Monday, December 5, 2011

Even more facts about the new album!!!

I usually don't like to write about the meanings behind songs I've written.  I believe it was Jeff Buckley who said it best.  When someone asked what his songs were about, he asked them, "What do you think it's about?"  They'd answer and he'd nod in confirmation.  He did this with every individual person.  I agree with him as well.  I've written these songs from my personal experiences, whether it may have been a story I heard, a relationship I was in, a favorite book, a city that inspired me, meeting new and interesting people on my travels, etc. etc.  But what the listener always gets out of the song, whether it is "wrong" or "right" to what I wrote it about, is always what is most special to me.  

Having said that, I will continue on telling all you curious folk about what these album tracks mean to me.  However, keep in mind that what they mean to YOU will always be "right" in my book.  Anyway, here's a little insight on the rest of the songs from RED for anyone who is interested. :)  

This song can be summed up in one sentence:  "Home," is not a place.  It is a person.  (Or at least that's my definition of home).  It took me a while to come to that conclusion.  I started touring when I was 17 (You can read about that a couple blogs below).  Some years I was on the road 8 months out of the year.  I love traveling, but it was hard at times.  Try dating someone and then telling them you're leaving for 3 months.  The response usually isn't a party.  "But don't worry...after those 3 months I'll be home for a week...and um, then on tour the UK.  But...I'll get a phone card."  Yeah, usually not a party.  But after a while, you realize that the people who truly care about you are the ones who don't even blink when you tell them about your crazy schedule.  My best friend Hannah has always been there for me, even though on almost every birthday of hers I'm usually 5000 miles away.  My mom and family have always been understanding and supportive.  It took me a while to realize it, but home is about the people you love and that love you.  It's about the people that no matter how far away they are, make you feel at home.  I love you guys!  

"Billy the Kid"
Picture a sunshine man.  A happy, go lucky, creative, funny person with blonde hair and bright eyes.  His name is Isom Innis.  He is the keyboard player for Foster the People.  I met Isom a few years ago, way before "The Voice."  We got together from time to time and wrote songs and chatted and created.  He's just overall an inspiring person/musician to be around.  When it came time to write for the album, I called him up.  "Let's get together and write!  Let's just see what happens."  I went over to his cozy apartment in Silver lake, CA.  He said, "Come in, come in...I'm just..uh, working on a's like a spaghetti western...reminds me of cowboys,sit, want water? Ya good? Check it out..."  Isom gets really REALLY excited over music (which is why he's awesome to work with) and kind of reminds me of a mad scientist when working on songs.  He played me an intro to a song he had been working on.  There was no melody or lyrics.  He started dancing around the room with his guitar, playing the song really loud and yelling over it, "I think we could add in some really cool tambourine here!"  And then he'd pick up an acoustic guitar and start dancing again.  I sat down on his couch, opened up my journal, and started writing away.  It did remind me of a western....I thought back on my favorite movies.  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Clint Eastwood.  Doc Holliday.  Calamity Jane.  Kit Carson the sharpshooter.  I started dancing too on the couch and started writing a story.....  I love writing stories.  We recorded vocals that night in Isom's living room (same vocal tracks on the actual record.  Sometimes the "demo" vocal is the best!)  Then we wrote a chorus which made our feet wanna move.  We gave it a few weeks, thought on it.  Isom showed it to Mark Foster while they were on tour together.  He had a great idea for the chorus and also added some fun instrumentation.  It was a pleasure to work with them.  This song to write...and now fun to listen to while I'm dancing in my car and almost crashing into the poor lady next to me.  

"I Will"
This song is very special to me for an obvious reason:  Blake Shelton!  It was amazing to be able to watch him cut vocals for this song.  (We cut vocals for this tune together in Nashville, TN)! I love his voice and his country twang!  Also, I absolutely would not have an album to release in a couple days if it wasn't for him.  He's been such an awesome coach, friend, musician, that I just feel so lucky to have met him.  This song, simply, is about friendship.  He joked that it should have been the "Fox and the Hound" theme song.  Yes!

