On January 29th, Australian artist Dianna Corcoran released her first album to an American audience. The album, In America, is a lesson in storytelling in which Corcoran dives deep into the experiences of her life to tell heartfelt, emotional, and witty stories about love, loss, and exploration. It was a first in many ways for Corcoran, who has developed a dedicated fanbase in her home country, in that she recorded and wrote the entire album here in America with the intention of allow this to be her debut to the country music fans here. Her lead single, God Did Good, is a sweet song about being thankful for the creation of the loved one that seems to be made for you. The video for her single recently took the No. 1 spot on Taste of Country’s Top 10 Video countdown.
She’s written and performed across the globe, including Stockholm, London, Germany, Australia, and finally here in the U.S. She’s no stranger to big audiences and the power that music possesses over them. She uses her unbelievable songwriting skills to weave intricate stories and paint a picture that is unique to her life and the journey she’s been on. I was lucky enough to sit down with her to talk about In America and get to know this upbeat, Australian artist.
Who have been your biggest influences musically?
That’s such a common question and everyone seems to be able to answer it except for me. The reason it’s hard is because I never really had one favorite artist. I’m more in love with the music, so as a result, I would love songs from all different artists. So my influences come from everyone from Olivia Newton John to the Corrs, to Shania Twain, Jodee Messina, Tim McGraw. Really a mixed bag of pop and country artists that have influenced my sound. I feel like I naturally gravitated towards country because that’s who I am. My mom used to listen to all kinds of older artists like The Beatles, and I never gravitated towards that, I would always relate more to the country song that came on the radio. I think it just really is who I am.
What was your first experience in Nashville like?
I first came to Nashville in 2004 and it was funded by our collection society in Australia, APRA (like BMI/ASCAP here). They chose me to as the most promising songwriter out of Australia for the year and paid for me to go. I spent two months in Nashville and just walked around with my mouth open. I was so inspired. I had no idea there was that much talent in the world. I remember coming back to Australia and being a better artist. When you’re here, it drives you to be a little better, play better, write better. Every time I would visit Nashville after that, that would always be the case, just a months work of pure inspiration driven off of two weeks in Nashville. It’s a music city and it’s a magical city.
When it comes to writing songs, what are some of the things that inspiring to you?
I’m a big fan of no rules. You should let a song write itself. I do struggle co-writing when people have those rules. If it sounds right, and it sounds beautiful, that’s how it’s supposed to be. If I’m writing for myself, it has to be authentic, I don’t tell stories that aren’t true. I write songs for other people, as well as some pop music, and when it comes to those it can go anywhere. But when it’s for myself, it will generally be a true story and 100% authentic. I have to stick to that.
What was the inspiration behind God Did Good and the idea behind the video?
My now husband and I were on Skype one night, and he’s German, so his English is a little bit clumsy. He was trying to tell me that God had done good when he made me, just to compliment me and tell me that I’m beautiful. He was being really lovely, and I said, “Are you trying to tell me that God did good?” and he said, “YES! That’s what I’m trying to say.” I hung up almost immediately and brought that idea to Kristian Bush and Jeff Cohen when we were writing in Atlanta. It was 11 at night and I told them we had another song to write.
We shot the video in Nashville. I was trying to figure it out and I’m picturing – we put this perfect person together in our heads – and sometimes God has other plans. You go, “Oh my Gosh, God has already done a great job, you’re perfect.” So I thought about doing these cardboard cutouts of a guy. In the video I’m putting this guy together, with his shirt, his head, his hair color… and over on the split screen he’s putting his perfect woman together. At the end we figure out that God has already done the job and it’s perfect. And I made the cardboard cutouts myself, it was so fun!
Your album, In America, is very personal. What are some of the themes or inspirations on this album?
It was just all real life. I went through some crazy ups and downs in the last few years. I lost my dad, I moved to America, and I had a huge break-up before I started writing this and met my husband. All of those things are tightly wound around all the songs. There really is a story and a journey within my album. When I’m talking about something negative I try to make it quirky, so in Thank You For Cheating on Me, it’s a true story but I really am thanking him for that. It’s just funny. The biggest inspiration was just 100% real life.
What do you have planned for 2016?
I’m actually camping my way around America. I’m in a micro car and I’m moving across the country. When I started my radio tour, I wanted to meet everyone at every station across the country. I think they thought I was crazy and I don’t think they believed me, but 40,000 miles later, we’re still in the middle of it. So I’ll be continuing my journey. I drive around, pitch my tent in the middle of nowhere or sometimes get a motel in the winter. I’m going to say G’Day to everyone and share my music with America!
Thanks so much to the amazing Dianna Corcoran for sitting down with me. Be sure to pick-up In America on iTunes now!