Sunday, December 4, 2011

Facts about the new album RED

As December 6th is growing closer, I am getting even more excited for you guys to hear the new album RED!  Thank you so much for being so supportive as well as interactive.  I love reading your comments, etc. on my facebook, twitter, or here!  

I just wanted to say a few words about the album, how it was made, what the songs mean to me, etc.  :)

This song is by far the most personal to me.  So personal in fact, that it almost makes me feel uncomfortable.  It's as if I ripped out a page of my diary and put it on display for all the world to see.  This song is very much about me, and very much the truth.  He is still a very special person to me in my life, whether he knows it or not.  The vocal tracks on the album were supposed to be "demo" vocals.  I laid down some vocals right after writing the song, and during that time, I was going through a really rough emotional war inside me about this special person.  The vocal takes were...imperfect, sad, raw.  A few weeks later when this song was confirmed to be on the album, I went back into the studio to record "Perfect" vocals for the tune.  After a few takes, Toby (an awesome producer and writer) said, "When you first sang it, I felt like you were about to cry...  Now it just sounds like you're tired and stressed.  Go home for a bit.  I'm keeping the very first take of your vocals.  There's just something ... special about them."  I wrote this song for me...and I wrote it for Daniel.  
"Hearts out to dry"
Possibly my favorite track on the record.  (It's a bonus track on the I-tunes version...and sorry, but that is the only place you can get it).  I wrote this song with my sister Meg.    It's fun to write with friends and work with amazing producers, but when I work with my sister...I can just be myself 100%.  We are also close enough to say....yah, that part sucks.  Ha.  No hard feelings.  Meg and I wrote about 10 songs for the RED album, however, like I said, decided all of them, except this jewel, weren't good enough to make the cut.  As an artist, it's really important to weed out the "okay" songs.  I wanted the chorus of this song to hit you like a train.  Thankfully, I had Meg there, and she knew exactly what to do instrument wise, to make that happen.  This song, to me, gives me an out of body experience.  I can just close my eyes and listen to it and feel happiness, pain, sadness, excitement.  I wanted all the vocals to sound dissonant, like you were hearing a choir through a hall.  Neal Avron, one of my all time favorite producers, produced this track.  It was co-produced by Meg Frampton.  Go Meg!

I wrote this song with Isabella Summers.  The keyboardist of "Florence and the Machine."  This song came together like a 5 year old throwing random ingredients in a bowl attempting to make a cake.  We weren't thinking about song "rules," or "hit" making.  Hahah.  We were just making a racket in a tiny little room in LA.  It was terribly hot that day and we had to keep turning off the AC every time I would cut vocals or lay guitar down.  I still remember just sitting there sweating.  We got a lot of the percussion sounds by tapping picture frames together and high heels!  I wrote all the lyrics for this one...and wanted it to sound very anthemic, almost as if you are running or being chased by something terrifying but also exciting.  She was an amazing producer to work with.  She didn't hover over me and say, "Well, that line doesn't really rhyme," but rather encouraged my crazy creativity.  

This song came about in a rather funny way.  I was hanging out with my two friends who are also great writers, Dave Hodges, and Dave Harris, (the guitar player for John Mayor), yes, I geeked out.  Dave #1 started playing a tune and I said, "Wow, I love that beginning.  Let's build on that song.  It's great!"  And he laughed and said, "I was just messing around.  That's a Bob Dylan song I was playing."  Of course I felt rather stupid, but then we just started jamming folk songs and "Trapeze" came out.  I wrote this song, lyrically, about a friend of mine who had a very tragic childhood.  However, he never spoke of it until after 4 years of knowing him.  It was odd because, lots of people with their dark pasts tend to dwell on them and sometimes victimize themselves, leaning on their crutches as an excuse not to press forward.  My friend, on the other hand, lived as if nothing had ever happened.  When he told me of his past I was shocked.  It's amazing how some people can overcome hardships and move forward, becoming their own person.  He never spoke of his past, or "told me what he saw," and all of his hardships.  He did, however, always speak of the future....and how to press on and make it a bright and beautiful one for himself.  

"Good boy"
This song is about a very close friend who was molested when he was a child by his neighbor, who was guilty of molesting many of the kids in the neighborhood.  Unfortunately the boys were too scared and confused to tell anyone, thinking that they were "good boys."  The neighbor died of old age. 

I wrote this song for my little sister.  No, her real name isn't Isabella.  During the time that this record was being written, my parents were going through a really, really tough time.  Divorce papers were pulled out, and the fighting and immaturity began.  I won't go into much detail, but basically, when I was out in LA and London and Nashville writing and recording and creating....half of me felt like I should be at home, taking care of my 4 little sisters who were stuck in a mess and having a really hard time dealing with things.  I never realized what an ugly thing divorce is and how terribly it effects children...their ideas of love, their ideas of "forever," and their ideas of family.  

