Who says you can’t have it all? Rock singer Diamante self-released her album titled American Dream on May 7th and one week later she graduated from college with a Business degree. With her signature blue hair and awe-inspiring vocal range, Diamante is a force to reckon with and her star is rising fast.
American Dream has a double meaning in the title according to Diamante. “This is my first album being released as an independent artist with no label or A & R department. Just me and my two producers, Howard Benson and Neil Sanderson. This album took roughly two years as far as songwriting, but personally, I think that it’s the best collection of songs that I’ve written so far. These songs are raw and honest and vulnerable. I would say that the album is almost like a chronologic autobiography of the past two to three years of my life.” Diamante tells us about the level of creative freedom she felt when writing and recording American Dream. Not having to send every song to the label and wait for their approval or criticism. Not having to wonder which songs would make the cut and who they would want me to be or collaborate with. She expressed how life-changing it was just to be able to do things exactly how she wanted and that definitely shines through in this album.
Reflecting on the start of her career Diamante opens up about how she has grown personally and as a songwriter since she began her journey. “From a songwriting perspective, I think a lot of the growth came from just doing it again and again. When I wrote for my first album Coming In Hot I did around 200 writing sessions with all different people, all strangers I had never met before. So it was a lot of experimenting and trial and error. I wrote more bad songs than good songs during that process, but I learned, and I picked up tricks along the way from all these different co-writers. This time around with American Dream I didn’t write with as many people. I kept it to a closer circle and just decided to write with the people that I had already established relationships with and really liked writing with because it’s hard to go to a very vulnerable place when you need to write a song and be honest and talk about your insecurities and your fears with strangers. It’s a lot harder to do that. So this time around, I felt a lot more open and a lot more willing to go there because I felt more comfortable with the people I was writing with.”
Diamante’s openness and willingness to let her fans into her darkest moments were transparent with the first single from her new album titled Ghost Myself. Diamante goes on to describe that the inspiration for this song came from having moments in time where she didn’t love herself. “We all have those moments where we love ourselves and then we have those moments where we don’t. We begin to question everything in our lives and there are always parts of ourselves we have trouble accepting. When I was writing this song I was feeling such a big sense of isolation and I had kept it bottled inside for so long. Ghost Myself was a very liberating and extremely healing song for me to write. It helped me come to terms with the realization that it’s okay not to love yourself 100% of the time. That it’s normal to not be okay sometimes. I know a lot of people feel that way and I hope this song can inspire others as it inspired me.” Social media has only fueled the perfection in which we feel we all need to be or look. This life of smoke and mirrors that makes it harder and harder to be true to yourself. The more followers a person has online, the more they are susceptible to the judgement of others. Diamante started her career as a teen and society as well as the music industry has these standards of who an artist should be. Staying true to yourself is harder than it ever was, but she has never faltered or changed for anyone. “There’s always these people that try to bring me down but you’ve always stayed true to yourself.
“It wasn’t always easy especially at the beginning. You are so impressionable, especially at a young age and you have a team of people who are telling you to sing a certain way or dress a certain way or act a certain way. I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve been put in a pink dress for a photoshoot and that’s completely not me. I had to play the game in the beginning but I’ve never lost sight of who I am and the music that I do want to make. I’ve always been a very grounded person and I always try to reflect on everything. I think staying true to the music and staying true to what I want to write about and what I want to talk about has made it so that people can connect with the music I put out and it makes it all the more believable and authentic. So even though it was bumpy along the way, holding onto that was very important for me the entire time.”
Diamante’s signature blue hair is an extension of her individuality and oddly enough wasn’t something she planned and when she broke out as an artist she was blonde. “I went through so many phases with my hair. I dyed it red in high school then had my platinum blonde phase. I was kind of bored with my hair and decided I needed a drastic change. I didn’t ask anyone or tell the label. I just went to my hairdresser on an impulse and asked what colors she had and between purple and electric blue I chose electric blue,” Diamante recalls. “I picked the blue because I think it’s always been one of my favorite colors ever since I was little. My bathroom and my room were blue, were always painted blue.”
Diamante is of Italian and Spanish descent and has always wanted to do a song in Italian. In fact she is fluent in both languages. “I grew up hearing Italian 24/7 because my dad refused to speak English. He was always speaking to me and my siblings in Italian 24/7, but for some weird reason we always responded in English so in my household there was just this mix of languages. We’d switch from Spanish to English and he would talk in Italian so I can understand Italian completely. If someone’s speaking to me, I know exactly what they’re saying. I just can’t speak Italian myself because I never did it. I mean, I’m sure if I tried and went to Italy and lived there for a month or two, I would pick it up because I do speak Spanish and it’s so similar. It was always just like [an] intertwined language party in my household,” she laughs.
