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Music Monday – Temporary Lovers by Diva

Music Monday feature for this week sees rising talent Diva and her new music video “Temporary Lovers.”

After coming across the video and listening to the song, we had a conversation with Diva to get to know her a little better. 

We asked Diva to tell us a bit about herself;

Hello, my name is Diva, 31 years old. I’m a singer/songwriter/piano player, which isn’t what I originally studied to be! I’m a former immunologist. I completed my Master’s degree in 2011, after which I set out to obtain my PhD at McGill University in Montreal, Canada; but after about a year and a half I decided to switch careers to my first and greatest passion, music. Music has been an essential part of me my whole life, so the transition made sense to me. It was a tough decision after 8 years of university life, but one I’ve never regretted since! I’m still a total nerd deep down and always will be, just spending way, way less time on science now, obviously.

When did you first get into music and did you get any professional training? What instruments do you play?

According to my parents, I started singing as soon as I could speak full sentences. And I sang as often and wherever I could, which was probably very annoying so kudos to their patience! I have to say they provided the ideal environment for my musical upbringing. They are big fans of music themselves, there was always some album playing in the background at home, every genre imaginable, from classical Oriental to heavy metal; you could find toy instruments among our baby things; my dad even took my sister and I to our very first concert when I was just 5 (it was Santana, he’s a huge fan). So I was very lucky in that sense. Don’t get me wrong, growing up the primary emphasis was on academics, no messing around with that.

I started taking classical piano lessons around the age of 7. Went to different music schools, got a degree with distinction around the 6th course, then I quit because I had no time between college and part time jobs. I stopped playing the piano entirely for a few years actually, picked it up again in 2014 when I lived in Montreal. My current digital piano has traveled a lot with me, from Canada to Los Angeles (I lived there for two and a half years after Montreal) and now here at home.

When it comes to singing, I have no professional training beyond basic Solfeggio and theory classes that accompany piano lessons for about two years. I actually regret not getting any formal vocal training, because I had to learn through my mistakes (and vocal health issues!) but that’s totally fine because in a way it helps the lessons sink in and allows you to slowly explore and grow.

I play the piano and can pluck a few chords at the guitar. I picked up shakers and tambourine (regular or foot) for acoustic gigs a few years back, it adds a nice touch and a fun challenge when you mix it up with your instrument or singing. Basic rhythm and flavor. Don’t ask me to do anything crazy with those though. Oh and last year I started using a vocal pedal for performances with my cover band Pretzelogic. It’s literally the first pedal I’ve ever owned and I love it for all kinds of effects and looping. Still learning!

How did you come across doing what you do?

I started writing around the age of 14. Writing has always been important to me, a comfort at times when I didn’t know what to feel or say (ironically) and an outlet when I had too much to feel or say haha. Poems, prose, free association, I still have pieces of writing from back then and they’re hilarious. Well-versed if I may say so myself, but hilarious all the same. I was a teenager after all. Songs came around shortly after. The early ones were also hilarious. I mean just like any other skill, you start somewhere and you build your way up. And if you keep track of yourself, you can see your progress, identify your weaknesses, even recognize patterns in your influences (the boy band era, the rock era, the metal era etc)…to me it’s a crucial learning tool if you ever plan on honing your craft into something serious. But never take yourself too seriously…it takes all the fun out of it. It’s important to love what you do without letting it completely define you. Humility is key too, there’s always room for improvement. I write songs all the time and still write other things as well. Most of those I keep to myself, though at some point I did consider compiling them into a book. Everyone’s got their strategy; mine is I write everything because you never know when you come up with something worth developing. I can always tell. You will find a lot of notes on my phone, but mostly I’m old school, I love taking pen to paper.

Who or what inspires you to?

This is gonna sound very cliché, but I draw inspiration from anything that moves me. I’m not a genre snob. There are some things I definitely do not like, but for the most part I am very flexible, you will find some surprises in my music library for sure! If I have to be more specific though, my influences are largely rooted in rock (all sub-genres), then come pop and singer-songwriter, then blues, then everything else. If I like it, I’ll try to learn something from it. That applies to singers as well. I’m not gonna get into names, if it tugs at my heartstrings, I’m sold. 

What are some of your goals, musically speaking?

As far as goals well…I’ve always been pretty ambitious, I set a plan and do my very best to educate myself on how to make it happen. Ideally I would love to write songs, for myself and for others. I’ve done that already, collaborated on rock, pop, RnB, even jazz fusion projects, but I mean I would like to make a living out of it, enough so I can support my own music and travel haha. Would be great if I could be a recording/touring artist doing that and putting out my music for as long as I can (though I hesitate to call myself an artist; I think that’s something people should decide eventually). I just want to be happy doing what I do…it’s the most amazing thing, writing something that touches people. The best compliment I’ve ever received is that I am genuine when I perform and write, that it’s emotionally open and mature and connects to people. Hopefully that’ll always be the case. Music is my happy place, even when it’s sad music. I’m pretty authentic on- and off-stage so I can’t really be anything else hehe.

Anything else you would like to add?

Maybe I should mention something about this song! “Temporary Lovers” is the oldest song on my upcoming debut EP Little Black Book. I wrote it about 4 years ago, it’s based on a true story and I wanted the music video to reflect the playful approach to this otherwise sad yet relatable subject. I am very lucky to be surrounded by friends who not only believe in me, but are more than qualified in their own fields of work to help bring my vision to life. There’s no way I could have done it without them, they’re all in the credits, I love you guys.

This song is radio-friendly pop rock, but the rest of the album is pretty eclectic (just like my taste in music), leaning towards alternative genres. Wait and see I guess! I can’t wait for it to be released. Already the feedback on “Temporary Lovers” is so overwhelmingly positive and I’m so grateful that I get to do this.

Thank you VRL for this interview and for sharing my music!

We really enjoyed this talk with Diva and if you loved her music as much as we did, make sure to check out her Instagram and other channels to know more about her upcoming EP. 

Credits: EligeAY

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