"Walk away"
I was sitting with a friend one night, talking about first loves.  I rambled on...Yeah, my first love was my boyfriend in high school.  We had our first kiss on a hammock outside.  He called me, "My sweet," because that's what they say in Hemingway novels.  Etc. Etc.  (That really was my first love.  I was 15).  He then story-topped mine.  He got really quiet for a moment and then said, "My first love was when I was 11.  She was nine.  Her name was ****."  I interrupted, "Aw, cute!  When was your first kiss?"  He said, "I never kissed her.  We just held hands all the time.  We'd sit together on a hay stack outside, or by our secret tree.  Her dad used to share her with his friends for entertainment."  I asked, "What do you mean?"  He looked down and said, "Ya know.  They'd all come over for a football game or something, and then he'd let them take her in a bedroom...."  I was absolutely shocked.  "You didn't do anything?  And all these GROWN MEN thought it was okay?  All of them?"  He shrugged.  "I was too young...I didn't know who to tell.  I wish I did say something....  But, when she was with me...she felt safe.  I told her I loved her all the time and would take care of her."  He shrugged again.  "One of his dad's friends got her name and painted it on his truck."  I was even more shocked.  "He did what?  And no one noticed or thought it was weird!?  How do these things happen?"  He shrugged again.  "It was a weird time...a weird neighborhood."  He paused. "I wish I would have said something."  I asked, "Well, what happened to her?"  He said, "I tried to find her on the internet once but I couldn't.  I don't know what happened to her."
I thought on his terrible story for a few days, and then I also thought...."Where is she?  What became of her?"  And then I decided that ... if she didn't get her vengeance... if she didn't get her revenge...I was going to give it to her, in this song.  All of a sudden I started day dreaming, and thought of her as a girl in black, running across roofs, catapulting from the ceilings of tall buildings like a MISSION IMPOSSIBLE chick.  Running on moving trains, hitting targets from miles away with her hand guns.  She became this...weird kinda super hero to me.  And then I thought about her going back for all those men who hurt her.  She had, as the lyrics say,  "A bullet with their names," and she was coming to get her revenge!   I know it sounds kinda silly, but it made me happy to think of an alternative ending to her story.  And of course I wouldn't want someone to go shooting everyone's brains out.  100 years in jail would be more like it, but sometimes I get carried away, and she just looked so cool in my head as some kind of CIA chick with guns on her thigh holsters and an evil "Cat woman-ish" glint in  her eye.  Go get 'em girl, and then "walk away!"  


  1. So glad 'Daniel' is going to be on the album. My name is Daniel..I love the song, and my birthday is December 6th.

    I just read your blog on the story of "Here, here and here" again after a few years and it's still as meaningful as ever. I loved that album, too.

  2. The album is sooo great. It's amazing. I love your lyrics. And the fact that the songs actually have meaning. Wouldn't have expected anything less.

  3. I have it pre ordered and I can't wait to hear it!

  4. I love that you're telling the stories of how you made the songs. It makes me want to hear them even more and I hope that your friend finds his first love and she's okay/better now.

  5. Just ordered it! I'm excited. I like ordering things online

  6. wow these are all very personal stories and i just wanted to say how greatly i appreciate you sharing this. its always interesting to hear the meaning or inspirations for songs. thanks for making great honest music.

  7. Wow, I had no idea of the story behind "Walk Away." I'd say it's probably my favorite song on your record (behind Hearts and Daniel as close runner-ups) and knowing the story behind it makes me appreciate it more but also fills me with a sense of sadness. I don't normally swear, but there is a lot of fucked up shit in this world.

    I bet, wherever your friend's first love is, she'd be grateful knowing you got vengeance for her, even if its only in lyrical form. I only hope her story really does have a happy ending.

  8. Get your trophy room ready--I see a platium plaque for "RED" & music awards in the near future. Thanks for the gift of early preview on my space & blog. Reminds me of you discussing here,here, & here on my space years ago. Nice to hear the back story. Always wanted you & Meg to publish book with all your lyrics and each with personal note on meanings to songs. I can see you getting teary eyed on hearing "I Will". LOVE the whole album. Beautiful performance on Leno. See you in Reno & Sacramento

  9. "Walk away" is my favorite song description.

  10. You can really feel a lot of the emotions in these songs on RED and now I know why. Thanks for sharing your inspirations and background with us. It's really cool how the creative process works. This album is true art. Hope all your dreams come true very soon. Someday, I hope you can share the inspiration for "Separate" from your last album.

  11. I have listened to the songs you posted on myspace about 10 times each, so obviously I love them, but reading this made me love them so much more. This world is so messed up, but at least we have people like you who spread hope and goodness. Thanks for that.
    It's hard to pick, but as of now my absolute favorites are Daniel, Isabella, Trapeze, Homeless, and Hearts :)

  12. Wow, OMG, thank you for sharing. In a small way, I finally understand just how much this past year really has been so extremely stressful, exhausting, emotionally painful and draining, and yet strangely somehow very productive and rewarding. You've only hinted at these struggles in your tweets, and your fans had no clue and thought you were joking around. (The tweet about "divorce and giving your all to making a marriage work" comes to mind because of the flak you caught from unthinking folks who thought you were being naive.)

    It makes me admire even more your perseverance and courage and focus through the entire Voice experience and now with your album release. It's amazing how you were you able to keep it together all this time.

