"I think I've built a little house on the outskirts of pop, but I would say my land stretches beyond the border."



New Music: Daniella Mason Explores Her Psyche With "Mental State"

Nashville-based musician Daniella Mason is redefining the landscape of pop music. Pushing up against the boundaries of genre, Daniella’s sound is a sonic blend that straddles the line of head-burrowing pop melodies and a free-wheeling style of production. Having recently worked through a self-reflective creative process, the singer-songwriter is debuting her EP, Mental State, the second of four in a series called “State of Mine,” which aims to explore the difficult aspects of living which we typically prefer to suppress or ignore. The four-track record is a follow-up to her Emotional State EP, which she released late last year.

Listen below to Mental State for an exploration of the Daniella’s psyche through her own lens, and tuned in to the way she translates some of darkest of thoughts into the greatest of alt-pop tracks. We also sat down with Daniella to pick her brain about it truly means to her to harness vulnerability, and the process of self-care. Read on to get a glimpse into her inspired, and introspective, creative mind.

How would you describe your sound? How do you, if at all, categorize your music using traditional genres? 

I think I’ve built a little house on the outskirts of pop, but I would say my land stretches beyond the border. How does that sound? Haha. Using traditional terms, I would describe my music as alternative pop. Melodically, I tend to live in that pop space, but when it comes to production and the stories I tell, I like to give myself permission go outside the box a bit and more into the vast indie/alternative landscape.

What would you say influenced the writing of these four songs most? Can you tell me about your “Mental State” while creatively conceiving this project?

This whole project is very autobiographical and pretty directly mirrors my journey of self-realization. It all started with opening myself up to my emotional life, which was the story I told on my Emotional State EP— the first installment. Mental State was the next step on my path and therefore had to be the next record. My embrace of my emotional life lead me to the hidden and dark places in my mind. Over time, through investigation and the rebuilding, I got to know my brain and its power to dictate my circumstances. I learned that I don’t have to spiral; I don’t have to overthink everything; I don’t have to give in to negativity— my mind is a powerful tool and I just needed to get to know it better. The songs spell out each step along the way.  “Deepest of Wells” tells the story of the one who made me brave enough to start this journey; “Girl in the Box” details a frequently occurring perception wrestling match (How does the world see me? How do I see myself? Do those perceptions line up?); “Get Me Out of My Head” is me desperately needing a break from all of this; and “What Goes Down Must Come Up” acts as an epilogue with the hindsight realization of what it was like to tear it all down and rebuild from scratch.

What do you hope audiences take away from your music? Is there a particular message or idea that connects these four songs?

I hope people feel inspired to be more vulnerable and honest with themselves and their community and to self-evaluate and rebuild where necessary. The last song on the EP, “What Goes Down Must Come Up,” really summarizes the whole thing— taking our walls down brick by brick and building something healthier on top of it all. Growth is honestly a series of choices. It rarely just happens to us by accident. Society has taught us to be tight lipped and to hide behind facades, but it’s not sustainable if we want to build a better world. Growing in vulnerability means growing in every other area. It turns us into kinder, more aware, more compassionate people. That’s the world I want to help create!

Along with playing Bonnaroo, what are some other exciting projects that you have in the works for 2019?

I have two music videos coming out for Mental State, and then later this year, we’ll move on to “Physical State” and lastly, “Spiritual State.” The journey continues!

Images courtesy of Bree Marie Fish

Stay tuned to Milk for more premieres from artists we love.

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