“I was 13 when I did my first Des Moines Farmers Market,” recalled now-17-year-old Lily DeTaeye. “That was the Grapevine Tour, where they give you an hour, and you sit at the end of the street, and you don’t have an amp because you didn’t think you’d need one.”
She has come a long way in those four years, attracting the notice of people ranging from fellow songwriters like Mary McAdams to the folks over at the Des Moines Music Coalition. It was at McAdams’ Ritual Cafe open mics where DeTaeye really felt like she started honing her abilities, and last year the DMMC selected DeTaeye to play at Little BIG Fest, making the then-16-year-old high school junior one of the youngest performers in the event’s history.
During the school year, DeTaeye — who is heavily involved in Valley High School’s drama department — finds it difficult to fit in music with school and extra-curricular activities. However, it is the summer months when DeTaeye’s music really flourishes.
“When summer starts, market season starts,” she said, speaking of the local farmers markets that are still her go-to performance locations. “I’ve been playing the Valley Junction market and Ames market. Those have been fun. I’ve also played a couple of house parties, which has been kind of different.”
Summer is also when DeTaeye gets most of her songwriting done. She says she has enough material now for a full-length album, but the money and time to record are proving harder to come by. In the meantime, however, her undeniable talent keeps getting more and more attention. This summer, DeTaeye was asked to play the Generation Z Stage at 80/35, making her one of the youngest performers to have been invited to two of the DMMC’s signature events.
“Sometimes younger people are kind of forgotten about,” she said of performing on the Gen Z stage. “I’ve wanted to play 80/35 since I was little, so it’s cool that they have an option for that.”
But as DeTaeye’s experience and talent continue to grow, she is going to make it harder and harder for anyone to forget about her, regardless of how old she is.
“When I played Little BIG Fest, I was shaking at first,” she recalled. “But eventually you calm down. Because I’m supposed to be here.” CV