Interview: Marié Digby
Mon, 14 Sep 2009 10:56:04
Marié Digby Videos
On her sophomore album, Breathing Underwater, Marié Digby dives deep into a pool of emotions.
She navigates these waters with massive melodies and strangely sweet lyrics. The record is quite a journey to say the least, and Marié couldn't be more thrilled with the finished product.
She sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor Rick Florino for this exclusive interview about Breathing Underwater [Available 9/15, Hollywood Records], some of her favorite filmmakers and so much more.
Throughout the album, there's a lot of maritime and sea imagery. Was that something you were intending to incorporate from the beginning?
No, but I did notice that when it was finished. Beyond that, the four elements tend to make their way into my music. Whether it's water, wind, earth or fire—nature is a big part of my life. It always seems to work its way into my songs.
"Overboard" really stands out morphing from heavy to melodic.
It kind of sounds like a Metallica song [Laughs]. A lot of people get to that track and they think they've switched CDs or something's happened [Laughs]. I love it because it has a completely different feel once you get to the chorus from the verse. I love when an album can take you to different places, and there's not simply one sentiment or one mood the whole way through.
How did that track come together?
I was in the studio with an artist from Barbados named Livvi Franc. She's incredibly talented, and she's putting out an album soon too. We were hanging out all day talking about different musical influences and getting to know each other. During our conversation, we realized that there are so few duets these days with two female artists. We decided it would be fun if we penned a song right then and there. We met that day and wrote the song! Livvi had that word, "Overboard," lingering around in her head. She thought of "Overboard" as not having control of your feelings, and I envisioned it as literally going overboard off of a ship—being lost out at sea and using that image.
"Breathing Underwater" keeps the sea theme as well!
That ended up becoming the title track for the record. I didn't write it, but this producer named Brian Kennedy, who did most of my album, is one of the co-writers. I just fell in love with it. I've never been the type of artist who wouldn't want to sing a song if I haven't written it. If I fall in love with a song and it speaks to me, then I want to sing it. That's how "Breathing Underwater" made it onto the album. You're right though; there are a lot of references to the sea.
The album is a whole journey in that aspect.
I'm thinking of "Come Find Me" which has an ocean vibe to it, and "Avalanche" has to do with the mountains. Yup, I guess that's me [Laughs].
You're the queen of the sea now…
I'll take that [Laughs]. I don't think anyone has claimed that title yet.
How do you begin creating these stories?
They happen all kinds of different ways. For me, it's always the music first. I have to listen to the chords and think of a melody. That dictates where the story wants to go. I try to match that melody in the music to an experience I've had. I tend to prefer writing about my own experiences. It's easier for me to speak the truth that way. Then there are instances where I come up with a word that feels right and seems to match the song. For instance, I was listening to the music for "Avalanche," and I had to go get something from my car. As I was walking to the parking lot, I thought of the word "Avalanche." I thought it was perfect and began wondering how I could write the rest of the lyrics around it. Songs are born many different ways. For me, the music always comes first and tells me where to go lyrically.
Do you read and watch movies while you're writing?
I do! I probably don't read as much as I should, but I definitely see a lot of movies. I love listening to other people's music too. Listening to music and watching movies tend to be the two most inspirational things for me when I'm writing.
What were you watching during the Breathing Underwater sessions?
It's such a blur! I was traveling a lot during the making of the album. I was going back and forth between here and Japan. I was flying, and I always want to sit in the window seat because I am that girl who has her face glued to the window for the whole entire flight just looking out at the sea trying to see something interesting. That might've had something to do with the album's sea imagery [Laughs].
What are some of your favorite movies?
I'm a big fan of Baz Luhrmann's movies. I love any director who takes the time to not only make a beautiful film but also have a soundtrack that's equally interesting. All of his movies, Romeo Juliet and Moulin Rouge, have made a deep impact on me. I always listen to those soundtracks for years and years after I see the movies. I'm a huge Tim Burton fan too. Edward Scissorhands is probably one of my favorite movies at the same time.
Both filmmakers fit your aesthetic because they make stories that are palatable to pop culture but still have an element of whimsy and fantasy. That's definitely in your music too.
Yup! That's right on! Like you said, there is always a little bit of whimsy or fantasy sort of trickled over reality in my music. That's how I want to see the world so that's how I write. It's more interesting. I started writing songs when I was 15. It was a secret hobby that I didn't tell anyone about. It was really for myself. I was going through a lot of hard times, and people had recommended that I write in a journal. I did, but it wasn't very fulfilling to me for some reason. I realized that when I put words that I would put in my diary with music. That's when everything made sense. In a way, my songwriting became my journal writing. Of course most normal people don't want to read their journal to the world. Songwriting was private and I just did at home when everyone went to sleep. I didn't sing for an audience until I was 19.