Madi Diaz is one ineffable whirl of a woman. Having lived all over, she’s collected stories and that easy-going kind of cool only hours on the road can bring. With freedom written all over her Americana roots and California dreams, her latest album, Phantom, sounds like dancing through a broken heart...and we’re happy to sway along.
Story and Interview by Miwa Sakamoto
Where are you from, where have you lived? How’ve those places impacted what you’re all about?
I’m Connecticut born, Pennsylvania backwoods homeschooled, and Philadelphia teen-aged. I ran around shows at First Unitarian Church, escaped to my friend Megan’s dorm room at Tyler Art School; was a Boston college girl at Berklee, and a bike rider bartender at the Pour House in Back Bay. I was a Nashville musician/artist/songwriter before I became a Los Angeles resident plus (frequent) city/mountain/desert/ocean wanderer. Everywhere has poured through my songs and me throughout the years.
What’s your music like?
Lush indie-pop with an Americana foundation. It’s close your eyes and dance music. I get influenced by the moments that stick with me, the ones that I just can’t shake. People and places and things that keep coming back to my memory, that keep happening over and over, those inspire me.
How do you describe your style?
13-year-old meets Aspiring-28-year-old. I think it’s important to go with what you’re drawn to. I’ve tried a lot of things, but I always end up in painfully bright colors and patterns. I used to try to avoid them cause my closet was starting to look like a pile of splatter paint vomit, but...you can’t avoid who you are.
What’s circling around your world right now?
Right now — right NOW — I’m listening to this record called Threads by a band called Now Now. I’m readingThe Fountainhead for the second time cause it’s been awhile since I picked it up.
If you went on a weeklong road trip across the US, what’d you pack?
A small, beater road guitar, some really serious wool socks and long johns, a bathing suit. Orange lipstick...my cheetah print short-shorts and a t-shirt. My tent...a big bright beach blanket, sunglasses...flat bill hat...firewood...six-pack. Oh, and a toothbrush.
I mean. I could go on forever. They’re my soul mates. They are my beginning of really connecting with another, and myself, in the present moment. I grew up around them and really hope I get to go back someday.
Any unspoken rules while on the road?
I try to travel with the kind of people who are down to pull the van over for collecting things like tumbleweeds and pawn shop gemstones. And actual gemstones.
Mountains, river, ocean, plains, forest... Where’s your spot?
Gimme all of it. Each bit of nurture’s got a different corner of my heart.
You can own five places around the world, where would they be and what would they be?
Oh my god, I’ve been dream scheming my 5 spots. Not even kidding, that’s my NUMBER. Hah! But I can’t tell you cause it’s a secret. Just know that I’m working on it. They’re all made from reusable materials, are the most structurally sound, and sonically badass spaces you’ll ever find.
What’s your favorite kind of day?
Sometimes I want a rainy day to wander around my apartment, drinking tea, reading and staying in bed. Sometimes I want clear skies and brisk air. I’d go for a run up a mountain and, when I come back, I’d sit outside and drink margaritas with buds. Sometimes I want a hot, steamy, star-studded evening. We’d have a fire somewhere and just play songs...don’t make me choose.
Best life advice?
Trust yourself. (I try every day)