Nashville-based Madi Diaz marks a full restart of her artistic career with ”Man In Me,” her poignant debut single/video for ANTI-. It’s a first taste of how Diaz has worked at perfecting the craft of delivering a full spectrum of emotions via songs stripped to their most confrontational and raw form. This song was produced by Diaz with additional production by Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver). Across reverberating guitar strums and light piano, Diaz’s voice is evocative as she makes frank observations about a past relationship: “Do you imagine me differently // Cause when I met you swore that you saw me // When you think I might be someone else // Does it turn you on.” As the track continues, Diaz’s vocals swell exponentially, only to be drawn back to a fading note.
“‘Man In Me’ was the first song I sat down to record for myself in about six years, which is the reason I thought it was so important to release first. It’s a very intimately visceral moment, a sort of play-by-play inner monologue, taking my first steps through a really hard time.” The accompanying video, directed by Stephen Kinigopoulos, “ emphasizes the intensity of a moment held and held and held. For me, this video is like holding a stare for so long that it hurts. It’s like knowing you should let go, but you keep holding on cause you can’t say ‘when,’ and playing with that tension lying right beneath the surface. You know something’s up, but you just can’t put your finger on it.”
Diaz was originally raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania surrounded by a family deeply immersed in music: her grandfather was a tenor in the Greenwich City Opera, both of her parents taught music lessons (piano, guitar and ukulele), her father played in a Zappa tribute band and her brother plays in a metal band. She moved to Philadelphia in her teens to have closer access to broader music education, before eventually enrolling in (and dropping out of) Berklee College of Music and moving to Nashville to more seriously pursue a career as a songwriter. After cutting her teeth in writers rooms in Nashville, Diaz moved to Los Angeles honing her songwriting skills and playing in numerous projects. After a very tumultuous relationship and break up, she bought a truck and moved back to Nashville where she became a go-to songwriter. As things slowed down, Diaz felt she had the time and space to fully confront everything in her life with a newfound sense of clarity. Over the next two years, she wrote over 100 songs, one of which is “Man In Me.” The songwriting expertise she had developed over the years is now championed in her own strikingly original and emotional music.
John-Robert‘s quietly thrilling, intimately earnest songs reflect the young artist’s most salient qualities: He’s reverent, humble and — at the same time — ambitious. His heart-on-sleeve lyrics reflect his journey from small-town boy to big-city singer, songwriter, and producer. And his music, effortlessly flowing from sparse bedroom folk to sweeping modern pop, captures all the vivid emotions that popped up on that road from his tiny Shenandoah Valley, Virginia hometown to his current homebase of Los Angeles. Honesty and vulnerability have kept John-Robert grounded even as his star has risen out west, where he was signed at the age of 19 by the taste-making Ricky Reed, the Grammy-nominated producer and songwriter known for aiding Lizzo’s rise.
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