Diamante’s road to success is an interesting one. She was set to record vocals for a duet with Tommy Vext who was frontman for Bad Wolves at the time. She was attending physical classes in Redlands, California. “I was sitting in class when I got the call that they needed me in the studio that day to record the vocals and the video because it was the only day that it could be done for whatever reason. I told them I was in the middle of class but I took off without explanation and headed to the studio. I knew I couldn’t explain to the teacher what was going on as it’s not a common thing for a student to have to go record vocals for something so I just got up and I, I got in my car and I raced down all the way back to LA and made it in time. I explained to my teacher after the fact like, sorry I took off but I had no choice. The funny thing is the day that I went to go record the vocals and the video with Tommy it was the first day that I actually even met him and I hadn’t met the rest of the band yet at all. So a few months after that song came out, the idea was for me to go out on tour with them and sing that one song with them. That’s when I first really met the band and I went on tour with them for like three months just to sing Hear Me Now which was my first time experiencing playing arenas or amphitheaters, up until that point I had only played club shows. I look back on that now and I think it was a cool almost like a bootcamp way for me to get a feel for what touring arenas and amphitheaters would be like. I was on these tours and I made all these relationships with people and connections and I got a feel for what it was like to play on those stages.” Tommy Vext isn’t the only artist Diamante has collaborated with vocally. On American Dream, she does a heavy cover of the Goo Goo Dolls hit Iris with Benjamin Burnley, lead singer and founder of the hard rock band Breaking Benjamin whom she met on tour. “Iris has always been my all-time favorite song ever since I was little and I loved the Goo Goo Dolls, but that song was especially meaningful to me. I had always wanted to cover it but the label wouldn’t let me, so when I was working on American Dream and I realized I didn’t have to get anyone’s approval and Neil Sanderson had the idea to make the song a duet. I thought it was a brilliant idea because I had heard millions of covers of Iris but I had never heard anyone do it as a duet. So I thought that was really interesting and especially a hard rock way. I thought that was so cool. So when I started thinking, who would I want to have on this song? I immediately thought of Benjamin Burnley just because I had spent the last two years touring with them. I decided to send him a DM on Instagram and said I want to cover this song and I would be so honored if you would sing this song with me. Surprisingly Ben responded that he would do it.”
Inspired at a young age, Diamante became obsessed with singing and used the speaker that her dad got her for Christmas. Her powerful vocals and impressive range are the result of practice and doing musical theatre. “When I was 10 years old I played the lead in my school’s production of Grease and that was the first time I ever experienced being on a stage in front of people. Believe it or not, that was so out of the ordinary because I was really shy as a kid. I was quiet and reserved. I can still be like that today, but that was so different for me to be on a stage projecting in front of people and playing this whole other character. I loved that! I discovered this new side of myself and then when my whole family moved out to LA, I discovered the School of Rock which is where I first found out what rock music was. I was getting to do a few covers of Blondie and Led Zeppelin and I did a rock show at the end of it. That was where it all clicked for me and I knew performing on stage was what I wanted to do forever.”
Aside from the horrible things that the entire 2020 pandemic brought, Diamante says she changed completely as a person. “Back in 2019, my mindset focused on touring and this is going to be my life forever and nothing’s going to change and everything’s always going to be this way and I’m unstoppable. But when everything just stopped and got flipped on its head and everything turned upside down, I had to really establish what my priorities were and find myself again because I had a total identity crisis when all tours stopped and shows were cancelled. I had attached so much of my own identity and validation to being a performer. I had to discover… rediscover who I was just as a person. Once I came to grips with everything and dug deep into myself and took the time as a blessing because I had so much time to write this album and create the songs. A lot of the songs on American Dream were written during quarantine just because writing music was all I could do. It also allowed me to go back to college full time. Thanks to this last year, I now have a new album and a degree. I was lucky to be able to do both.
Tours and music festivals are slowly starting to be scheduled again and pre-sale tickets are becoming available, but everything is still questionable. Diamante is just waiting to see what happens because everything is changing on a daily basis. “I do have a couple of festivals in the works for September. I announced one so far, which is the Inkarceration Festival in Ohio in September. I’m really hoping that it does happen because I’ve never played this festival.” Scheduled along with Diamante are Chevelle, Asking Alexandria, Halestorm, Killswitch Engage, Mastodon, Motionless In White, Rob Zombie and more.
Before ending what seemed to be more like two friends catching up then an interview, Diamante gave a shout out to Screamer Magazine and wanted to remind everyone to check out her album American Dream.