Diana Lawrence / Diana & the Dishes
Gig Seeker Pro

Diana Lawrence / Diana & the Dishes

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Woman who rock uniting for a cause"

December 05, 2013|By Jessica Hopper, Special to the Tribune

This week, Diana & The Dishes headline a bill heavy on local female talent for a benefit the band's Diana Lawrence has termed the "Woman Power Holiday Show." This year's the show will donate money to women's shelter Deborah's Place. Lawrence spoke to the Tribune last week from Boston about the elements and influences that have shaped her as a songwriter. This is an edited transcript.

Q: Can you talk about the benefit?

A: This is the second year in a row that Diana & the Dishes has hosted a show of all female-fronted bands to benefit a non-profit that supports Chicago women. I'd like to make the Woman Power Holiday Show an annual thing for us. I love finding ways to support other female artists in Chicago, and I love finding ways to take the music we make and use it to fuel positive change in our city. Proceeds go to Deborah's Place, a system of women's shelters in Chicago that not only houses homeless women but also helps them acquire the skills and support they need to stay off the streets for good. We wanted to keep the ticket prices reasonable so that people on a tighter budget (for instance, many of our friends!) can still afford to come, but we've also built in the option of paying more than the official ticket price at the door, for those who can afford to donate more.

Q: How did you start making music?

A: Well, to be honest, I don't remember starting to make music. Music has just always been there. There was always music in the house growing up, and my parents were always singing. When I was a little kid, my favorite game was to take songs I heard on the radio and try to figure out how to play them on piano. For some reason, though, I didn't start writing songs until much much later, like, the end of college. Then, they just started kind of pouring out of me.

Q: Did you study?

A: Voice was my college degree. I guess it's not very hip or DIY to study music in a formal setting, but I loved music school — for the first time in my life, I got to do what I really loved all day long, and with a bunch of other music nerds like me.

Q: What were the songs that taught you what was possible with your own songs?

A: Ooh, that's a tough one. There are so many amazing songs that have make me think differently about songwriting. I grew up listening to lots of the great American songbook — especially Gershwin — as well as '60's folk and pop, like Peter Paul and Mary and Carole King, and also a good deal of Motown. As for as music I discovered on my own, I remember being given a CD of Joni Mitchell's "Clouds" as a high school graduation present. I idly put the album on in my bedroom, heard the first notes of "Tin Angel," sat down and hardly moved until the whole album had played out.

Q: There is a cabaret element to your work — a kind of plaintive singer-songwriterly lyricism, but also a kind of theatrical sense of phrasing and melody--where did you get that? Is that just how it happened to come out in the writing or was there something that drew you to those elements?

A: I grew up listening to lost of classic musical theatre and the Great American Songbook and so I think that style of writing has just seeped into my blood stream. I also really love rolling up my sleeves and getting into that kind of music. In my life as a freelance musician, I work a lot in musical theatre, and comedy as well. But aside from that, I still find I'm drawn to songs and songwriters that play with character and story-telling. And humor. Serious, heart-breaking songs can be fantastic and moving, but then I also really love songs that just make you laugh, that entertain you. - Chicago Tribune

"Diana Lawrence's "To: Aging Children""

Americana Music News — We’re still making our through CDs that were handed to us during the Americana Music Association conference and are enjoying Diana Lawrence’s To: Aging Children.
Lawrence has a compelling voice and her themes about growing up are universal. Kudos, too, for the inventive packaging: An envelope with a letter inside, which doubles as liner notes.
Definitely worth checking out. - Sun209.com

"CD Review: Diana & the Dishes – Take a Picture"

Diana & the Dishes’ debut album Take a Picture plays like the soundtrack for a hot new Broadway musical in absolutely the best way a modern record could. It’s not just the veritable pit orchestra playing behind front woman Diana Lawrence, nor simply the classic and effortlessly jazzy chord changes. It comes down to songwriting and lyrics – so strong and rich that they nearly become visual.
Writing original, memorable, and non-cheesy music and lyrics for musical theater may be the most difficult task any songwriter could attempt. In a musical, the primary songwriting task is to propel a very specific story in a very short amount of time and with strict expectations in terms of structure and form. Every bit of music has to help tell the story of defined characters in that unique moment. Lyrically, rock and roll strategies of being intentionally vague or abstract don’t cut it. Plus, you have to rhyme – it’s in the rules. The payoff if you can do all of this well, however, is huge: effectively communicating very specific emotions, characters, and experiences in a more direct way than most other forms of songwriting.
The result of Diana’s experience and profound skill in this arena of songwriting is the most tangibly evocative record I’ve heard in a long time. When she sings about someone – whether an estranged love in “Satellite” or the star of “Boy in the Thrift Store Sweater,” I can almost see that character standing over on stage-right with moody blue lighting. The fact that words like “character” are even applicable to songs on a modern pop record – as opposed to the usual, abstract “you” of a song – says a lot.

