AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with DANIELLA MASON

“I was a misfit growing up, a quirky gal,” laughs Nashville pop star-on-the-rise Daniella Mason. The child of missionary parents, Mason spent her adolescence in Mexico and Guatemala before moving to Texas for high school, where she says she had “the proper Friday Night Lights experience. “I think I had trouble finding a place stateside in society. I ended up finding a community with artsy types and creative kids,” she continues. “Living in the South has been a learning curve for me. I came from a place where no one had comforts, people risked their lives on a regular basis, and lived really hard lives. To move into a family well-off city surrounded by comforts was a transition for me. I became really grateful for what I have, and more aware of how lots of people have to live. I try to be a good steward of what I have. Sometimes, I still feel like an awkward missionary kid.”

Mason, who began playing piano at the ripe old age of three and singing when she learned to talk, taught herself how to write songs in long rides in the family van, traveling from place to place on the mission field. “I spent a lot of time alone when I was younger, as you can imagine, and in my early teens, I began to create fully-functional songs, and began recording and playing shows,” she says, but acknowledges that she really learned what she was about when she moved to the Music City years ago. “I really started to learn what the industry was when I moved to Nashville, and I found my sound. I discovered the sonic spectrum where I felt at home, I discovered electronic instruments, and producing using a computer. It’s just grown since then,” she explains. “For a long time, I had an obsession with authenticity, and I felt like the music wasn’t going to be authentic if it didn’t have ‘real’ instruments. I had such an aversion to what I thought was electronic music or pop music, but mind’s been opened to a whole new world,” she reveals. “I’m able to bring my imagination to life in a way I was never able to do with organic instruments. The songs I’m writing are definitely asking me to go down this path.”

This path is beautifully illuminated in her most recent self-titled release, named appropriately since this album recounts her journey as a career musician. “It spans the last few years, it’s a good representation of the last three years of my life. There are songs about heartbreak and songs about love that are really lovey-dovey,” she laughs. “The love songs are about my husband, but the heartbreak songs are about my career, and how long I’ve been doing this. It’s been a long, tough road for me. There have been transitions, I’ve come away from a label and come independent again, and the songs are in the context of a relationship.” Mason called on  her compatriots in Nashville’s supportive and burgeoning pop community to help her bring her vision to life. “I really went out of my way to work with producers and writers in Nashville, it was like hanging out with friends, and the by-product is that we made really dope music,” she says. “I’m so honored they wanted to work with me. It’s about my journey,” she continues of the album. “That’s how life is though, it’s a series of heartbreaks and loves, and I think people can find themselves in it for sure.”

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