Sometimes the road makes an unexpected turn, and you just have to follow it and see where it goes.
When Dia Frampton (of indie-rock sibling duo Meg & Dia) became a contestant on NBC’s talent show The Voice last year, she wasn’t actually thinking to become a solo artist. In fact, according to Dia, she auditioned for the show in hope of bringing some publicity to her band’s new record Cocoon. Since Warner Brothers had dropped the band, making them once again “indie,” they were simply trying to get the word out about their record any way they could.
Dia had no idea she’d go so far in the competition. In fact, she wound up not only surviving the blind auditions, but going all the way to the finals under “Team Blake” and placing as Season One’s runner-up. America got a taste for the unique voice that won over us Meg & Dia fans years ago, resulting in a new record deal for Dia, a solo record Red (released Dec. 2011), and an opening slot on tour with her mentor, Blake Shelton.
Red, in my opinion, is a hidden treasure; I’m really surprised it hasn’t charted higher than it has, and it seems most of the critics agree. Sure, it’s more pop-oriented than Meg & Dia, but the songs are still Dia’s, and it’s still her amazing, distinctive voice driving them. High points on the record include the album’s first single “The Broken Ones,” which is both catchy and inspiring, and the moving duet “I Will” with Blake Shelton. The weak spots? Yes, the record has those, too—particularly the appearance of Kid Cudi on the opening track “Don’t Kick the Chair.” It’s a great song; I just didn’t think the rap fit in all that well with everything else.
For me, the strongest thing about the record itself is the lyrics; they are deep, thoughtful, insightful, and inspiring. As a singer/songwriter, Dia seems to enjoy encouraging and inspiring people, and that doesn’t always seem to fly in the indie market. Lyrics like “I can’t help it / I love the broken ones / The ones who need the most patching up / The ones who never been loved” don’t necessarily fit the mold of the angst-ridden indie artist, but Dia makes it work somehow. You believe her.
And for Meg & Dia fans, not to worry—as far as we can tell, they’re still a band. Meg, in fact, is playing guitar for Dia as she tours the new record. Some indie die-hards might accuse Dia of selling out, but the fact is, she just followed the road where it took her. And I, for one, really like where this road is going.