These talents in songwriting and performance also come through in a palpable arc – narrative and emotional – of album as a whole. The opening track, “Train to Chicago,” not only showcases just about everything Diana’s voice can do (which is a hell of a lot), but moves and builds in a way that makes you really feel like something big is coming this way.
The core of the album is filled with energetic peaks and introspective valleys, and Diana does an excellent job of dancing between familiar piano-pop influences without getting stuck in the “She’s just like Fionna Apple, Regina Specktor, or Norah Jones” trap. The album’s closing song, “End of the Line,” channels Bonnie Raitt’s most touching work and concludes the record with the same sense of movement that the opening track conveyed, but in the opposite direction. Plus it’s got this one tragic high note that breaks my heart a little every time (in a good way).
Ultimately, comparing Diana & the Dishes’ Take A Picture to a great Broadway soundtrack does not do it justice. Broadway songs get to use actors, sets, and lights to convey a good story in an engaging and memorable way. Diana & the Dishes’ effort is much more impressive, as they achieve the same goal without any of the props. - Mid-by-Northwest

"CD Review: Diana & the Dishes – Take a Picture"

Blessed with a dynamic vocal range, Diana Lawrence has the good taste to avoid overusing her virtuosity on these tunes, which include the spare, living-room-style recording "Satellite." This sweet, melodic number is folloed by the hyper-intimate "End of the Line," where the singer's near-whisper conveys a convincing sensitivity. The drop-dead show-stopper, though, is the swinging, uber-catchy, colorfully arranged and performed "Mess Around," a jazz-pop Laura Nyro-type song that could easily be at home on a Sex in the City soundtrack. - Music Connection Magazine


To: Aging Children (2012) - Diana Lawrence
- iTunes, Amazon, CDbaby, Pandora, Spotify and elsewhere

Take A Picture (2010) - Diana & the Dishes
- Music Connection Magazine: Hot 100 for 2011
- iTunes, Amazon, CDbaby, Pandora, Spotify and elsewhere
- radio airplay on multiple college and indie stations



Called a "drop dead show stopper" by Music Connection Magazine, pianist/singer/songwriter DIANA LAWRENCE draws on styles as wide-ranging as pop, blues, folk, jazz and cabaret. Diana has performed at some of the best venues Chicago has to offer, and her tour dates have taken her from Denver to Cincinnati to New York City. Diana is a 2010 alumni of the prestigious ASCAP Johnny Mercer Songwriters Workshop, where she had the opportunity to work with the award-winning Andrew Lippa, Craig Carnelia and Lari White. Also in 2010, Dianas band, Diana & the Dishes, released their debut album, Take A Picture." Diana's latest solo EP, "To: Aging Children" was released in 2012. In the spring of 2013, Chicago's Steppenwolf Garage hosted workshop performances of Diana's new musical, NEXT STOP, created in collaboration with Route 66 Theatre and eight different Chicago playwrights.

Garnering comparisons to Ben Folds and Fiona Apple and Regina Spektor, Chicago band DIANA & THE DISHES presents a unique, high-energy recipe of rock, soul, jazz and folk that glides effortlessly from wit to whimsy. Since forming in 2008 around singer/songwriter/pianist, Diana Lawrence, the band has taken their city by storm, and their debut album, Take A Picture, was listed in Music Connection Magazines Hot 100 for 2011.

Though the members of this band take music very seriously, their live shows can be summed up in one word: fun. Whether they're playing plugged-in and rock-your-socks-off or acoustic and intimate, Diana & the Dishes has an uncanny ability to balance a polished performance with a family-affair vibe that will leave you with a smile.

To see our list of upcoming and past shows, please hop over to the "shows" page on our site (as opposed to the Sonicbids calendar).... thank you!

Band Members