Interview with Lynette Diaz! New Album Out Saturday!

A while back my friend Millicent on MySpace (when you have a chance, Millicent’s profile has a wealth of links to great female singer-songwriters) introduced me to Lynette Diaz, saying we had similar musical styles and outlook on life and we’d probably get along well. She was right – Lynette is a sweet, powerful and positive person who is absolutely passionate about music and I’m sure I’d like to hang out with if she didn’t live halfway around the world in New Zealand!

Lynette is releasing her debut CD this Saturday! In spite of her busy schedule getting ready for the release party, she took some time to answer a few questions about her songwriting process, recording the album and her musical heroines. Check out the interview, links to Lynette’s sites are below.


When did you know you wanted to be a songwriter?

I fell into songwriting quite by accident about two years ago. I’ve written poetry off and on for many years since I was a child. I’ve written some short stories, and I was editor of my high school paper and participated in journalism workshops when I was younger.

Words have always intrigued me and they’ve always been a really cathartic way for me to express myself. Just putting stuff on paper makes me feel better. I was going through a really trying time in my life, including a divorce after 19 years of marriage and coming out in mid-life. I was finally (after a couple of failed half-hearted attempts) going to make a real effort to learn guitar.

A neighbor gave me a chord chart and a few pointers and off I went. Within a few months, the words just started pouring out of me. As I learned different chords, new songs were born.

The combination of playing music with my lyrics really struck a chord. Ha, seriously no pun intended with that answer.

Which typically comes first for you – music or lyrics?

It really depends, as sometimes I’m playing around with a melody and then the words fall into place, But I’ve probably had more instances when the words are there and they need an outlet, so I pick up the guitar and fiddle with it a bit and the melody comes.

Do you revise or rework your songs a lot?

At this point, I feel really fortunate, as most of my songs up to this point have practically written themselves. Not that they all come out shiny and polished, but that the general theme and the key phrases tend to write themselves.

I find if I push to try and make a song happen, I run into walls. So, I don’t do that. I’m quite happy to put it aside and usually, whether it’s a day or even months later, it ends up being written close to original form

What has the process been like for recording your CD? When is the official release?

The album is set to be released on September 27th!!! I’ve got a cd release party that day at a nice intimate listening venue/art gallery. My music will be available soon at cdbaby.com and the usual digital distribution methods, such as iTunes and Amazon Mp3.

The recording process was made easy for me, due to the fact that I had really good friends working with me. Andrew Morriss and I have performed together, and he is this amazingly talented guitarist/songwriter/singer. We recorded at his home-based studio, and I would spend every Friday afternoon there for, oh, almost three months, and we would record and go over logistics etc. I had another friend, Simon Ritchie, come in and play harmonica for me. He and I perform together all the time, and I really love the way the harmonica blends with my music.

Where is your favorite place to sing?

I’ve got this really comfortable couch, and I love to sit in this one corner of the room and practice. But, as far as places outside home, anywhere with a friendly atmosphere.

I’m a real positive vibey kind of person, and I sing best when I can feel supported by other positive vibes. I tend to stay away from performing as background noise, such as in bars. LOVE small intimate venues.

What’s the hardest thing about performing? What’s the best thing?

The hardest part of performing for me has been getting my guitar to match my songs and vocals. Seriously, I’ve been playing guitar for less than two years and even though I practice all the time, because I’m writing so much, a lot of my guitar time ends up working through my songs. I’m not disciplined enough to go through guitar exercises. I’m not lazy at all about guitar, just really, I know I’m a songwriter first, and the guitar is the instrument that brings the words alive.

The best thing about performing is it means that I’m bringing those songs alive. I’m really quite petite, at 5’0 and I love the reaction of the crowd when I sing and really open it up. My voice is very passionate, and I get comments from the audience that they didn’t expect that voice from such a small gal, LOL! Really though, getting across the message in my songs is the highlight.

Who/where do you get support to do your craft?

I have two sons who have cheered me on since the beginning. Well, except for the first few months when my guitar playing was really obnoxiously horrid. They’ve been so positive about the process that I’ve gone through to get to do what I love,

I have a lot of other really special people in my life who have all been positive and supportive in various ways. My partner has been supportive from day one, and we both will play guitar together and sing for fun.

I’ve got a circle of musician friends here in Christchurch that are so good to me, with their time and energy. I’ve got some amazingly supportive MySpace friends who’ve encouraged me to make music and record an album from the get go. I could go on and on.

I also have a very spiritual side. I stay open to possibilities and positive energy and listen to my inner guidance. I think that is quite apparent in my music and in the way I approach life these days.

Name 3 artists you are listening to a lot these days OR your top 3 all time musical inspirations.

Oh, right off the bat, my #1 desert island disc would be ‘Flaming Red’ by Patty Griffin. The fact that so many of the songs on that disc have been covered by other artists, Wow. And, Patty really rocks on that album.

Carol King’s ‘Tapestry’ was my favorite album growing up. Really, another album where the songwriting stands out.

Brandi Carlile’s music is really doing it in the same way for me these days. I’m a word person, and the way the words are conveyed. Brandi has so much energy and passion for the music and her fans, and I really like that.

Where can people listen to samples of your songs/order the CD?

I’ve just created my official website at www.lynettediaz.com

My Myspace site is www.myspace.com/jlynettediaz

My tunes will be available on Cdbaby.com anyday now, as well as through iTunes, Amazon’s mp3 store.

Listener’s can also drop me a line on any of my websites to get a copy directly from me. If someone buys it direct, I’ll sign it and/or personalize it with a note.

How long have you been living in New Zealand and what brought you there?

I’ve been in New Zealand for almost 4 years now, and the story of what brought me way down South is way too long to publish. But, in general, it’s a beautiful place with lots of adventurous stuff to do. And, I get to live near the beach.

Any other current or upcoming projects (musical or non) you want to talk about?

Right now, I’ve got a site devoted to promoting other New Zealand Female Musos called the New Zealand Women’s Acoustic Collective. The myspace page is www.myspace.com/nzacousticwomen

There is so much great music being created by women here in New Zealand, and I really want to help give them a wider voice to share their craft. Eventually, there will be more going on, including some joint music projects and performance nights.

I’ve got some other projects that I am working on, but I’m taking some time off soon for knee surgery that I’ve been putting off, and a much needed vacation to see family overseas.

Bonus questions!

What’s your favorite sandwich?

A vegetarian version of the BLT

What’s your favorite hot drink?

Green tea

Do you have pets or a favorite animal?

A very sweet Rottweiler girl doggie

3 Responses to “Interview with Lynette Diaz! New Album Out Saturday!”

  1. Frank Gualtier says:

    kudos!

  2. millicent says:

    who? me? ;)*

    luv an’ kisses xo

  3. Heather says:

    Thanks Frank!

    You know it Millicent! XOXO

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