Thursday, March 28, 2013

Diana Rose
The profound interview by Chris Koppers. Images courtesy of Diana Rose.

What is your current project?

I am currently working on starting up a campaign via in order to raise funds for my very first Christian album. My first 2 albums (Debut self titled and my You're Enough CD) both had some hints of my Christian background in them, with just a couple of tracks that centered around God.


 over the past couple of years I've really been feeling the urge to put out an entirely Christian album. All of the songs are written, but we will need to wait to start production until after we raise enough funds to get the project going. I'm super excited about this project because all of the songs that are going on the album are very personal for me. Some of the songs were written specifically for my daughter, some for my nieces and nephews, and some are just very personal worship songs. I can't wait for my fans to hear my latest work, and since I don't have the start-up funds for this project I'm relying on my fans (and hopefully some of the people they know!) to get on board with helping me fund this amazing album.

One thing I'm particularly excited about with regards to the campaign is that the song I am using (with a corresponding video) to launch the campaign. It's a song that is very near and dear to my heart. It's called "When It's My Time." 

This song was written in loving memory of my dear sister-in-law Jennifer Lynn Murphy, who tragically passed away at age 31 due to complications with the disease Cystic Fibrosis. She passed away in September of 2010 and our family has felt an emotional void ever since because of her absence. The song "When It's My Time" came to me not long after Jen passed away, and was inspired by the graceful and peaceful way in which she chose to leave this world. 

She was totally accepting that this was her time to go and was incredibly grateful for the time she got to have on earth. Even though she had to leave behind her loved ones, including my brother Dan, and her beautiful twin baby girls, she was so thankful to have gotten the time she had with them, and with all of us. I thought, "wow, I hope to have even half the grace and peace she when she took her last breath." It was the saddest, and yet most beautiful thing I've ever witnessed in all my life.

This song, and the whole campaign is being produced in honor of Jen, as my personal thank you to her for teaching me not only how to live, but how to die. 10% of all the proceeds from this campaign will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, in order to help them find a cure. Hopefully we can help save the lives of people who suffer from this terrible disease. The campaign will launch late-April 2013, so look for a link on my website for that! (it will also be on youtube, and of course in the search box on

A completely different side project I'm working on is actually related to my sophomore album, entitled You're Enough. I recently was given the opportunity to create a music video using one of the songs from that CD. The song is called "Everything I Got," and I wrote it a few years back with my dear friend Andrea Jeitz.

I absolutely love this song, and I always enjoy performing it. It's a song about giving your passion everything you have, and not making any excuses as to why your life isn't turning out the way you want it to. It's about taking control of your own destiny and making the changes you need to in order to reach your goals. I still listen to it, at least weekly, to remind myself of what's important. 

Be sure to check out that video once it reaches my website in a couple of weeks! You can find that, along with the rest of my music available for streaming and/or purchase at

What do you believe is your core message/mission when it comes to your music?

My core mission with my music is to inspire people to be the best version of themselves possible. I am obviously a creative spirit through and through, and I've decided to use my songwriting as my way of communicating all kinds of things with the rest of the world. I write about everything from life, to love, to loss, to faith...and everything in between.

 I really enjoy tackling challenging subject matter (such as with my song "Silent," which is thankfully not an autobiographical song, but a song about a person who was a victim of domestic abuse. These types of songs should exist in my opinion to raise awareness of the things in our world that really need to change.) My song about my sister in law Jennifer who passed away is another example of my tackling hard subject's not easy to handle a topic as delicate as death and dying, but I like rising to the challenge, and in doing so I create unique songs that other people are too intimidated to attempt to write. 

My songs aren't all serious though...while much of my material will likely make you cry, I have quite a few songs that are just fun-loving, and some that will inspire you, and some that will motivate you to get off you your butt and do something meaningful with your life (like "Everything I Got!") 

My website puts it this way, and I think this sums up my mission/message pretty well... "Diana likes to think of her songs as stories woven together with carefully selected words, melodies and harmonies; these stories all share the same purpose: to speak to the human soul. Diana's constant goal is to leave people feeling uplifted, inspired, and empowered when they hear her music."

How would you see yourself within the music industry? What are your challenges?

I guess I see "my place" in the music industry as a few things...first and foremost a songwriter, very dedicated to writing the very best songs I possibly can. Although the music market is going to demand certain types of songs at different times as the years go by, I am committed to not conforming to what the market wants just to make a buck. Rather, I feel it's of utmost importance that I write from my heart. Always. 

If what I write happens to appeal to the masses or what the song pluggers or publishers are looking for, awesome. If it doesn't I believe at some point it will, and I'll just have to wait until the timing is right to get my songs into the right hands. I also see myself as a singer and performer in this industry, but my goals with performing as an artist aren't as huge as my songwriting goals. I love to perform, don't get me wrong...but I have a husband and beautiful baby girl who are my world right now, and I don't feel that my lifestyle is very conducive to being a touring artist. I'd like to perform when and where it's convenient for me to do so, but 

I have no plans to be a famous singer who sells out large arenas for 300 shows a year. No thanks. I value my time with my family far too much to get into that! God love all the musicians who commit to that lifestyle, because it's hard work, and although it comes with some great rewards, it's not always as glamorous as it seems. At this point in my life that about sums up my "place" in the industry. I have hopes to be a household name as a songwriter, and get some big cuts with amazing touring artists. For me, it's all about the song:) Perhaps down the road I'll think about being a publisher for other writers to connect with, but that's more of a long term possibility rather than an immediate goal. 

