Dia Frampton became a household name during her stint on the first season of NBC’s The Voice. Though she came in as runner-up, she has since moved onto bigger projects for her music career. Her debut solo album titled Red backs her folksy voice with indie pop tracks, but old-school fans will be happy to hear that her Meg & Dia bandmates are very much still in the picture.
As her tour with former Voice coach Blake Shelton comes to an end this month, we caught up with Dia to hear what she has to say about her Korean roots and recent success as as a solo artist.
Tell us three things that fans, both new and old, should know about you?
Hmmm. When I think of three things about me off the top of my head: I love to read. Whenever one of my teachers in high school would give us a book to read for the month, I would finish it in about three days. I always have a bunch of books with me when I’m touring as well. Some of my favorite authors are Ayn Rand and Charles Dickens. Secondly, I come from a large family of girls. I have five sisters. My older sister, Meg, plays guitar and piano for me in the band and also does backing vocals. And last but not least, I love dogs! I’m a big dog person and would love to get one when touring slows down a little bit!
I first started singing around the age of 9. My dad brought home a Leann Rimes CD. She was only 14 years old at the time, and I remember thinking it was so cool that a little girl almost my age had a record contract! My musical style right now is very focused on lyrics. I like to write my own lyrics and absolutely love writing songs. I would describe myself as a singer/songwriter.
We read on your blog that you enjoy writing short stories. How is writing stories different from writing songs? And do you plan on publishing any of your stories in the near future?
I love to write. I’ve written a few novels too, ranging from around 200 to 300 pages. I feel like it’s really difficult to glue a novel together well while with a song it’s only three to four minutes long! I feel like I ramble a lot, and my mind tends to wander when I’m writing stories. My biggest challenge is to keep me focused on the task at hand. I would love to get a book published in the future.
It’s been a bit stressful having all of the attention suddenly focused on me. Now I’m doing all the press, and photo shoots, and video shoots, which is a lot to handle sometimes. Also, all the criticism, good and bad, falls directly on my name. However, at the same time, Meg is still playing in the band with me and even helped me write for my album Red. She even co-produced a couple of the songs. She still remains very present in my life and I am very grateful for that.
In your music video for “The Broken Ones,” we get to see Meg and your Meg & Dia bandmates, Jonathan, Nicholas, and Carlo, as well as some of your family members. What was it like on set of your music video? And what has it been like for the band since signing with Universal Records?
I thought it would be a cool thing for my little sisters to get a “behind-the-scenes” look at what I do. I have made music videos before and would of course send them to my family, but all they would see was the 3 minute video. I took a lot of pleasure waking up my little sisters (ages 13, 15, and 15 – twins!) at 3:30 a.m. to head over to the set! Ha! That’s the evil older sister in me coming out. But I kind of wanted to show them that it’s not just all sparkles and fun all the time. Being a musician is hard work. We got to set around 4:30 in the “middle-of-nowhere” California and were in hair and make up chairs by 5 a.m. Then, we shot till about 1 or 2 in the morning, so it was a long day. I think they had a lot of fun though, and Misty (my youngest sister) got those same boots she was wearing for Christmas! Universal Records has been really awesome to work with and also really supportive and involved. It’s actually pretty rare to say amongst artists, but I love my record label!
You collaborated with a lot of different artists and penned many of the songs on your new album, Red. What was your creative process like while making and recording your first solo album?
It was writing every single day no matter what. Sometimes I would force myself to sit down with a guitar and just…try. Try anything, any idea. In my head I would think, “Come on. I’ve been writing all week…I don’t feel…inspired.” But oddly enough, sometimes when I would force myself to sit and mess around on a guitar, inspired or not inspired, some of my best work would come out. I remember my manager basically forced me to sit and write one day when my creative well was running dry, and all of a sudden, lyrics just poured out of me so organically. That’s how “Trapeze” was born.
“I Will,” your duet with Blake Shelton on the new album, really speaks to the friendship that you two have made since working together on The Voice. How has it been on tour with your former coach? And how has being under his guidance influenced you and your music style?
Blake is an amazing person and mentor. It has been amazing to perform with him on tour. We also get to open up the show, which has been a dream come true. Blake is someone that always gives. Not just to me, but to everyone. He tries to help everyone and doesn’t expect anything in return. Now that’s rare. I’m very grateful that I got him as my coach! Also, I love watching his show! It’s a great show, and he’s a great performer, not to mention his band! Every single musician that plays with him are out of this world! I have always loved country music too, so it’s been great to be around it. I think you can hear a bit of country in songs like “I Will, “Trapeze,” and ”Isabella.”
I have been keeping up with it as much as possible. Although, it’s usually from clips on the internet since we’re usually playing a show when it’s airing! There are so many talented people on this year it’s hard to say who’s gonna take the crown this year. I’ve just been enjoying watching all of the unique voices come through. Some of those singers…I mean…wow… That’s all I can say. Wow.
If we were to browse your iPod right now, what artists or songs would we find?
Foster the People, Florence and the Machine, John Mayer, Mumford & Sons, Tom Petty, and Modest Mouse. I really like some 2NE1 songs, too.
You’re half-Dutch and half-Korean. Did you have many Korean influences in your life growing up?
Yes. My mom spoke Korean a lot when I was younger. She moved over here from Seoul when she was 26 years old. Imagine moving from the big city of Seoul to little Logan, Utah. Let’s just say.. it’s a VERY tiny town. She didn’t know any English, so she spoke a lot of Korean when Meg and I were younger. Meg can understand Korean very well, but cannot speak it. I pick up on words here and there. My mom cooked a lot of Korean food when I was younger although it was hard to find in Utah at the time. I remember my mom telling me a story about how she missed kimchi. She was telling my dad’s dad about it, and he went out to the store and brought sauerkraut home! Haha. And he said, “This is pickled cabbage. Is this kind of like kimchi?” Ha! My mom ate it to be polite. I remember my mom always singing me kid songs in Korean when I would go to sleep. There was one about a bunny rabbit…I still remember it a little bit.
We hear you’re a huge fan of Korean food. So we have to ask, what’s your favorite Korean dish?
I really love kimchi, but that’s a given! (I can make my own kimchi now at home! My mom taught me!) I love, love, love bibimbap too and soondubu jjigae.
You recently posted a cover of “Nobody” by the Wonder Girls. Would you ever consider having a music career in South Korea?
Oh my goodness, YES! It is a huge dream of mine to be able to go over to Korea and perform! I would also love to collaborate with a Korean artist! That would be amazing!
Now that you’ve released your first solo album, what’s next for Dia Frampton?
I am hoping to tour internationally sometime this year. My plans this year are just to be on the road playing shows. I’m ready to work hard and promote my album!
Grab Dia Frampton’s album, Red, on iTunes or via Amazon.
For more information on Dia, go to www.diaframptonmusic.net, or follow Dia at her blog, www.diaframpton.blogspot.com
You can stay updated with Dia on Facebook and Twitter.
[Photos: Courtesy of Dia Frampton]