Premiere: Daniella Mason Wants You to Tell Her It's Over
words by me; images courtesy of Bree Marie Fish
When Daniella Mason first put pen to paper and birthed “Tell Me It’s Over”, she had a specific target in mind. Since then? The track has all but taken on a life of its own, traveling alongside Mason as she enters new chapters and morphing to stay relevant at each crossroads. With its premiere this morning on MILK.XYZ, Mason hopes the same rings true for fans; that is, that “Tell Me It’s Over” will have a lifespan much longer than their current struggle or victory.
In the words of Mason herself, “Tell Me It’s Over” is “ever-evolving,” much like the singer-songwriter herself; after a few years of reflection and revolution, she’s having a quasi Phoenix moment of rising from the ashes (quasi, because she never really left in the first place; rising, because this one’s a star). We’re more than stoked to be premiering “Tell Me It’s Over”, but more than that, to simply follow this artist’s pilgrimage to her most honest artistic rendering yet. Check the new track below, then keep scrolling for our chat with Nashville’s finest.
We’re so excited to be premiering “Tell Me It’s Over”! Can you talk about the story behind the track and how it came together?
Yeah. So the story behind the song is kind of ever-evolving. I wrote it about a specific situation, but since then, the song has sort of applied differently in different seasons of my life, about different people, and things, and business. So every time I sing it I feel like I’m singing it about something different. And so that makes me think that it must be a pretty universal narrative, popping up throughout my life and I’m guessing other people’s lives. It has taken on a more broad meaning, and when I talk about it I just say, sometimes you know, we realized we’re stuck in something, held captive in a sense, either by our own fault or the fault of someone else, but one day we just have to make a decision to let it be over. And the meaning of the song even goes as broad in my mind as being about fear or sadness, and I realize that sometimes we have to make the decision to let that be over, because those things aren’t just going to let us down easily and bow out; we have to make the decision to move on. So that’s fairly existential [Laughs] but it starts off as a real person and a real story and has grown to this greater, larger thing.
Well I think when a song is really special it kind of takes on a life of its own, and becomes different things for different people.
Absolutely. And even for myself, it’s become different things, for me. So, I don’t even think about the original story that it’s about; I wrote it a couple of years ago and now when I sing it it just has new meaning almost every time. So I hope that people can find their own meaning in it and their own story in it, too. That’s the goal, I guess, is to write a pop song where people can find themselves in it.
Definitely. And I know that that’s off of your upcoming album—do you have a name yet? How far along are you in the process?
So I have all the songs done, and it comes out in October. I think I might self-title it, just because this is sort of a new project and a new phase of my life, where I’m really being this independent, fierce lady. [Laughs] So I might just call it my name. Like, “Here I am everybody! This is what I have to offer. Take it or leave it.” You know? That’s what I’m leaning toward.
Is there any overarching narrative or mood that ties the songs together?
Yeah, I would say they’re all very true to my life. I write very personally, and so I feel like it kind of outlines the last two years of my life, and different phases. Several of them are about my husband, who writes a lot of it with me, but then a lot of it is about, like I said, things as large as fear and sadness and business dealings gone wrong, and just learning how to be a woman in this industry and how to make a place for myself, and how to get people to believe in me. It’s kind of this overarching tale, I guess, of just finding my way in this world as a woman, as an artist, as a creative. So I think people will be able to sense me in it. Especially if they’re fans who have followed me, they’ll definitely be able to say, “This really feels like Daniella,” and the new fans, I hope they get a glimpse of who I am pretty quickly who I am off the bat. And then they can make a decision for themselves if they like it, but they’ll get a piece of me, that’s for sure.
And speaking of your independence—I know you totally run the show for your whole business, but what is it like just having that complete creative control?
I really like it. I like to be in charge. [Laughs] That’s something I’ve learned about myself. I’ve been doing this for a long time—12 years—and my artistry has kind of taken me on twists and turns and over the last several years, since maybe 2013, I’ve been doing this alternative electronic pop thing, and I just learn more about myself every year. And just to be totally honest with you, you know, my 2015 was me just learning, like, “Am I even good at this?” I had to really look closely, and had had some things happen that really diminished my security in myself and knowledge of who I was, and so I had to take that whole year, just writing. I ended up writing by myself a lot, and writing some of the best songs that I’d ever written. And so I looked at those and was like, “Ok, I think I am good at this.” [Laughs] I am a good writer, and I am a good artist, and I have something to say. That was all of my 2015.
