company DNT Agency (DNT Entertainment) in 2014. DNT represents Dani’s initials, Danielle Nichole Thompson.
Leading with passion and purpose
Over the next few years, while managing Macy Kate, Dani juggled a full-time job in software sales for her uncle’s company ShapeNet Software to help fund her passion and her startup. She had goals of being a full-time entrepreneur, owning a home, and having a family of her own. She took on another full-time job as a Regional Sales Director for a leading software company in the health and fitness industry, ABC Financial in 2013, and worked with two computers side by side for the next 2 years to be able to make her dreams of becoming a female entrepreneur and girl boss in the music industry, a homeowner in California, and a mother come true. As much as she wanted to quit her day job to pursue her dream job, she knew that the road ahead was long and hard and it was her desire and passion to make a difference in the lives of others in an industry she loved that kept her moving forward.
Adding the title “Mom”
In 2015 Dani and her husband Ryan welcomed their first son into the world. Three years later in 2018, they had their second child. Dani traded in her title of Regional Sales Director for the flexibility of working for herself which would allow her to be home to raise her children while continuing to build her company, DNT Entertainment. Adding years of sleepless nights, growing laundry stacks, hundreds of diapers, and countless hours of baby rocking and trying to figure out “mom life,” Dani came out on top. She never returned to a typical corporate day job and was no longer focused on making money. Her new focus was being a mom and making a difference in aspiring artists’ lives. Any time spent away from her children she wanted to be worth something and for a reason. That reason is to empower and mentor aspiring artists, especially females who are underrepresented in the male-dominated music industry.
Being a mom and entrepreneur during a global pandemic
Covid 19 shifted the landscape of many businesses. Not only in the music industry but all non-essential businesses according to CDC guidelines. During this time, Dani was forced to shut her doors and could no longer do business as usual. Before this lockdown, she was producing live corporate shows for high-end companies and brought in celebrity talents such as Flo Rida, Iggy Azalea, and Zhavia Ward to venues such as LIV nightclub at the Fontainebleau in Miami. Dani lost dozens of live event contracts in 2020 when live music was no longer permitted to take place anywhere but remotely. Another main service she was providing outside of live event booking and artist management was photography and music video production. In honor of the CDC guidelines, Dani decided to temporarily shut her doors to DNT and find a way to reinvent her services to make them available to her artists remotely.
She started an Instagram page called @songs4TheRecord and hosted weekly live streams on Instagram featuring artists such as Evelyn Cormier ( 90 Day Fiancé and American Idol Season 17), and Ava August (Season 19 of American Idol). This visual concert series was teased on KTLA in March of 2020.
She also brought back her publicity, and artist development services which took a back seat when she was producing live shows, building her photography portfolio, and directing music videos during the first few years of “mom life.” With access to social media, FaceTime, zoom, and the web, she released consulting and talent development services that could survive without in-person interaction. It was then that Dani formulated a plan to service talent remotely and reopened her business but virtually in January of 2021.
Post Pandemic Accomplishments
Dani Thompson partnered with Thomas Barsoe, Founder and Executive Producer of OC Hit, and former manager of Zhavia Ward, and together they have helped launch the careers of artists such as Tayler Jade, Emilia Vaughn, Beaux King, Gianna Branca, EISA and Savannah Young to name a few.
The music video Dani Thompson directed for Emilia Vaughn for her single “Sunflower” landed on the video lineups at MTV’s Spankin’ New, AXS TV’s Music High 5, Nickelodeon, and Loop TV. Most recently Dani assisted with publicity for Dean Lewis during his US National “Sad Boi Winter Summer Tour” in 2022 and secured him an interview on KTLA to promote his Los Angeles tour stop at the Fonda Theatre. In the Summer and Fall of 2022, Dani has been working on the debut album launch “BLUE” by Ethan Sak, and the brand launches and single releases of indie artists’ EISA “Only if You Let it,” and “Heaven,” Emilia Vaughn’s latest single “French Film,” and Gianna Branca’s “Conversation,” and “Self-Sabotage.”
Dani is an inspiration to other aspiring female entrepreneurs, creatives, and working moms. She is living proof that stay-at-home moms can build a successful business in any industry they choose if they lead with passion and purpose.