Q&A: Irene Diaz On Love, Music, & Getting Arrested

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I’ve been obsessed with singer/pianist Irene Díaz ever since I heard a note slip out of her soulful voice. Her “Tricky Love” single evokes Fiona Apple déjà vu and displays her natural gift for songwriting. “Crazy Love” shows off her range and “Another Observer” her guitar skills. She recently raised over $10,000 on Kickstarter to fund her upcoming EP I Love You Madly, which is due in February 2013. I caught up with the 26-year-old L.A. native (Highland Park, represent!) for some 411 while we impatiently await the EP.

I’ve been to about three different colleges. I never could figure out what I wanted to study, so I pretty much studied it all—from sociology to music. I finished all my generals then decided to stop and take time to do my music.

You’re inspired by Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sia. You remind me a lot of Fiona Apple. Is she another inspiration?
The way Fiona Apple writes and plays the keys is very inspiring. The dynamics in her songs are fascinating. Her style of writing accommodates no one but herself.

Love is a big theme in your music. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about it?
Love is as simple as one, two, three, a, b, c. It’s not complicated. It’s exciting, dramatic, and warming. You just gotta choose how far you will let it take you.

What’s the hardest part about being an independent artist?
Getting organized and trying to figure out how to get started. It’s a lot of work and very tiring, but in the end I’m doing what I want with my music.

What can we expect from your upcoming EP?
Oh, you don’t even know! I’m head producing it. It’s my first time taking a step into production. There will be 5 1/2 tracks on the album. The half is an interlude between the love songs and the darker love songs. It’s to bring you down the rabbit hole, so to speak.

I love all your videos. Who shoots them?
My friend Michael Beserra. He’s great to work with. I met him after working with Olmeca on “Pieces of Me.” He’s an amazing videographer, and up and coming as well.

What are five things most people don’t know about you?
1. I’m the sample girl at Trader Joe’s.
2. I don’t own a television.
3. I like to paint and draw.
4. I can make a trumpet sound with my lips.
5. I’ve been in the back of a police car.

Okay. Do tell how you ended up in the back of a police car.
In high school I was involved in a big protest and we all walked out of the campus. The police were waiting for us and my friends and I decided to run. I ended up getting caught, and had to go to court for ditching school. My mom wasn’t too happy about that, even though she said I should do what I believe. [laughs]

Check out Irene Díaz’s “Tricky Game” video shot throughout L.A. on different pianos:

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