For her fourth studio album, Mia Dyson turned to those that have supported her from the very beginning — her fans. In just the first week of an eight-week online pledge campaign, Dyson reached her target goal, which has funded the production, promotion and touring costs for her newly released album, The Moment. Pearl Davies spoke to Dyson about the kindness of strangers.
“I’ve been away from Australia for a while now and haven’t released an album in a few years so I didn’t really know if people were still listening, paying attention or even interested in hearing the next record. It was so overwhelming and it changed my whole attitude - knowing that I can make a career with just people wanting to listen to my music. I think we’ve created something beautiful and compelling and I’m so excited to share these new songs.”
Dyson thanks changes in the music industry for increased freedom and independence for artists. As a young musician, she waited for a label to come along and grab her by the hand. But as time went by so did all the record deals. “When artists first start out, we have a fantasy of having someone discover us. It’s great now, knowing you can have a career without needing to have a label. You’re not needing to waste your energy on that because you are the label.”
Dyson prefers to connect with her audience live. “It’s just so much more direct. I’ll meet people at shows and get them to sign up to my mailing list and keep them involved. ”With Dyson’s pledge campaign a definite success, her supporters are also rallying behind a not for profit organisation, My Sisters Inc, which provides incarcerated survivors of family violence with education, empowerment and support. Hearing the stories of inmates after performances in Melbourne’s women’s prisons, Dyson felt compelled to get involved. “I don’t actually have a personal connection with the charity but after hearing some of the stories these women had to tell, I really wanted to help.”
Having left Australia, in 2009, to follow a lifelong dream to play music in the US, Dyson supported big names such as Stevie Nicks, Chris Isaak and Eric Clapton. After years of touring consistently and playing festivals across the US, she moved to LA to work with Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics.
Personal self-discovery is a major theme in her latest album. “After the last record I kind of lost my motivation to write. I didn’t know how to make it work, I didn’t want to put pressure on myself but I didn’t want to come home until I had a record.” Taking time out for song writing was the key.“ Within this time away I’ve really grown up. I’m feeling energised and inspired,” says Dyson.‘
When the Moment Comes’ is Dyson’s first single release from The Moment, but the last to be written for this record. “It was just one of those things where I wasn’t really sure where the song was headed and how I wanted it to be and it actually evolved in the studio and became the most acceptable track. I mean I had a heap of other songs in mind that I thought would be good as the first released single [and], in fact, I wasn’t even sure I liked it until we finished it, and then I was in love with it. It was fun to watch it evolve - to be a song that I wasn’t too sure about [and] then something I felt really good about.”
Now that The Moment has come for Dyson, she will be heading home and touring her album nationally while continuing to write new material. Described as channeling one of the vocal greats Lucinda Williams, Dyson is feeling encouraged, supported and energised. “I feel like I’m at the very beginning, I’ve had such a long time off, trying to make my career work out in the States and meeting everyone here, I’m just so excited to becoming back.”
Mia performs at Lizotte’s, Lambton, on Friday September 14, and Lizotte’s, Kincumber, on Saturday October 6.