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6. Madi Diaz
Bells chimed delicately above acoustic-guitar strums in the dim light of the Driskill Hotel's Victorian Room last friday night, the indie folk-pop of Nashville singer/songwriter Madi Diaz and her band wrapping snugly around the crowd's eardrums. There was something so inviting about the whole scene—especially Diaz's voice, an instrument that comforts as if a favorite blanket leftover from early childhood. Diaz first gained attention as a student in the documentary Rock School (which provided the basis for fictional Jack Black vehicle School of Rock), but has since cut her teeth at the Berklee College of Music and is now co-writing with Paste favorites like Katie Herzig, David Mead and Garrison Starr. That's right, little Madi is all growns up, and—with new EP Ten Gun Salute—her music is maturing nicely, as well. (Steve LaBate) - Paste Magazine


Madi Diaz (pictured above with band mate Kyle Ryan) has been turning heads in Nashville since moving to the city after graduating from Berklee College of Music. She recently completed a stint on the Ten Out Of Tenn tour and has logged performances at Bonnaroo and Next Big Nashville in 2009. Madi recently spoke with us about life in Nashville, co-writing and ’80s hair metal. (Click here to check out Madi’s profile on American SongSpace.)

interview: http://www.americansongwriter.com/2009/10/madi-diaz/ - American Songwriter


Like Gillian Welch and her inseparable, unbilled cohort David Rawlings, Madi Diaz is actually a duo. One half is Diaz herself, and the other is her performing and songwriting partner Kyle Ryan, whom she met while studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston. The two had begun playing music in their teens, and Diaz even had an odd, early brush with the spotlight: At 16, while attending Philadelphia’s now-infamous Paul Green School of Rock Music, she appeared in the documentary Rock School, which inspired the 2003 Jack Black flick.

Since then, with Ryan at her side, Diaz has matured into a fine, up-and-coming artist. She caught Paste's attention at this year's SXSW Music Conference with her laidback yet arresting performance at the historic Driskill Hotel’s Victorian Room. We caught up with Diaz and Ryan over sushi in their newly adopted hometown of Nashville, Tenn., last Sunday night. Just back from a productive songwriting retreat in Scotland, and only a week away from their Bonnaroo debut, the two filled us in on how they met, why they left Boston for Nashville, the recording of their debut album Skin and Bone and their new Ten Gun Salute EP, and more.

on to the interview:
http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2009/06/getting-to-know-madi-diaz.html - Paste Magazine


With a staggering voice and a gift for poignant melodies and innovative arrangements, Madi Diaz is folding her roots, pop and indie influences into her own paper airplane. The sound of her new EP, Ten Gun Salute, might surprise those who have heard her debut album, Skin and Bone, as Madi and her cohort, Kyle Ryan, veer off into new sonic territories. Toy pianos plink. Fat basslines oomph. Americana overtones give way to imaginative pop structures. All the while there's that amazing voice weaving through. From the simple and sublime "Heavy Heart," to the instantly memorable "Nothing At All," the evocative storytelling of "Love You Now" to the damn-near-epic title track, Ten Gun Salute finds Diaz soaring. ??Raised in Lancaster, PA, Diaz moved to Philadelphia with her family to attend Paul Green's School of Rock and wound up a featured pupil in the 2005 documentary film about the program, Rock School. That experience led to three years at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she met Ryan, and the two have been collaborators ever since. Since the release of Skin and Bone, Diaz been performing live, including gigs at the Rocky Mountain Folk Festival, WXPN Philadelphia’s XPoNential Music Festival, the Living Room in New York City and The Basement in her newly adopted home of Nashville. In Music City, Madi and Kyle have been co-writing with the likes of Sarah Siskind, Katie Herzig, Garrison Starr and David Mead, and recording demos with Gary Paczosa (Alison Krauss), Marshall Altman (Matt Nathanson) and Jay Joyce (Patty Griffin). Producers Ian Fitchuck and Justin Loucks (Landon Pigg, De Novo Dahl, Griffin House) became fast friends and just as quickly collaborators, the first byproduct of which is Diaz and Ryan's new EP, Ten Gun Salute. - Bonaroo



To celebrate Cherry Lane Music founder Milt Okun's Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony, organizers paired a bit of the old with the new. The publishing mainstay's first signee, Tom Paxton, sang John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane" with Cherry Lane's newest addition, 22-year-old Madi Diaz.

"Madi Diaz is someone I'll be watching carefully . . . She has the goods to go far," Paxton later wrote on his Web site.

Diaz, originally from "BF nowhere" Pennsylvania, made an early fan out of Ty Stiklorius, a member of John Legend's management team. Stiklorius "was at [New York's] the Bitter End for somebody who was playing before me, but came up to me after my set and was like, 'OK, I'm not crazy, I'm just about to sound crazy. I work for John Legend. And now I want to work with you,' " Diaz recalls.

