Tag Archives: Shane Nicholson

Mia Dyson – Idyllwild

Like the watercolours that adorn the cover-art for her new album, ‘Idyllwild’, Mia Dyson is smooth and free flowing. Whilst Cairns was at the height of the G20, it was a refreshing breath of fresh air speaking to her from the US on cool night, where she was currently touring.

Mia Dyson has always had a creative environment around her, daughter of guitar craftsman and blues guitarist, Jim Dyson – music and art were always around within the home. Mia, originally hailing from the surfing town of Torquay in Victoria, broke through into the blues and roots with the album ‘Cold Water’.

“When I first started out I couldn’t get a record deal, it just didn’t happen. It just ended up that I had to work without it and it worked, and it worked better.  If I’d signed on with a major label, my creative control would have been lost.”  Mia has released all of her material, bar the US only release ‘You and Me’ EP, on MGM distribution. “I have the freedom to create music – when and what.  Whilst the independents don’t have the buying power that the majors have, the internet does help.”

Mia is also a big believer in the Pledge music concept – where fans can nominate to pay for certain amount which in return not only funds the recording of a record, but gives fans a selected experience in return. “It gives me engagement with my supporters and cuts out the middle man.  It’s gratifying and people can be on board and give me feedback.  I love meeting people who are affected by my music.” One of the rewards that Mia offers is an acoustic house party in your own lounge room,  I asked Mia how she felt about performing so up front with people.  “I’ve done it a lot now and at first it was really daunting.  I can’t believe the support and to have them so open it’s great.  I normally get a few pizzas and give them a few songs.  It’s really intimate and the fans are really grateful”.

Whilst Mia has a huge list of success’s, her greatest challenges still confront her. I asked Mia about the song ‘Any 3 chords’, off of her new album Idyllwild, and why she still doubts herself, “Every aspect of what I do. I have fear of judgement.  Every time I write a song, its will I write another?  It degrades my confidence, and it never goes.  There is never a sense of I got this.  I need to be open and variable.”

Erin ‘Syd’ Sidney and Patrick Cupples have produced the last 2 Mia Dyson albums – ‘The Moment’ and her latest release ‘Idyllwild’. Both Syd and Cupples also feature as musicians and mixing, creative a very in-house production.  “The great thing is that we know each other well.  The first time we were working together, the moment we started, I knew we had an incredible band.  We work together and experiment and explore.  The more I work with them the more I trust them, and they encourage me to push the boundaries.  For example, I’ve always used the same guitar and amps, and they encouraged me to a new set, it helps me to grow as a musician, and I’ve developed more in the last 3 years”.

Watercolours are the style of the artwork for Mia’s new album, a twist from the stark images used from ‘This moment. ‘Idyllwild’ is also released on vinyl as well as a limited edition picture disc version. Why the release on vinyl? “Digital product devalued music with free download ability, and I believe the shift back to vinyl is because it’s a tangible and valuable piece of artwork.  It’s a conscious decision to put the needle into the groove and to listen to that one piece of music, compared to having a song turn up on shuffle digitally.  It’s a natural balancing effect.  People do want both now.”

Dyson was born to play. She has toured extensively since the release of ‘Cold Water’ back in 2003.  Not only has she toured both nationally but also globally, with the US her second base.  Touring as opening acts such as Stevie Nicks, Chris Isaak, Eric Clapton, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, the list is endless, but of all the acts she has worked with and toured with, it’s Bonnie Raitt that is her ultimate.  “Bonnie Raitt was my role model as a kid, and to open in Oklahoma to her home crowd was just it.  My dad used to take me to see her and played her music to me as a child, and here I am opening for her”

Touring the US is a challenge to Dyson, “It’s so vast to explore. I love its music, and it’s a challenge musically to play solo.  If the fans know the songs that’s great.  The US has a longer musical history than Australia; therefore some of the audiences are more musically educated than some of the Australian crowds”.

When Mia Dyson was first slated to play at Tanks, Cyclone Ita changed her plans and the show had to be cancelled due to bad weather. Now that the weather is kinder she returns to Cairns to showcase her work. “The set will contain new songs from ‘Idyllwild’, and some older material mixed in.  My band is incredible, and you put it all together and it should be a great show”.

Cherie Kitto

Mia Dyson plays the Tanks Arts Centre along with Shane Nicholson on Saturday the 18th October. Tickets available through Ticketlink

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