    I would think a lot of people would have fallen apart and given up under your circumstances.

    I have listened to your Red album previews on Myspace and iTunes. I love the variety, unexpected twists, and personal heartfelt touches that are evident throughout.

    I think you will win over Blake's country fans with your duet "I Will." As you say, maybe it's a little corny, but don't worry--it just works and is very sweet when you sing it with Blake because your shared experience during The Voice and later shines through.

    Congratulations on your new album. Looking forward to when I bring my niece to see you and your band open at Blake's Worcester,MA concert.

  13. Thank you so much for sharing the story behind each of your songs, Dia! It really means a lot knowing the personal thoughts that are rooted in all of them. I'm always in awe by the stories you and Meg have to share with us--they're beautiful, and sad, and just provoke every bit of emotion in me.
    Congratulations on the album girl! Boardies are still here and we're all so happy for you! I can't wait to see you and the band in Vegas~

    PS: awesome performance on Leno! couldn't stop smiling seeing you all up there (with the absence of Carlo and his sprain, of course). The Broken Ones really hit me hard in that performance, I can't even describe it--great rendition (even better than the recorded song!)

  14. Wow. The last description really hit me. I didn't expect that kind of message behind a song. I think that's awesome that you've almost 'dedicated' this song to this girl. I like your idea of her seeking revenge. She better get them!!!

  15. You are crazy inspiring Dia!!! I'm happy that you got to write songs about what means alot to you. They're sooo personal, that's definitely what makes you stand out from other singers. Congratulations on the new album!! I have it pre-ordered!!

  16. Dia,Thanks for putting this up. It's always nice to know what the songs mean to the singer/songwriter. Such sad stories, very heartfelt. Everything you've been through, in this year alone, not to mention previous years, such high's and such low's. Not only are you an amazing singer/songwriter but you're one damn strong person! You help keep my faith in humanity a positive one. I love all the songs, by the way. You done good, kid. :)

  17. You are very generous. you always share these things to us. you are the only artist I know that does this. Thank you, Dia. You're so human.

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  19. I think it was very smart of you to put out that nicely-done lyric video for "Don't Kick the Chair."

    Open-minded folks who aren't into rap normally (like me) will be able to follow along Kid Cudi's rap and appreciate his words and how they reinforce the positive message in the rest of the song.

    I suggest making the lyric video easier to find by putting a link to it in your Facebook page and occasional tweet. The one on Youtube is broken.

    I love your experimentation with this song; an example of an unexpected twist that works. Don't let the naysayers 2nd guess you. And some don't know the difference between a lyric video and a music video.

  20. Oh, Dia, all the songs you've described (and I've listened to) are the best, really! Thanks to your Vevo and Myspace accounts, I can listen to them non-stop while I wait for your physical album to arrive! :)

    I love Bullseye and Billy The Kid because they're just so unique; Don't Kick the Chair, Walk Away and Good Boy because of the irony--the tune just gets to you (and they're dark songs!); and Daniel and The Broken Ones because of the sentiment behind them.

    But the best for me is really Hearts Out to Dry. You're not joking when you said the chorus will hit you like a train. I never thought a song could still surpass 'Here, Here, and Here' in terms of making me cry every time I listen to it but this one did. The instruments on the song really did it for me, and your vocals were really on-the-spot with this song, and for that, I thank you for this wonderful (listening) experience! :)

  21. Thank you Dia. Thank you for sharing and being so vulnerable to let us have a closer look at what you bring to this world.

    I've been following you guys ever since Jade introduced me to you the Meg & Dia band, back when you were living in Vegas and back in the days I dated the one who worked with you on the Yellow Butterfly Project ;) Back when you guys had shows at The Alley. I'm so proud of you and you are an inspiration. You, Meg, and even Jade.

    Thank you for letting me tag along with you and Jade to the Mac Grill (which I doubt you remember :P) and we went into WOW Electronics and you told the worker there to remember the Meg and Dia band because you guys were going to make it one day. And you finally have! Thank you for your passion in what you do and thank you for being an inspiration to so many people :)

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  23. So sad for history of walk away.

  24. Walk Away is definitely my favorite song on the album. I mean they are all great. When I hear this song on repeat, I always try to figure it out, but most songs are personal these days that I won't get it 100%. I'm glad I know now that I can picture the story you imagined when you wrote and it makes it that much sweeter. I have this album on vinyl and listen to it quite often, not to mention on Spotify when I'm on the go.


    Brandon Krzysztof
    Fan from St. Louis

  25. Hello Dia,
    I don't know if it's too late to share my thought on this allbum or not. However, I want to. One of my favourtie tracks so far in this album called 'Daniel.' I was listening to this song while doning my homework. The first sound of the strings catched my attention. And when it came to the hook 'Why? Daniel,' I just dropped my pen down. It was so emotional. I felt the message of regret in that part. I'd never fallen in love with anyone, but it really touhed me. I felt hurt like I was broken, too. I'm in love with this feeling. I'll listen to the rest. Your songs are so powerful. I love them.
    Thank you

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