Can you tell us somewhat about your song "Inside the lines"? How was the making of?

Sure! The lyrics to my song "Inside the Lines" actually came to me as I was watching a documentary on TV, about a girl whose father was quite opposed to her pursuing a career in art, specifically being a tattoo artist. I found her story to be really inspiring, because although she had the utmost respect for her father, she just couldn't follow the path he had paved for her life. She instead decided to follow her heart and pursue her dreams. 

I really could relate to this girl. My parents have been really supportive of me pursuing my music career, but like many parents of "starving artists" they also worry for my safety and financial security. My dad would often ask me, "are you going to get a real job?" While I appreciate his protectiveness, I just couldn't seem to get him to understand that I would rather have a life of excitement while I follow my songwriter dreams, than have a cookie cutter life that is predictable, boring, and safe. 

"Give me risk before safety" any day I used to say! Since having my own child, my tune has changed a little. I understand now the importance of having a secure financial future, of making sure you do have income you can count on. So my husband and I work our tails off to make sure that our daughter has all she needs and that our future looks bright. We both have other jobs, while I pursue music with any free time I have. Of course my family (especially my baby!) comes first, so they get to have first dibs on my time and attention, and music comes in a close second after that :)What is your plan for the upcoming summer?

I'll be recording the Christian album this summer, and hopefully attending some music songwriting conferences as well. I'd love to get a trip or 2 to Nashville and/or LA as well, because I really enjoy writing with friends in both those cities. We shall see if there are funds to do so. Fingers crossed :) Of course playing with my baby girl (she will be 1 year old by then!) will be at the top of my summer to-do list! They grow so stinkin' fast!!

How did your career start? What was the "ignition"?

I guess my career started when I was in my first year of undergrad at Augustana College in Rock Island IL. I was majoring in Art and Psychology at the time...two subjects I find interesting. Although I loved my friends at the school and was enjoying my classes, I was feeling that urge to bust out of there and pursue a career as a singer. I was really only going to a 4 yr college to appease my parents. I wanted to move to Nashville right after high school and be the next Shania Twain!

But my dad insisted that I have a 4 yr degree...something to fall back on. I'm happy I went to Augustana. I made lifelong friendships there, and I ended up finishing 2 years before finally decided to get serious about the music. I met with the vocational guidance counselor at the college, Kristen Glass, who helped me to make a plan for reaching my goals as a singer. I will be forever grateful to her. 

She told me about a school which was then called Musictech, now called McNally Smith College of Music. She told me her brother went there and that they taught contemporary music. It`s the kind of school you want to go to if you're serious about a career as a singer, a touring musician, a music manager, a writer... I saw the website and was immediately salivating. It took a lot of convincing my parents to make this a go, but sure enough, I auditioned for the program, got in, and had an AMAZING 16 month journey of learning at that school. Those teachers taught me more than I ever thought possible, and most importantly they taught me to be a lifelong learner. 

They taught me that in the music business it is so much more about networking and on-the-job training than book smarts. They taught me that you can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't have drive, determination, a strong work ethic, and a really thick skin, you won't make it in this business. Lesson learned...again and again and again!! After finishing the program at McNally Smith (they actually changed the name of the school during my attendance there)...I was able to transfer my Augustana credits and my McNally credits to Augsburg College. I studied for 1 year at Augsburg just to finish up my BA in Music. There, my parents were happy. I got the piece of paper that was my "safety net."...but at the end of it all I really had to thank them for making me go to college. I learned more than I ever would have had I not invested those 4.5 years of my time. After college I got started right away teaching piano lessons for extra cash (which I also still love doing by the way)...and got to recording my first 2 albums. Those were self funded, so they set me back financially quite a bit, but I don't regret those projects. 

The songs on those CDs are glimpses into the past. They are snapshots of the girl I was, and it helps me to remember that it's really a journey we are all on!! I am still working hard on new projects, and my passion for songwriting is more alive than ever. I'm so thankful I listened to that urge inside of me...that "ignition" as you call it...that said "maybe you COULD have a career in music..." Just goes to show, a journey of a thousand miles truly does begin with a single step. Love that quote!

How are your feelings whenever you enter the stage?

I love the stage. Everything else melts away and it's all about delivering a message. It's not even about me.
I don't honestly care if people remember me, or my name, or any of that. But if they walk away from the performance having been moved inside, having been affected in a positive way, then I've done my job. I love the rush I get when performing. 

While holding my baby girl, Malia, is definitely when I feel most happy, I have to say that I think the stage might be where I feel most alive. 

Where can we find/purhcase your music?

My music can be purchased on itunes, cdbaby, and of course my website...
There is a new music video on her webpage - check it out!


Tracy said...

Love your interview, Chris.

I put Diana on my music list.
Great performer!


Nicole said...

Very, very fine interview.
I love your platform for talented musicians!

Diana got a style I like.

Best from the Isle of Man,

Miroslav said...

Great voice.

My best wishes,

Jeanne Bloms said... are so make me want to start singing again....I am proud to call you my niece.