April Diamond is a Pop-Dance recording artist from Los Angeles, Ca. Her soon-to-be-released album “Diamonds,” on the Del Oro Music Label, includes her upcoming single “Lose Control,” which has been finding success in clubs across the USA. An ambitious video, which can be viewed on Youtube, was also made for “Lose Control”, while the song itself was specially written for April by Producer and songwriter David Longoria. Here we have an in-depth interview with April Diamond, on her career, thoughts and music.
1. How long have you been doing what you’re doing and how did you get started in the first place?
April Diamond: Well I’m a big fan of music myself. Since I can remember I have been singing everywhere I could. As a little girl it started in church, where I sang my first solo when I was 9.
2. Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?
April Diamond: Gospel music was first. My dad played the guitar and he use to pull out Andre Crouch and Aretha Franklin songs and have me sing them while my grandma played the piano with us. They noticed my singing voice and that I could sing harmony as well. My mom played a Donna Summer record when I was little and that was big motivation for me to be a singer. I heard Donna sing and I thought, “Who is that?? I want to sing like her!” From there I listened and sang along to Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. I love Jill Scott and Lauren Hill from back in the day too. There are more but these are probably the most influential in my singing career.
3. Today, who do you consider the most influential or most interesting musical artist(s) in your genre (or any other genre for that matter) and why?
April Diamond: First, Lady Gaga. For her amazing voice and when you watch my video you’ll see the theatrical influence. Jennifer Lopez who has great style and presence, she really knows how to command the crowd and she looks amazing in her videos! Beyonce for the same reason, style and a powerful performance! Pink for her Gospel/rock sounding voice and I love how she can really tell a story in her songs.
4. Describe the first piece of musical equipment or item, to help pursue your career, that you actually remember purchasing with your own money.
April Diamond: Well let’s see, what came first, the keyboard or the mic? I’d have to say the keyboard. When I was in college I’d rehearse late into the evening and the practice rooms were closed so I did it in my dorm on a little Roland keyboard. It was a good one but was used and had its day for sure. The Shure 57 mic I bought I used for myself and for other singers who I started voice coaching with.
5. I understand you play the piano. What particularly drew you towards the keyboard as your preferred instrument, or was this an imposition from a ‘higher force’?
April Diamond: Yes I feel God put me on this path to sing and play the piano definitely. I listened to both my grandma and my grandpa play when I was very young and I always loved the idea of playing and singing. It took some time to put both together but when I finally did I was a happy girl! I found my nitch.
6. Performing live before an audience or creative studio work, which do you prefer and why?
April Diamond: Live, no question. That is the place April Diamond comes alive, on stage! Studio work is always fun and I do quite a bit but there is nothing that can replace a live audience. When I’m singing live it’s my challenge to bring that audience to life and inspire with a strong performance. That’s the goal and I absolutely love it!
7. How did your meeting and eventual collaboration with Producer David Longoria come about?
April Diamond: Well it seems all musical beginnings for April Diamond the singer seem to start in church. Kind of a typical Sunday performance of Amazing Grace and David was there to hear it with a mutual friend. From there we communicated and a few weeks later we started working in the studio, both on my songs, and singing backup vocals for other artists. David and I work well together I think.
8. Tell us something about the music and recording of your single “Lose Control”?
April Diamond: Lose Control when we first recorded it had a darker club sound. We both worked on it and David actually came up with this idea to take it to an interesting theatrical type dance song. When I came to the studio to hear this new sound he said there would be an accordion in it. I said a what?? But when I heard it I loved it! It’s sounded very catchy, very fun to listen to and I thought we were just a little crazy for liking it. But it’s taking the clubs across the country by storm! People seem to like it right away.
9. How did the campaign “30 Days Of April” come about? Did it turn out as you expected, and moreover is it something you will be willing to carry out again?
April Diamond: Well that came about because the release of Lose Control was ready to go and my name happens to be April and David said hey, the month of April is coming in a couple weeks let’s make a little reality show with episodes of you performing, teaching people to sing, getting my groove back, riding a horse etc… One each day in the month of April! Ok! It has been super fun and a crazy schedule to make it happen every day but we did it! I think it turned out even better than we thought! We might continue it except the head of our editing team Robert Eibach would probably tell me let’s take a break. He’s been editing around the clock for a month. Thanks Robert!
10. If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you day after day to stay in this tough business. Is it joy, anger, desire, passion, hysteria or pride etc., and why?
April Diamond: I’d say passion. To me it’s a powerful force in music. When I have a passion for something I will take that thing all the way, in this case it’s the music. Passion of anything moves people. I think passion is the #1 emotion I go to for both my recordings and live performances.
