by Lauren Rosier
Over a decade ago, a singer/songwriter from Utah, Dia Frampton, and her sister Meg, started a band, Meg & Dia. The band quickly became popular amongst the pop rock scene, garnering attention from major media outlets like Warped Tour and Alternative Press. That eventually dissolved, but left Frampton looking to continue pursuing a music career.
Meg & Dia and the inaugural season of The Voice
In 2011, Frampton auditioned for the inaugural season of NBC’s hit singing competition, The Voice, quickly becoming a fan favorite over the first season. With any reality television show, sometimes you may not realize what you’re getting into; however, Frampton’s past experiences in the music industry with Meg & Dia greatly helped her to continue on with her solo career following The Voice.
“I think through Meg & Dia I really learned about work ethic and how hard the industry is really,” She began. “I think it’s really easy to be naive with things and I think that we all are. I don’t think naive people are entitled or think it should be easy for them, but they think it will be easy. I learned about how to get a great management team, how to write songs, how to tour, how to set up my own tour, how to network with people, and I had already networked with so many great people, songwriters and producers, that I could just go with them after I had that platform and start working.”
The reality of television music competitions
Shows like The Voice and American Idol, she says, “are hard for people” because “they’re not really prepared to sustain that flame because they just don’t really know what to do. It took me ten years to build the connections that I had and understand everything from the inside out. I understood songwriting, publishing companies, and how record labels work, and how important touring was, and what to do on tour, and how to set up a great band.”
She already knew all these things that usually take some time to build up. “When The Voice was over, I could kind of go full steam ahead,” she explained. “I found with some people where it was their first time performing or something, that they were kind of struggling with what to do next. I feel like that’s a hard place to be in because you have all of this momentum and then that’s when all the weird managers come out the woodwork.”
For the first season of The Voice, she had no idea what she was getting into. “In hindsight, I think was really great because I couldn’t get stressed out or overwhelmed by something that I couldn’t really quite see,” She said. “If it would’ve been season two of The Voice, I highly doubt I would’ve ever auditioned, because I could see what it was. When I auditioned for The Voice, season one, no one knew what it was, and also a big part of it was that the four coaches weren’t cast yet. They just said there’ll be four coaches that’ll help you learn and teach you different things about songs, music, and performance. I think if they would’ve said Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green, Blake Shelton, I would’ve had a quicker understanding how big the show was.”
For obvious reasons, being on The Voice, for Frampton opened a lot of doors with songwriters and producers, but “was difficult because it kind of took the joy out of music for me for a while. I don’t blame the show for that at all, that was my own instability. I don’t think I was meant for extreme competition in a TV show type of way,” She admitted. “I kind of feel bad about it now because I wish I would’ve been able to enjoy it and just have fun.”
Following the show, Frampton’s debut record, Red, was released in December 2011, but was later announced that she had been dropped from Universal Republic.
“Being dropped from Universal was really difficult. It was my third record label, I’d been used to working with labels and I knew how it went. It still didn’t mean it didn’t hurt just as bad,” She explained. “I felt really lost for a long time after that happened, which is why I think it took me such a long time to put out Bruises. It was definitely a long time of figuring out what the heck I’m doing and not having a lot of confidence in myself, growing older, and it’s such a weird thing feeling like hot stuff [on the show] and all of a sudden, feeling like yesterday’s outfit that nobody wants to wear anymore.”
Despite the disappointment of being from dropped from Universal, Frampton’s past experiences with [Meg & Dia] really helped. “I think that’s another thing Meg & Dia came in to help me because it wasn’t an ‘all is lost’ moment, it was definitely a very dark moment, but I still knew how to do things on my own,” She noted. “how to put music out on my own, how to write on my own, how to rely on myself and band members. I have that in my back pocket. The record label didn’t work out, but I still can do things on my own.”
On her latest record, Bruises, the upcoming tour, and the “Crave” music video
Over the the five year lapse between Red and Bruises, Frampton had a lot of time to think about what her next record would be about. For Bruises, “I felt like I had more to say and that’s really important for me for when making new music,” She explained. “I don’t want to just keep writing because I have to stay relevant. I want to make sure I have something to say and that’s always what’s driving it.”
Frampton’s latest record, Bruises, has a lot of things of going into the darkness and coming out again, as most of us can relate to. “A friend said ‘you know you should have it be a journey and we could start with the lighter songs like ‘Out of Dark’ and ‘Hope’ and go into the darker songs like ‘Lights’, ‘Dead Man’, and kind of go from this journey from light to dark,” she explained. “It was a great idea, but for me, my life really hasn’t been this gradual dark place that I’m free again. I wanted to make tracks that were hopeful and happy and then they go down into a darker place and then back up, down, up, down. I wanted it to represent the ups and downs of how life is for me and for a lot of people, I’m sure.”
Bruises gave Frampton the ability to work with some really amazing people like producer Daniel Firth while Red was produced by fifteen different producers, but didn’t really have the cohesiveness that Bruises does. “I think maybe the incohesive part of [Red] represents the excitement of being in so many different places and headspaces and working with all these great people, and traveling.”
Her latest music video for music video for the song “Crave” started with a desire to work with film maker Andrew Ahn. “I honestly just connected with him through Twitter,” she admits. “He’s really great at telling stories. I wanted ‘Crave’ to be something special. Andrew’s really great at making things beautiful and natural. For us, we didn’t want it to be a ‘gay love story’, we wanted it to be a love story,” she explained. “I think that’s something really important about the art, it can normalize things that some people don’t understand.”
Frampton will be heading out to the east coast for a four-day with a stop in Philadelphia at World Cafe Live on Sunday.
“I just got the ticket counts back for my four-day tour that’s happening in a couple weeks and it made me so happy. The rooms are smaller, 300-700 capacity, but the rooms are selling a lot better than I thought they would,” she said. “It made me really happy that I could go across the country and play for people and that they’re coming out to see me. They’re spending their money and their time on a Thursday night or Wednesday night to come out and spend an hour with me. That’s really incredible to me. Sometimes I take that for granted.”