At the age of 22, Kristin Diable has already independently produced and released three CDs and undertaken two extensive solo tours, allowing her to play her music in clubs across the United States. VOA's Katherine Cole recently caught up with the Louisiana native, and reports on Kristen's newest CD, "Shelter."
You only have to listen to a few seconds of Kristin Diable's "Sister Sadie" to hear that she sings songs that have roots in the blues, folk, and soul. Just 23, Kristin's been writing her own songs for about six years now.
"I wrote somewhat when I was younger, but more seriously in the past five or six years," she said.
And when did you decide that this was something she had to do?
"I guess probably when I dropped out of school, and started playing music full time," she said.
In 2003, Kristin Diable uprooted herself, and moved to New York City. She felt that to succeed as a songwriter, she had no other choice than to drop out of university.
"There was no other way," she said. "I needed the time to be able to write, and perform. And just practice and work on it. You know, it [songwriting] is a craft, an art, and a job, just like anything else."
Not long after the move to New York, Kristen gained both a manager, and a regular place to play. Her home base became a club called "The Living Room." That same venue has recently nurtured and supported the careers of artists such as Norah Jones, and Amos Lee. Having a regular time and place to perform is important to Kristen Diable, as she believes honing her performance skills is just as important as working on her writing. She can't imagine doing one, without the other.
"It would be hard for me to not write," she said. "I really don't think I could just perform, and not ever write. But the performance brings everything to completion. Writing is only half of the process. Having it relate to other people, and be something a little bigger than just yourself, and your room and how it relates to you is part of what I love about it."
What's next for Kristin Diable? Since Shelter is more of a band record than a solo singer-songwriter project, she plans to spend more time touring with a group. Was it different writing songs with a band sound in mind?
"Yeah, absolutely," she said. "I think, structurally, songs are much more simple when you're going to have three or four other people, and orchestrate parts around them. I prefer simple songs. I think, particularly when starting out, a lot of artists want to write the most intricate songs possible, and use the most chords possible, and little cool tricks that you learn along the way. I want the essence of the song to come through, and the message of the song more than anything else, rather than showing technically what I can do on guitar, or vocally."
Kristin Diable's songwriting and performing is strong enough to have established her as one of New York City's more promising young artists.