Nina Diaz: Wild Child

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Photo by Jorge Gonzalez
       

As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 21 – Fall 2022

When it comes to girl guitar heroes, Nina Diaz is not one to be overlooked. Starting her musical endeavors at a mere 13 years old, Diaz was signed by the one and only Runaway, Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records, at 17. Since then, Diaz has been writing and performing her own music more recently, wanting to take the next steps in her musical career by producing both her own and additional artists albums as well. 

Diaz isn’t slowing down anytime soon, either. Her voice has been heard when the recent political climate went sour towards abortion rights by creating the single “Holy Mary Mother in Me” to express her disdain towards the diminishing abortion rights. The single is off her new studio album, If I Could Be You, You Could Be Me, which Diaz says captures her live performance energy, calling it her “most vulnerable and raw release ever.” The self-produced album was recorded in San Antonio, TX, at Diaz’s BeatGirlProductions

The press release announcing Diaz’s latest work states, “I Could Be You, You Could Be Me is about speaking up, facing fears, personal growth, and what is in metaphysical circles called Shadow Work.” Diaz says, “the album title is from a line on the track ‘Marigold.’ When we show true empathy to ourselves, and accept our shadow side, or “dark side,” we can build strength from trauma. My weakness can connect with others as well as my strength. When COVID hit, my plan of renting studio time to record the album disappeared. Funds got very, very low and I wasn’t sure what to do. Inspiration hit while making ends meet creating personalized, commissioned cover songs for fans. I thought I would only do a few tracks. I ended up doing close to 100 cover songs ranging from artists like Taylor Swift to Led Zeppelin. In this way, I created BeatGirlProductions, where I recorded and produced my new record.”

Diaz also took an active role in the mastering of the new album alongside Jerry at Terra Nova Mastering in Austin, TX. Of the experience, Diaz said, “In the past, it had always been hard to describe to producers what I hear in my head. Now, I know how to make it happen. There is still so much to learn, but at the end of the day, I am proud of myself and the art I created with his first self-produced/engineered/mixed album.” 

We caught up with Diaz to get the download about her musical career and her new music.

You were 13 years old when you decided music was for you; what made you want to pursue music?
When I was 13 and even younger, I would fall asleep with my headphones on, and whatever song played, I would imagine myself on stage performing it. But at 13, I was super shy. It’s like I had an idea of what I could be but didn’t really have a clear confident trail to follow. When fate had me show a song I had written at the time to my former bandmates in Girl in A Coma (Phanie, Jenn), I wasn’t looking to be in a band with them; I just wanted to show my big sisters what I had done in hopes they would think it was cool. Then they suggested I be the lead singer of the band they were forming, and that’s what kinda pushed me to follow this daydream I had for so long. It was a team effort; we all helped each other fulfill something missing in our lives at that time. Music became like completely part of my DNA. Even when I was walking down some dark times, music has always been something constant in my life and allows me to express myself through any phase. 

Who are your influences?
When I first started playing music and finding my own style through artists I was inspired by Morrissey was for sure at the top of that list — followed by Björk, Jeff Buckley, the Beatles, and PJ Harvey, to name a few. 

When you were with the band Girl In A Coma, the band was signed by Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records. What is it like to work with someone with so much rock history coursing through her veins?
Being part of the Blackheart Records family for sure taught me lessons necessary for me to learn in order for me to follow my path and make my own mark in the music world. What to do and what not to do. 

Can you tell us a little about your new single, “Holy Mary Mother in Me?” What message are you trying to drive home here?
This message is more of a mantra to Mother Mary. Finding strength in her goddess energy as I cut chords with toxic people or patterns. 

How about your new album? What was the inspiration for the music?
My new album follows my own personal journey through shadow work. Shadow work is a term thrown in the metaphysical scene; it’s about healing past traumas to discover hidden gifts. If there were times I would feel like I had no voice, I looked back to see where it began. Was it a person? A situation? By looking back and really seeing it I was able to understand the trigger and now reclaim my gift of speech. Sharing these events with others in hopes they find courage to heal anything they have been avoiding. 

What is your songwriting process?
In the past, I would start on my acoustic guitar and free-flow melody/lyrics. If I liked something, I would grow off it and fill in any gaps lyrically with stuff I wrote in my journal. Since COVID, I dove deep into covering a variety of songs that strengthened my skills as a writer. Like I went to music school or something learning them all and how they all ticked. Now I can write an idea, take a minute, and come back to it with a fully formed structure of what direction to follow. I am also at peace with knowing the first draft is just that; a first draft and editing myself come easier. I still love writing with my acoustic first, but I will sometimes have a simple drum machine beat guide the vibe. 

What is your go-to guitar?
Lately, my go-to guitar has been my Kurt Cobain Jag-Stang.

You self-produced your new album and want to go on producing women and girls, thereby creating BeatGirlProductions. Why has that become your new passion?
I don’t want to just record women/girls; I am open to recording anyone that wants to work with me, and if they wanna learn anything extra from me as far as my experience in the industry, then that’s cool too, but really my goal is to try to bring out the best in any artist. To move past doubt and just try things; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But you won’t know unless you try. 

I know that I grew so much making this album and made huge changes in my life for the betterment of continued growth. If I could influence anyone even just a little to feel their own version of what I felt, then damn, that would be amazing to see. To help guide them to see their strength. 

What’s in store for the future of your musical career?
It’s very driven to learn; my career, my life, everything. I want to experience things and see what happens. For instance, I submitted this album for next year’s GRAMMYs for best new artist. I don’t know if I will be selected, but just the process of trying something new feeds my spirit. Not being afraid to look silly or make a mistake. And really making use of what I have been blessed to have in my life for so long — the gift of song and sharing it with others.

I Could Be You, You Could Be Me tracklist:

  1. Give It All You Got
  2. Silly Situation
  3. Sympathy
  4. Get Away 
  5. Holy Mary Mother In Me
  6. Marigold
  7. All The Worlds A Stage
  8. Personality Confession
  9. This Crazy Feeling
  10. Chasing Shadows
  11. Angel Division
  12. On The Other Side
  13. Break The News