Madi Diaz: “This hasn’t been like crazy, Miley Cyrus success, but still…” (4/10 and 4/11 at UT w/ Waxahatchee)

“Fucking Kathleen Hanna Tweeted about my record and I literally shat my pants!  I’m literally thinking of getting that Tweet printed on a fucking shirt!” Madi Diaz tells me...

“Fucking Kathleen Hanna Tweeted about my record and I literally shat my pants!  I’m literally thinking of getting that Tweet printed on a fucking shirt!” Madi Diaz tells me during a recent phone chat.  The last time I talked to the Nashville-based artist was last August, just prior to the release of History of a Feeling, her ANTI- debut, which was co-produced by Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver, Courtney Marie Andrews) and largely inspired by the conclusion of a long-term relationship in which Madi’s former partner began to transition.  Throughout her decade and a half career, Madi’s sound has taken on quite a few identities, from alt-country (2007’s Skin and Bone), to folk-pop (2012’s Plastic Moon), to electropop (2014’s Phantom), but History of a Feeling (her first album in those seven years) seems to have put the musician firmly into the category of classic, heavy-as-fuck Americana singer/songwriters (It does contain some fun moments as well, most notably “Nervous.”), gaining her a plethora of new fans and putting her on some of the biggest stages of her career (This summer she’ll be playing Newport Folk Festival, where she hasn’t played since she was a 21-year-old Berklee College of Music student who had earned a spot on the bill through the university, which had her opening for Linda Ronstadt.)

“This year has been so crazy, even with everything opening back up.  I still can’t believe August was August.  I feel like I’ve done 5,000 world tours, even though I definitely haven’t [laughs].  This hasn’t been like crazy, Miley Cyrus success, but still, I can’t believe people are still continuing to find this record.”

Earlier this month Madi Diaz released Same History, New Feelings, an EP of collaborative reworkings of four songs from History of a Feeling featuring Waxahatchee, Angel Olsen, Courtney Marie Andrews, and Natalie Hemby (all women of whom Madi is a longtime fan and, more recently, a friend).  The EP was apparently inspired by Madi’s interest in different interpretations of the same songs, most notably Whitney Houston’s version of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” but during our chat she adds that it was also inspired by her continued love affair with the songs of her latest album: “I feel like I want to keep breathing life into these songs because it’s a really important record for me.”  She also cites the songwriting she’s done for other people as an influence: “When Kesha put out ‘Resentment’ it was such a profound experience to hear someone like that, who’s doing something totally different from myself, do one of my songs.”  (History of a Feeling includes Madi’s own take on the song, while Same History, New Feelings contains a collaboration of the song with Waxahatchee.)  And when I ask her if there’s anybody that she dreams of one day collaborating with, Madi tells me that there is one that stands out: “One I would really love to do is to have Lori McKenna on a song.  Any time I want advice from my mom I put on a Lori McKenna record and it’s a transformative experience.”

Madi Diaz has already done quite a bit of touring behind History of a Feeling, including a November 12th date opening for Caamp at our very own Fillmore Philly, and she’s currently in-between runs of live dates supporting Waxahatchee.  And when I ask her about her biggest highlight since the release of the album, she tells me this is it.

“When Waxahatchee asked me to go on tour with her, because I’ve been such a huge fan of her for years.  She was like, ‘I love this record.’  And she really emphasized that this was not her manager’s decision, this was her.  And she’s been so sweet to invite me out and invite me to do the encore every night, to do one of my songs.”

Waxahatchee’s upcoming run of dates with Madi Diaz will have Madi playing two nights at Union Transfer on April 10th and April 11th, which she tells me will serve as a family reunion of sorts (She grew up in Lancaster County.), which was supposed to happen at November’s show, but ultimately fell through: “Unfortunately, half of my family couldn’t make it…  This next Philly show is turning into what that last Philly show was supposed to be.  I’m gonna give my parents as much awkward attention as possible [laughs].”  I ask if there are any songs that she’s still especially excited to play every night and she tells me, “I always play a lot of the record because it’s the most present reflection of where I am…  I always love playing ‘New Person, Old Place,’ and I really do love ‘Do It Now,’ which may be a springboard, content wise, to the next batch of material,” which she tells me is in the works after these dates wrap.  But she tells me that one of the best parts of these shows is getting to play these songs for Waxahatchee’s fans and then getting to see Waxahatchee’s set every night.

“It’s been so cool to play for Waxahatchee’s audience.  They really go there with you and they’re down to get deep and down to get real…  I am such a fangirl.  She plays everything I want her to play every night…  She plays ‘Lilacs’ and ‘Fire,’ she covers Lucinda Williams.  When she plays ‘Saint Cloud’ it’s such a quiet, serene moment.”

*Get tickets for 4/11 here. (4/10 is sold out.)

Band InterviewsLive EventsMusic

During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.