After releasing her debut EP Neukölln Nights, dedicated to a haunted summer love, Berlin-based singer-songwriter D’aria embarks on a new project that explores her identity outside of relationships. In a world where playing rough is the norm, D’aria is the exception to the rule. Her vulnerable and honest lyrics often point to herself before others. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Winona Oak, King Princess, BANKS and Halsey, D’arias’ candid pop sound and straightforward lyrics are composed of introspective dilemmas from her life. Outside of the pop genre, D’aria has made a name for herself as a top-liner in collaboration with Italian producer and Dj Latteo. She hopes to continue to blur the lines between traditional composition and electronic music.
I have had the pleasure of speaking with her. and this has been the result.
Can you tell us a little about your experience? Where are you from / how did you get into music?
Hi Chromatic, it’s really nice to talk to you!
I was born in Berlin and came back here after a lot of moving around Germany in my childhood. This city really feels the most like home.
Music and performing have always been a big part of my life - for as long as I can remember my answer to the question ‘Who do you wanna be when you grow up?’ has been: ‘A superstar, naturally’. So maybe I just never grew out of that phase!
How is your sound evolving? What artists and genres do you enjoy mixing right now?
I’m a sucker for any pop song with an alternative feel to it. At the moment my favorites are Winona Oak and King Princess - oh, and Halsey’s new album enlightened my soul! I keep showing the songs ‘Whispers’ and ‘Lilith’ to my friends with wide open eyes.
How do you feel that your music influences or impacts your listeners?
I’m not sure how to answer this question without putting words in someone else’s mouth, but I do hope my music makes people feel like they can let their raw emotions run wild without any shame. I see my music as a safe space to bare it all - the unspoken, the pure, the ugly and the in-between - so I hope my listeners feel the same.
What projects are you working on right now? What can you tell us about your last job?
My current project is a two-side single revolving around the theme of modern loneliness. I’ve been working on this for the last couple of months and even though I say this about all my projects, it has been a very cathartic experience. I wrote both songs in different stages of my life, but somehow the process of bringing them together conceptually has opened up a lot of mental blocks in me. One of my best friends who listened to both songs the other day said to me: ‘This is so strange. Because I feel like I am listening to a summary of what you’ve been talking to me about over the last two years.’ And it’s true, the question of how to juggle empowerment and vulnerability as a twenty-something year old woman continues to be a big theme in my life.
Where are you and what have you been doing now?
I’m here in Berlin working and enjoying the rare sun that this city has to offer. A couple of days ago I wrapped two music video shoots which I still can’t get over. It was such an intense and incredible experience to see my own concept come to life. And hallelujah, acting is no joke.
Has that sound changed a lot in recent years? What is your musical criteria?
My sound is constantly changing, I usually have a vague idea of where I wanna go next sonically, but then I start all over if the song I’m writing demands something else. The traditional storytelling songwriting is very close to my heart, but I try to mix it with soundscapes that enhance the dramatic arch.
Do you feel safe now to play a more experimental sound?
I’m not sure how experimental my sound is, but I definitely have a lot of fun trying things out and finding new ways to enhance the message of my lyrics. In my latest single ‘Discussions with Myself’ I remember playing around with the demo, recording one vocal track after another until I just started having a full blown conversation with myself. Those ad-lips ended up being my favorite little details in the song.
We all know that the digital revolution has affected sales, but has it affected creativity?
This is a difficult question to answer, because creativity is so personal. But for me, as a kid who grew up when social media was only slowly starting to build, I have definitely felt a shift in my creative process. When before it felt like everything was focused on the end product (the big album release for example) - I feel like now the in-between stages of art have become more interesting and accessible to fans. Especially Tiktok encourages artists to show their ‘behind the scenes’ and their daily process. And I understand it! When Taylor Swift brought out a series of videos showing her songwriting process, I might have felt even more connected to her than through her finished albums. However, (to make my answer even longer) I also think artists should be allowed to protect their creative process, because it’s a very intimate experience to create art. As much as I like to make my audience part of my life, I also need my creativity to continue to be a safe space for me to retreat to when I’m processing life.
Can you tell us what your present and future projects are?
At the moment I’m continuing to work on my two-side single release and I’m not quite ready to let go of it yet. It has been a very nourishing creative experience. I would love to bring these songs to life in concerts this summer, hopefully that will be possible!
I’m also working on some collaborations for other people’s projects, for example I’m having a lot of fun collaborating with the Italian DJ Latteo on his deep house project.
And soon I will start thinking about my next bigger project - I have some concepts floating around in my head, so it might be time to get going!
– Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/d-aria-music
– Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/za/artist/daria/1523655985
– Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dariakickler