By the time Stiklorius had settled in as her manager, Diaz had already waved goodbye to her scholarship at Boston's Berklee School of Music and taken up co-writing with songsmith Kyle Ryan (who would also go on to be signed to Cherry Lane). Last year she scored a spot at the Newport Folk Festival, while this year she performed at the Rocky Mountain Folk Fest.

Only two months ago, she and Ryan moved to Nashville and into the good company of artists like Landon Pigg, Garrison Starr, Jeremy Lister and David Mead?all songwriters from a similar country- and folk-influenced pop vein. Dixie Chicks/Alison Krauss producer Gary Paczosa has "taken me under his wing," according to Diaz, and she, with her band, have been recording an EP to shop in the coming months. Jay Joyce (Patty Griffin, John Hiatt) and Marshall Altman (Kate Voegele, Matt Nathanson) have also had a hand in producing Diaz.

In the meantime, she and Ryan continue to work five or six days a week writing new material for Cherry Lane and showcasing in New York, Nashville and other major music markets. She will play Next Big Nashville Sept. 12 and will share the stage with Roman Candle and Keegan DeWitt Oct. 11 in Music City. - Billboard


Discography

LP-Skin and Bone, self released, 2005
EP-Ten Gun Salute most recent 2008
NEW LP-in progress. projected release date is mid january 2010.
radio airplay is scattered but present and mostly tracks off the EP. some singles have been placed in TV and Film in shows such as Sons Of Anarchy, WannaBe Diva, Taken, Etc.

Photos

Bio

With a staggering voice and a gift for poignant melodies and innovative arrangements, Madi Diaz is folding her roots, pop and indie influences into her own paper airplane. The sound of her new EP, Ten Gun Salute, might surprise those who have heard her debut album, Skin and Bone, as Madi and her cohort, Kyle Ryan, veer off into new sonic territories. Toy pianos plink. Fat basslines oomph. Americana overtones give way to imaginative pop structures. All the while there's that amazing voice weaving through. From the simple and sublime "Heavy Heart," to the instantly memorable "Nothing At All," the evocative storytelling of "Love You Now" to the damn-near-epic title track, Ten Gun Salute finds Diaz soaring.

Raised in Lancaster, PA, Diaz moved to Philadelphia with her family to attend Paul Green's School of Rock and wound up a featured pupil in the 2005 documentary film about the program, Rock School. That experience led to three years at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she met Ryan, and the two have been collaborators ever since. Since the release of Skin and Bone, Diaz been performing live, including gigs at the Rocky Mountain Folk Festival, WXPN Philadelphia’s XPoNential Music Festival, the Living Room in New York City and The Basement in her newly adopted home of Nashville. In Music City, Madi and Kyle have been co-writing with the likes of Sarah Siskind, Katie Herzig, Garrison Starr and David Mead, and recording demos with Gary Paczosa (Alison Krauss), Marshall Altman (Matt Nathanson) and Jay Joyce (Patty Griffin). Producers Ian Fitchuck and Justin Loucks (Landon Pigg, De Novo Dahl, Griffin House) became fast friends and just as quickly collaborators, the first byproduct of which is Diaz and Ryan's new EP, Ten Gun Salute.

Named one of Paste Magazine’s “Top Ten Buzziest Acts of SXSW 2009”
http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2009/03/pastes-buzziest-bands-of-sxsw-2009.html

Just finished the Ten Out of Tenn Tour
http://www.10outoftenn.com/

Performed at this past year’s Bonnaroo:
http://www.bonnaroo.com/artists/madi-diaz.aspx

Writer of the Week in American Songwriter:
http://www.americansongwriter.com/2009/10/madi-diaz/

Awarded the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame Abe Oleman Scholorship for excellence in songwriting:
BE OLMAN SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS FOR 2009
Each year, under the auspices of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, five Abe Olman Scholarships for Excellence in Songwriting are awarded to promising young lyricists & composers. These writers are selected by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SGA & SHOF on the basis of their participation in songwriter programs sponsored by these organizations. Over $100,000 has been awarded over the past 20 years. These awards are made possible by the family of the late Abe Olman, a major figure in the music publishing community and a co-founder in 1969 (with the late Johnny Mercer & Howard S. Richmond) of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Award recipients are honored every June in a special ceremony that takes place the same week as our annual Awards Dinner.

Performed at the 2008 Songwriter’s Hall of Fame:
http://www.billboard.com/features/madi-diaz-1003850366.story#/features/madi-diaz-1003850366.story

Currently recording full-length with John Alagia at Dave Matthews studio in Virginia, due out in early 2010.