Well, as kids you all play in the sand pit together and at times it can get pretty rough in there – big kids, little kids, bullies and sand fights are all just part of the norm and you either toughen up or get out! However, over time you find that there are those special little children who just plug away each day through the chaos because quite simply, they love it – building up those sand castles regardless of pitfalls and potential devastation.
Dianna Corcoran, ‘Pollyanna’, ‘Dinky-Di’, ‘Corky’ – whatever name you know her by, is one of those tough, resilient little kids. Solely focussed and driven by the pure love of music.
Surviving one of the toughest most turbulent years of her life with the loss of her father, a relocation to Nashville and having to prove herself to some of the biggest names in the biz, and then amongst all that, falling in love and subsequent engagement to Mr Benjamin Bailer of Germany. As Dianna says, “It felt like everything in my world was shoved into a blender and switched on to 10!”
Love and Therapy is the aptly named new album from our Parkes born 2008 Golden Guitar Female Artist of the Year. It is her fourth album, but first from her recent world-wide signing to Global Records and first since her move to the US. “The decision to move to Nashville was a hard one,” says Dianna, “but I love music! I am obsessed with music!! And it made sense to find myself in a place where everything music wise is so convenient and in abundance – and being here allows me to fulfil that obsession.”
After years of honing her sandcastle street-fighting skills in tough Aussie playgrounds, Dianna took that experience and attitude into the seasoned Tennessee studios where her focus, ability and passion combined with her easy going charm and humour, disarmed and placed her alongside some of the crème de la crème of Nashville songwriters, musicians and engineers.
When you know exactly what you want, then you can clearly shoot for it, and the unapologetic focus of this album is to go big! From the very ‘get go’ the outstanding production of Love & Therapy has the listener searching the credits and liner notes to see which big name producer worked their magic on it – amazingly, you read Dianna Corcoran’s name again. To lay claim to the tags songwriter/artist/producer on your first global release, particularly in a town like Nashville, is almost unheard of and Dianna knows it.
“I am very lucky to be surrounded by a team of people who really believe in me, and allow me to be myself – the control freak I am!” she says with a laugh. “In regards to this album, I just recorded the songs I really liked and let the songs dictate the production.”
Luck, self-belief or years of hard work and persistence – the proof is in this pudding and the opening track ‘God Did Good’ written with Jeff Cohen and Kristian Bush (Sugarland) and inspired by a broken English compliment from her fiancé to her, punches the listener straight in the nose and sets the bar, firmly stating that this is a very serious and professional album. The maturity, balance and scope of the production is on par with what we have come to expect from the international A-list big names, yet alongside these massive boom-bastic tracks are the delicate, brave and unapologetic songs that come straight from the heart.
None more so than the track ‘A Better Me’ written with Jeremy Spillman, whose production credits read: ‘Recorded on an iPhone on the back veranda’.
“I wanted the audience to feel and hear what a raw song sounds like before the money comes in and glosses everything over.” says Dianna, “This song came straight from a broken heart, that I was long overdue to do, in order to build me into a better person.”
“Everything I write is real.” Dianna says, “There is not a song on this album that is not deeply personal to me” The first single is the very catchy ‘Therapy’ written with Trey Bruce, and expresses the madness of finding herself a long way from family and friends as her world spiralled in turmoil.
“Nashville is a circus, as is the music business in general.” Corcoran says, “I was going through a very, very tough time but instead of getting medication or taking Valium, which was a very real option, I decided to dig deep and make music my happy drug.”
Love & Therapy features eleven songs as finely wrought as we have come to expect from Dianna, co-written with some of the industry’s biggest hit makers. ‘Not Ready to Lose’ is another fantastic track written and performed with powerhouse writer Gary Burr who has worked with everyone from Kelly Clarkson, Leanne Rhymes, Randy Travis, Reba McIntyre, Faith Hill and Kenny Rodgers-with whom he bears an uncanny resemblance of vocal tone.
‘Hold On Lover’ written with Jeff Cohen and Kristian Bush showcases a great song originally written for a movie soundtrack, that Dianna describes as, “a very sexy song – and I love that it is, for it was written by a group of people who were all very single at the time and really feeling it.”
Love lost and love found flows throughout each song on the album and the overall vibe leaves the listener feeling quite empowered and optimistic. A personal favourite is the heartbreakingly beautiful ‘The Other Side Of Letting Go’ written with Blake Bollinger and perfectly encapsulating the moment it was written. It features nothing more than a lonely piano superbly played, and the natural strength and fragility of Dianna’s voice.
‘Feel’s Like Hollywood’, ‘Ghost On the Passenger Side’, ‘Blame Carolina’ and the super sweet ‘Sugar’ leaves the listener on a buzzing high and wondering if there was a weak link in there somewhere and I must have missed it.
Sincerely, this is an incredible album filled with so much quality, variety, twists, turns and delights. None more so than the final bonus track ‘Mountain Boy’ – Holy Moly hold on to your hats with this one! Completely out of the box and enough said – but it had my children going berserk and pressing repeat over and over again.
Love and Therapy showcases a whole new depth of skill and focus from Dianna whilst cementing her resolve to take her music as far as the world will allow. This is the BIG sand pit that Dianna is now playing in and her songs are in keeping – tailored to cross borders and expand horizons.
Currently dividing her time in thirds between Europe, the US or Australia, Dianna Corcoran can be dubbed a global citizen and this is our gain as she makes a great ambassador for Australia. Her natural charm, wit and talent sells us all so well abroad, and as Dianna says “You will not come across anyone who is more in love with their country! I am so proud of us and we have more talent than you can poke a stick at!”
“This is tough territory for a girl”, Corcoran says, ‘Nashville is run by men and it is very male dominated, however making music has always been tough and I grew up with boys, so I never really noticed it.” Dianna continues. “The women in this town who do break through are strong and smart and I want to make music – I want to write music -I want to produce music – I want to do what I love and this is what drives me!”
Make no mistake – Dianna Corcoran, ‘Pollyanna’, ‘Corky’, ‘Dinky Di’ is still the girl next door, but she has taken enough hits and survived enough scrapes to know that she is tough enough, clever enough and brave enough to back herself in taking on the world. All we have to do here in Oz is believe in her right back!
Dianna is touring throughout Australia in August and September. www.diannacorcoran.com