Nashville singer-songwriter Madi Diaz is set to release her new album, Weird Faith, on February 9. While she’s known for her honest and fearless lyrics, Weird Faith takes her music to a new level, exploring the depth of complexities of falling in love – with somebody else and with herself. This album captures not only what it means to be in love, but what the process involves – all the awkward silences, unrequited passion, and all the wonder as well.
For fans of Phoebe Bridgers and Angel Olsen, Weird Faith promises not to disappoint. Diaz’s upfront lyrics, seen in the album opener and precursory single Same Risk, explores love in a devastatingly honest way, with the emotional leap of falling in love being fully realised in the stunning music video directed by Diaz herself alongside Elizabeth Olmsted. Featuring collaborations with Kacey Musgraves in track Don’t Do Me Good, Weird Faith promises a new chapter for Madi Diaz and delivers even more.
Following the release of her album History of a Feeling in 2021, which gained her much-deserved media attention, she has won the hearts and favour of thousands of global listeners through TV appearances, solo tours, collaborations with artists like Waxahatchee and Angel Olsen, and even touring with Harry Styles. After an exciting time on the road and in between her next busy period with the release of Weird Faith fast advancing, Diaz returned to Nashville for some resting and nesting. We speak to her before the start of her big North American tour, as she tells us all about the upcoming album, surreal tour moments, and what this new chapter brings.
Hi, Madi! Lovely to hear from you. You’ve been so busy recently with touring internationally, how does it feel to be back in Nashville?
I love love love my home in Nashville. I’m also quite a bit of a homebody and love my resting and nesting times so the last six weeks have been absolutely wonderful.
Your next steps are gearing up for the North American tour very soon, how are you feeling? Ready to hit the road again?
I’m nervous and excited to start this next touring chapter! It’s always a little nerve wracking for me to headline tours, I compare it to throwing a nightly birthday party where you’re just never too sure if anyone is going to show up and are hoping to be pleasantly surprised (laughs). But I love singing and am really looking forward to playing some new material out in the world.
Your new album Weird Faith is gearing up for release on 9th February, congratulations again! You’ve said before that this record marks the beginning of a new chapter for you, what defines or shapes this new chapter?
I think this record has marked a really beautiful moment in my life where I’m allowing myself to trust my intuition and instincts a little bit more than I have before and lean in to letting go a little bit of the what might happens and what could happens, and just try to be in the present moment of what is happening around me. I’ve been feeling a whole lot of gratitude for what my last record did as far as opening a whole lot of new doors in my world. Now that I’ve started to walk through those doors, I’m really just enjoying putting out music and performing and talking about how important making this art is to me.
This album really is concerned with love and portraying that as honestly and as humanly as possible, covering the anxious and devastating parts of love. How did you find going about this difficult task for the record?
This record was a special one to write as it constantly tested the strength of the trust I have in myself to see myself clearly for better or worse - my desires, my fears, my dreams. I think the hardest part about writing these songs was making sure that every word that got written down and every melody line that got recorded felt as true and stayed as raw as possible, and honoured each moment as best as I could.
Weird Faith doesn’t only chronicle the new relationship with another, but also marks a real shift in relationship with yourself, and we see a little bit of this in your album – you seem much more confident in this raw emotional display. In what ways do you find this record marks this development, mentally or musically?
Weird Faith feels very cemented to me in my singer songwriter body. It feels unapologetically reliant on the song as the focus, and the instrumentation being supplemental to enhancing what the song is trying to get across to the listener. I’ve really tried my best in these last two records to make sure that the production stays out of the way of the song so that the song has all of the room to tell the story and communicate to whoever is hopefully listening.
Album opener Same Risk provides such a devastating beginning to the album, and really encapsulates the honesty of this project and the real trust fall exercise of falling in love. Can you tell us a little behind the creative process for making songs that feel as vulnerable as this?
I wrote this song with Charlie Hickey and Steph Jones, both who I trust implicitly with saying hard things, scary things, true things out loud. Writing Same Risk became almost an exercise in how closely we could mirror the panic all three of us felt in the early stages of really falling for someone. The feelings that come with giving more of yourself and your heart than you really mean to (earlier than maybe you should) especially before knowing where the other person stands, or maybe even whether the person on the receiving end of all of this is worthy of trust or love in this way. The writing room for these songs always became a test of how true a line felt when you say it out loud. The ones that really resonate to the core of your being just do. The ones that don’t, don’t stick.
This song in particular is accompanied by a gorgeous video co-directed by yourself and Elizabeth Olmsted. Can you tell us a little bit about the video, and a little bit about behind the scenes of the shooting such a stunning video?
Elizabeth and I wanted to make a video that literally depicted that feeling that Same Risk is singing about - when you take the plunging first step forward in a relationship. It felt cathartic and cleansing to fall full body into water and let myself swim through the process of going through all of these new emotions. Eliz and I have been friends for quite a few years now, and so when you have a friend like that on the other side of the lens, it feels a bit more natural to me to let my whole self come through in expression, rather than sort of acting it out.
The collaboration on this album is also so exciting, with you creating such a devastating ballad with Kacey Musgraves on Don’t Do Me Good. How was this collaboration? Are there any other artists that you would really like to collaborate with?
This collaboration was such a giggle and a joy. It was so so fun and such a gift to hear a voice that I’ve heard for such a long time singing with mine on a song that I wrote. I knew it would feel right because I know Kacey wouldn’t say yes if she didn’t mean it and didn’t feel the pulse and the truth in the song. She’s a real one, that one. I’ve always wanted to write a song with SZA or Kathleen Hannah. I’ve always wanted to sing a song with Leslie Feist or Bonnie Raitt or Sheryl Crow.
Being a woman in the industry is something you’ve spoken about before, and so I just wanted to take the time to ask a little bit about your experience as a woman in the industry, as well as if there are any other female musicians you find that particularly inspire you?
I’ve been super fortunate to work with some heroes of mine. Two of those who helped me in the making of this record are Lori McKenna and Amy Wadge. Both of these women have been north stars in marching or skipping or dancing to the beat of our own drums. They remind me that it’s never a mistake to be unapologetically who I am and clear as can be in my voice. I think there are so many incredible women in music right now. The list is so long that I couldn’t finish it if I started.
Your touring list is so extensive, and I’m sure you have lots of stories from tours and shows, from touring with Harry Styles and Angel Olsen but of course many more shows, as well as I’m sure you have many more stories to make. Do you have any highlights or horror stories from your shows that you can share with us?
One time we got caught in the most intense blizzard between Buffalo, NY and Chicago. Trapped at a Howard Jonson off the interstate for three days with nothing but stale hotel cereal, grey-ish packets of single serving peanut butter, a bottle of gin and one lone dominoes pizza place still open next door - there wasn’t much to do but sit in a real life snow globe passing time waiting for the weather to calm down and watching the snow melt enough that we could get on the road at 5am - only to barely make my set at Schubas in Chicago. I quite literally changed clothes in the van, jumped out of the door and walked onto stage to plug in and play. I think we drove 11 hours that day and I was only 5 minutes late to making my set time!
We know where we can catch you next, as you will be very busy with your tour, and so instead I wanted to close by asking, do you have any words of wisdom or a message for your listeners?
I think I just want to thank everyone so so much for listening to these songs and giving me a reason and a platform to put another record out into the world. I’m just beyond grateful to be out here making art and doing what I love, and I think it’s honestly totally insanely wild that I get to be on this earth making music.