Have you heard Lia Renee Dior sing? If you’ve listened to KMOJ 89.9 lately, chances are you’ve heard the beautiful voice of the Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter singing her songs “Beautiful,” or “Good Morning,” that speak to self-love and self-awareness.
Dior has performed at a number of community events around the Twin Cities — including Sister Spokesman, and the Midwest Black History Expo — and you may have even caught her music video featured on the Black Music America (BMA) Network. If this sort of exposure continues, she could be well on her way to becoming an international artist in no time.
At 23, she describes herself as a neo-soul/R&B artist, who’s inspired by artists like Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, India Arie, and Lauryn Hill. Take one listen to her music and you can definitely get that vibe.
Having worked with previous artists like Major the General, Vafa Kaamil, Ethio Boy, and many others, Dior feels that she’s found her place among musical genres.
With the release of her first independent release, Love Child, she is hoping to inspire people to go deep within themselves and define and question societal views and definitions making them more personal to their beliefs while giving out love and getting love in return.
At Dior’s (LRD) website, www.liareneedior.com, she refers to the quote, “I believe that the love of yourself should always be the highest form of love before loving any [other] human. This album is all about me, everything that I continue to learn every day. That is why I named this album Love Child, because this is the beginning, and the discovery continues.”
The MSR talked to the singer/songwriter about her background, her new album Love Child, and where she’s headed in the future.
MSR: You’re based in Minneapolis, but where were you born?
LRD: I was born in Minneapolis.
MSR: Do you play any instruments?
LRD: I play the drums and the violin.
MSR: Are you a formally trained singer or self-taught?
LRD: Formally trained.
MSR: Who are three of your earliest musical influences?
LRD: Lauryn Hill, she’s number one on my list, and CeCe Winans; and Erykah Badu.
MSR: What inspired you to record Love Child? It’s your first solo recording, right?
LRD: It’s my first solo album; my first as a solo artist. I was part of groups before, like [in] rap groups. A month before I started working on my own project, Love Child, I started recording with a group called the Mogolz. We were like an underground group.
MSR: Who are some of the musicians on your album?
LRD: Steve Butler is the composer of almost all of my music, except for one, which is “Love Child,” the song. That song was produced by Major the General — he is a rapper in the Mogolz. He is the one who created the Mogolz…four guys, and I was the only lady in the group. We did music underground. Butler produced the tracks along with DJ Cooley.
MSR: One theme of Love Child is higher consciousness, being conscious about life choices, love, relationships, and society as a whole, which are themes very much in the wheelhouse of singer/songwriters like Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, and India Arie, among others. What’s good about today’s Black music?
LRD: What’s good about it is the fact that we focus a lot on receiving love from other people in today’s Black music. We focus on the external love. A lot of the songs that we listen to or that we talk about, it’s either the lack thereof of that eros love or the establishment of that eros love.
There’s four types of love: love that you have for self, the love that you have for family, the love you have for your lover, and the love you have for humanity. Those are the four types of love. Most of the music that I can say in general, especially in Black music, is that we focus a lot on the love that we have for each other, our manhood, humanity, the love that we have for someone else. Very seldomly, especially I think more so in soul music, [do] we focus on the love we have for our self and decision making. That’s the reason why I chose the genre that I chose.
MSR: The musical landscape seems to be dominated by young women. Why do you think that is?
LRD: I think it’s because we are taught to be in tune with our emotions. Not a lot of men are taught to be in tune with their emotions. So we can portray emotion a lot more, which is why it’s being dominated [by women] because a lot of women are moved by that emotion. And that’s the thing that drives music, not just your emotions, but logically dealing with your emotions.
For extended interview, go to www.spokesman-recorder.com
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