DARA Z

trip hop with soul

I have always been deeply in love with music.

Seeds of love can be planted in silly ways. I wrote my first song, “Friends Forever” as a tribute to my best friend in elementary school. A couple years later, my newfound songwriting skills lead me to become the illustrious ghostwriter for a young singing duo called “Chardonnay”. (The name didn’t make sense given that we were 11 but, then, I have always had an affinity for wine.) School became far more fun in the ensuing years, when I discovered I could also write popular song parodies for my class reports. 

Finally when I was 15, my Mom taught me how to play her old classical guitar, the one that brought her closer to folk music as a teenager in the 1960s. Being handed her guitar was a turning point in my long held secret desire to be a songwriter, and perhaps a real rock star.  Like the persistent adolescent feeling of not being good enough, the nylon strings tended to become tense and snap like they were ready to die just to become free. But they were still a comfort, and I still believed music could save me. So in high school when I had a chance to join a band with two other guitarists, I felt I had finally arrived. We had three practices. Then, after weeks of nothing being scheduled, I found out that they decided to kick me out of the band but didn’t want to tell me. Heartbroken.

Photographer: Susanna Simpson Kanner

 

 

 

In college, my roommate who worked in a radio station helped me record a handful of songs I had written. “The Daria Sessions” gave me a taste of what it meant to focus on my music … and then, I swiftly gave up hope. The feeling of not being good enough, and “what’s the point?” laid across a full-time job lead me to spend the next decade looking longingly at my guitar with random moments of reinvigorated enthusiasm and writing.

A few years ago, I heard the beginning of this album somewhere in my head. My musical tastes had moved from folk rock to electronic and hip-hop but my life long love for songwriting was still there and had grown more heavy. I stumbled for an outlet – both for the emotional pain I had been cradling at the time and to revive the lost years without playing music that haunted me.

The songs on this album represent a time in my life that I needed to record through melodies and verse because keeping them in was no longer a choice I could sign off on through my inaction. While I also hope the content about the struggles of a long term relationship forms a connection from me to you, I hope it’s also reminder that it’s never too late to fall in love again, with music.