And then my 2016 was me learning that I’m actually pretty good at the business side, too. Like, “I think I can do this.” I was learning really quickly, taking notes everywhere I went, and now I’m in 2017 and gearing up for this release and of course, I have amazing people on my team that I’ve slowly but surely gathered, and I love being collaborative. And I love when people know more than me, because I’m like, “Amazing. Tell me what I need to do and I will do it.” But it is pretty fun to be able to guide the show and the process with my creative vision. I get to do the styling and the vocal production and the writing and I co-produced a few of the songs, and I even produced some of my own videos and shoots and it’s fun. It gets really tiring, not gonna lie—last week I felt like my brain was gonna melt. [Laughs] It’s hard but it’s worthwhile, and I’m really thankful I’m in that place.
I’m curious—because you’ve been on such a journey these past years—when you look back at yourself in 2015 or even prior to that, how do you feel like you’ve evolved as a person, working through your art and deciding how you want to run your business?
I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned is what I know and what I don’t know. That’s been really huge for me. So the things that I know, I can stick to my guns on those, and make decisions that way, but when I hit a roadblock of something I don’t know, I’ve learned not to pretend like I know how to do it. I have these great people around me that do know more than me in some areas—and I know more than them in some areas—and I feel like it’s been really important for me to understand what I’m capable and not capable of. Even now, I’m learning more and more. I also feel like I’ve become a lot braver. That’s the other thing. I used to care a lot more what people thought of me, and I still do, to be honest, but I’m getting a lot better at getting some direction and some vision and following through on it, even if not everyone understands it or agrees with it. I hope I get even more brave. It’s happening a little bit at a time. Art is hard, and very vulnerable, and I’m learning how to navigate that vulnerability and be braver.
I think also, as a musician, all of your art is front-facing and everybody can critique it as they wish, so it’s understandable that you would care what they think!
Yeah, totally. And of course I’m in the business of needing other people to like what I do and purchasing it, so that’s definitely a part of it. And I also want to tell stories that resonate with people. I am a storyteller. Otherwise I’m just telling stories to myself. So I do want so badly to reach and reach out to so many groups of people and bring them a story that they can relate to and that they like, and of course I want them to like me, but I’ve learned to not put too much stock in it. I think it’s just not living in that anxiety of, “What will they think?” You know? And just being true, and knowing that if I share my true human experience, that other humans will relate and understand. So, that’s the balance I’m trying to keep.
I think we probably spend our whole lives learning that balance.
As far as style, do you feel like it’s a part of who you are as an artist? How does what you’re wearing translate to your music or vice versa?
Yeah, I definitely think a lot about style. So when I go in to do a shoot, I have a photographer, Bree Fish, we’ve been friends for a long time—she actually photographed my wedding—and we get together and shoot fairly often, just because we love it and love getting more content to the fans. So for those, I really love to get involved with designers, especially some up and coming designers. The shoot for this single, I got to wear Henrik Vibskov, and Osei-duro—I love their prints—and then Rachel Comey as well. And so that was so fun. I love being able to pull those more structured pieces, the ones that are just a little bit more than the everyday.
And then I also did a shoot with these two girls out of New York that I met at Fashion Week, they’re called Shock and Awww, and they actually are the girls that designed Katy Perry’s cupcake look. So I got to wear a few of their things for a show and a shoot too.
And then my everyday style is kind of a combination of some vintage pieces, places like Asos and Zara, a pair of classic white Reeboks that I love and wear everyday, and then there’s a couple of really great Nashville brands and lines that I love—one is Elizabeth Suzann, and then the other one is Goodwin, so both of those are so awesome. So I feel like I think about style a lot, and I just think, if I can wear pieces that are very artful and creative, then it’s just an extension of my creativity. I think it all goes hand in hand with the music.