11. Which ingredient do you think is the most fundamental, in making April Diamond and her music unique or special?
April Diamond: She is a fan of the music. I don’t just do this for a paycheck, I do it because I love music and I see how influential and even therapeutic it can be. People love music and are moved by it and inspired. I want to be a part of that. I’m a recording artist and a singer but I myself am a fan, a fan of the music, most all music.
12. What aspect of being an independent (indie label) artist and the music making process encourages you the most, and which aspect discourages you most?
April Diamond: The encouragement comes from a great group of people at my label, Del Oro Music. Artists and producers all work together to make each artist succeed and be as great as they can be. I would not be this far without all of their hard work too. And even more than that I have to say I’ve not seen a label function they way Del Oro Music functions. Where great artists are brought up with strong artist development. That’s very important. The more obvious downside to the music business is how they sign many artists to a deal and don’t promote them or take the time to develop them into the artists and performers they can be. I see a lot of singers who get one song and they are gone. I also see big artists who continue to get bigger and the labels don’t encourage new talent. But it is out there.
13. How involved are you in any of the songwriting, recording, producing, and marketing processes involved in your music.
April Diamond: I’m involved in all of it actually. David is the lead song writer for most of the songs on this Album but I did collaborate on some too. The marketing and producing of it I’m closely involved as well. We listen and see what we like, don’t like and want to change, add etc… It’s a great system we have I think. The social marketing I’m directly involved as well. I talk to my fans on twitter, facebook and instagram as well. It’s really me!
14. The best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far, and one you didn’t, but now know for sure that you should have?
April Diamond: Best advice, practice, practice and practice more. When you get behind that mic I promise you it will be more work than you think, both in the studio and on stage. What you practice will be times 10 behind the mic! I did follow that. Believe 100% in yourself if that’s what you feel you want to do because others behind you will as well. I think I had times of doubt that held me back sometimes but I pushed through it. People told me to believe in myself and I think at one point I was halfway about it. There are always people around to tell you why you are not gonna make it and why you are just wasting your time. Ignore that, go with what you know in your heart to be true.
15. At this point in your career, which is the one factor you desire most, and feel will undeniably benefit your future (for example increased music distribution, better quality production, more media exposure, bigger live gigs etc.)?
April Diamond: Well the production quality of April Diamond is great, I love what my team has done!! Media exposure and live gigs are what we are on now! Yes more of that is better and it’s all happening now! The release of the video was to an overwhelming response! It hasn’t quite been a week and we’re over 300,000 views and climbing! What I’ve waited and practiced and prayed for. We’re booking live shows now and getting ready to tour. I am grateful.
16. Do you consider Internet and all the new technology, as fundamental to your music, or music in general, or do you think it has only produced a mass of mediocre ‘copy and paste’ artists, who flood the web, making it difficult for real talent to emerge?
April Diamond: People know what is good when they see/hear it. I trust music lovers out there to know what is truly good stuff because I feel the same way. New technology to drive music is a good thing; it makes it more accessible to be a performer. Recording artists like me I think need to embrace it and let it work for them as it’s working so well for me!
17. What do you think is the biggest barrier you have to face and overcome as an indie (or indie label) artist, in your quest to achieve your goals and attain serious commercial success?
April Diamond: To get that big platform of media attention definitely. I’d like the majority of the music listening public to get a chance to hear this fun, new, unique sound of my single LOSE CONTROL. But, I have to say that my label is conquering that right now! The response has been fantastic so far.
18. Is going Platinum or winning a Grammy important you? If you were forced to settle for only one choice, which of the two would you go for and why?
April Diamond: That’s a hard one because I’m looking forward to both but I think I’d choose a Grammy. In addition to being a singer I’m also a voice coach. So for singers to see that Grammy sitting in my office would probably inspire the next generation of great recording artists! You bet they would really practice!! They would see that if you work hard you can get there.
19. I understand the project for the video of “Lose Control” was quite an important one; Tell us something about the making of the video?
April Diamond: It’s very important because this single has really taken off so the video needed to represent the song in the fun unique style that it is. The video was so much fun! A lot of work but super fun! The collaboration of putting together so many elements to make it look the way it does was big. The phrase, “It takes a village” would probably describe how it was done. The purple top hat found at a party store and brought to life by Latisha the stylist who also created the concept of the mermaid, cupid, with me as a silhouette in sepia tone fading into color. The cast, choreography, the unicyclist (thanks cody!) all of it, just amazing.
20. I read somewhere you also have a new album coming out soon. Will the album also be centered on dance music? And could you give us an anticipation of what to expect from the album and April Diamond in the near future.
April Diamond: Yes this summer the Album will be available!! You will hear more dance pop music in different varieties and sounds. Some pop with Gospel and some jazzy stuff too. Then me singing and playing the piano will be in there. I think there is something for everyone in it to enjoy! After lots of hard work here it comes! Summer 2013!