With the year in its final stretch, we look back at standout artists who definitely recognition for their ingenuity, authenticity, and, as you’d expect, playability. Immediately coming to mind is Nashville native Daniella Mason, whose emotional and colorful Technicolour (yes, pun intended!) emerges as a personal favorite. The EP, which released back in August, has stuck with me for the last few months, not playing for cheap tricks and empty club tracks but succeeds rather on its maturity and honesty.
“I had my hair dyed/You asked me why/I was so blue,” Mason reveals of her favorite track “Planet” on Technicolour, but also her favorite song ever written, showing off her cleverness. “The song was serendipitous. Lyrics came tumbling out,” she continues, adding that the title of the EP reflected how each song showcased a different shade of the record but still remained in harmony of each other. In interviewing Mason, her knowledge and experience permeate with every word. She’s lived a noteworthy life for a mid-twentysomething, and she has quite the understanding of her audience. “It spans 3 years of my life. The title trackwas written 2 years ago. ‘Distant Lover’ and ‘Planet’ more recent. We didn’t just sit there and plan it. We had the songs and decided, well, here’s the EP.We put it out together to allow people to discover the project.” Mason discloses of the continuous feedback.
As with most true artists, Mason’s success didn’t come over night. Or over week. Or over month. “I was independent for 12 years,” she delivers, now at home with Warner Bros. Records. Having come from a musical family, being “some type of artsy” was hereditary. “At fifteen, twelve years ago, I started writing and recording. It was a long time. My artistry changed but music was the only path for me. I worked several other jobs and the music came organically. I knew I’m a storyteller and that’s through music. I definitely made sacrifices,” Mason reflects of her early years in music. Today, she’s working almost thirteen hours in the studio without realizing it. The end product does her justice. My favorite number, “All I Want” lingers with a soft, unhurried nature about romance. The hook is the song title alone but she delivers the words convincingly. Every lyric on Technicolourfinds purpose, painting vivid pictures like on “Shade of You,” singing “A moth to a flame/Sinner to his game/Soldier to his aim.” Mason may fall into the pop category with outrageously catchy melodies but her songwriting aptness is far beyond those of more radio friendly fare.
Hailing from Nashville, Mason is among the best storytellers, which finds advantages in friendship and competition. “The advantage is I’m inspired by many collaborators. But also, I’m challenged by them. The people around me are brilliants artists. I’m diving into pop community, which is new in Nashville just the last five years. I’m collaborating with neighbors. You get to hang out with people you like and make music, and I’m just thankful to be surrounded by talents,” Mason praises of her uber-talented support system. She’s become atrue collaborator, noting ‘Distant Lover’ and ‘Technicolour’ as moreof a combinedeffort versus how she would usually create on by herself. “There are songs I couldn’t have done on my own! I’ve learned a lot and can now apply what I learn when sitting in a room by myself. I’m working on a new release, I’m constantly writing. I might have seventy songs by now. I write in response to what happens to me and around me.”
And with a talent like hers, Mason is likened to quite a few celebs. She gets Ellie Goulding most, which is not a problem for Mason. “She gave me hope. I was working on my stuff and I thought to myself, ‘Will anyone like my sound?’ Then a record of hers hit the radio,” she muses. Soon enough, it’d be no question if Mason’s sound would be popular among the masses. “People also say Jessie Ware. I loved being compared to her. Even Betty Who. I’d listen to James Blake when working on album. They all give me hope. I’d do weird, electronic stuff for years and it would not be on the radio. Now the sound is heard a lot on the radio. Like Lourde, you hear her music and it work. They’re modern day influences.” Listing Billie Holiday, Regina Spektor, and Damien Rice as the rest of her “eclectic bunch” of influences, you can see Mason is working her way to a special class of lyricists. Speaking of celebrity, Mason doesn’t go unnoticed by Hollywood’s hugest names. Demi Lovato was notably an earlier fan, tweeting about “All I Want” to her millions of fans. “It was pretty early stages in my project and my phone kept vibrating. My phone blew up when she tweeted. She’s been a fan of my music and I love her. Nick Jonas has been a fan and friend and we’ve collaborated and he’s given a lot of advice. Joe as well. I’m from Dallas. A lot of my friends got into the Disney/Nickelodeon crew. They’ve stayed in touch and posted about my music and have been supportive.”
Mason’s fans can expect new content in the future! She plans to take the winter to write more music, including writing with other artists, “helping them tell their stories” with splashes of colour.
Keep up with Daniella Mason at DaniellaMason.com and on Twitter at @DaniellaMason.
by Erman Baradi