"The Broken Ones"
This song wrote itself, or so it seemed.  It came so naturally.  Lyrically, it's about not only accepting "faults or flaws" people find in you or ones you love, but embracing them.  It's the quirks and weird things my friends do that I usually love.  What others might find "broken," I find charming.  We've all gone through our uphill climbs, our own hardships.  We all have a story....   In my life, and especially in many relationships, I have been drawn to people a little out of the box.  We grow together and become better people.  What makes us broken, is also what makes us perfect.  

"Don't kick the chair"
Greg Kurstin produced this track.  One of my favorite producers!  It was so wonderful to be able to work with him.  Also, of course, Mr. Kid Cudi.  I like it when artists write happy tunes with dark lyrics, and that is what I attempted to do on this one.  This one is corny as it sounds...  about not giving up.  


  1. i want to hear it you are amazing dia

  2. I really do love "Billy the Kid". It is definitely something I would dance to in the car haha I also really love the intro do "Don't Kick the Chair"
    And "Homeless" is one of my favorite songs! They're all such great songs though, I can't wait to get my physical copy of "Red"! :D

    ps I'm listening to the album on myspace right now and Trapeze is playing...gosh I love this song, it's such a bittersweet song, it almost makes me cry

  3. as a counselor/therapist, "the broken ones" resonates with me and the work that i'm involved in with my clients.

    i truly enjoy the work that i do, and helping those in need, support, or "patching up." sometimes i feel that i gain more from my work with people than they may get from me. at the end of the day we're all learning and growing together in our own way and in our own time.

  4. I respect an artist's wish to leave the meaning of their work open to interpretation and self-discovery.

    But it's still a treat when an artist does reveal a bit of the fuzzy core. Sort of like when a teacher says, "There are multiple valid ways to look at this idea or problem, have you considered this other approach?" And it opens up a whole wonderfully surprising new way to appreciate things that I wouldn't necessarily have thought about in a million years.

    Anyway, thank you for choosing to reveal some obviously personal and sensitive subject matter and teaching us about your artistic choices. It helps us listeners connect to your work all the more at a deeper human and emotional level.

  5. Honestly, that first paragraph sounded like something I would say to my art teachers when they asked me what the meaning behind my work was and all I wanted to say was, "it's like this because I liked it this way," but that would seem like laziness on my part.

    I love to read how these wonderful, inspiring songs came to be, makes me love them even more...I didn't even think that was possible.

  6. What others might find "broken," I find charming.
    What makes us broken, is also what makes us perfect.

    Love it!

  7. Thanks for posting these Dia! I really enjoy reading them. And I totally agree with regards to the Jeff Buckley thing. However, it is always nice, fun, and interesting to see what an artist wrote a song for and why.

    P.S. The new album is amazing. There are so many twists and turns and different sounds along with lovely lyrics and vocals. I may have danced to a song or two.... ;)

  8. I really enjoyed hearing about how you created these really great songs. There is a lot of artistry that the "non-musically gifted" like myself find amazing. Thanks for sharing again. Some songs I'm really glad you gave insights on, because I have some pretty quirky ideas at times about what some songs are about. I admire you and am glad you are in this world making great music! TG

  9. Thank you for giving insight into these songs. I'm listening to "Red", from Itunes, as I write this. I love how most of the songs have an upbeat feel even if they have darker lyrics. It's a feel good record.
    As a side note, Fox and that hound is one of my all time favorite kid movies!
    "You're my best friend."
    "And you're mine too, Todd"
    "And we'll always be friends forever. Won't we?"
    "Yeah, forever."
    Gets me every time...

    I'm an odd duck who is drawn to other odd ducks so "The Broken Ones" really hits home for me.

    I love this whole fucking album. Wooohoooo! :)

    Thank you , your dweebness! ;P

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  11. Hi Dia

    I would just like to say how much I love your songs.

    They're so meaningful; I think that the cheery tunes and the dark lyrics are perfect about how so many people including myself feel. In this day and age, sometimes you just have to put on a happy face, while all these other thoughts go racing in your mind.

    I really liked "Broken Ones", "Walk Away" and "Daniel". There's just something about them that I just really connected with. The fact that you were able to write and sing these songs must have taken a lot of courage.

    Keep up the good work :)