Back in 2011, Dia Frampton became the runner-up on the inaugural season of The Voice and released her debut solo album Red, but underwent intense personal and professional hardships that she detailed in a moving essay this summer. Now, with revitalized confidence, the singer-songwriter is returning to the spotlight that inspired the soaring highs and brutal lows with her new album, and EW has an exclusive premiere of the collection’s lead single, “Golden Years.”
Aptly titled Bruises, Frampton tells EW the upcoming 12-track LP, produced with Dan Heath (Lana Del Rey, Troye Sivan), was inspired by the often difficult journey toward regaining happiness that she embarked on after running the gamut of overexposure on reality TV, and the resulting wrench it threw into her career.
The new studio set features everything from gospel choirs and complex string arrangements to Frampton’s signature, sugary-sweet hooks and melancholy lyrics.
The Golden Years EP hits digital platforms this Friday, Oct. 7, ahead of Bruises‘ debut on March 3, 2017. Below, Frampton details the making of Bruises and the inspirations behind the collection. Hear “Golden Years” now.
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ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: For fans who’ve followed your career up to this point, how do you think this new album will either satisfy or surprise them?
DIA FRAMPTON: I’m honestly not sure how people will receive Bruises. It’s a very special album to me, and I hope that it resonates with my listeners. I think — if there is to be a surprise — it will be the uncomfortable honesty and vulnerability that comes through in the lyrics. I didn’t try to cover up anything on this album. I’m through trying to compromise on things, and watching them go under anyway. If I’m going to fail, I want to fail on something that I’m proud of.
Does the album stick to one particular genre or sonic theme, or are there some moments of experimentation here?
The multi-talented Dan Heath produced Bruises, and I worked mostly with him during the process of writing and creating the album. I brought in a few friends who I connect with as well: Tyler Lyle, Joe Trapanese, Seth Jones to name a few. I brought in people who feel like family. The album is about the ups and downs of life; your moments shining in light, and sinking in darkness. It’s about experiencing your wins and losses, and about hope. Each song represents a little bit of either experience: the light or the dark. These last couple years have sat mostly in the latter, although I’m a very hopeful person, and always have been.
Where did you find yourself going, lyrically, on the project?
Emotionally, I just wanted to be open. I feel like there’s a certain illusion of success and happiness. I feel that especially living in Los Angeles right now. I just wanted to be me, as cheesy as that sounds.
What inspired “Golden Years?” How would you describe it as both a song — compositionally and sonically — as well as a work that reflects your emotions as a person?
“Golden Years” is about experiencing what you thought was the best time of your life, but realizing that most of it wasn’t real. It’s also about sifting through those years, and finding the memories that are important to you. For me, my golden years were bouncing across the U.S. in an old, used van with my four best friends. We slept in parking lots, and on strangers’ floors when they were kind enough to offer. We played shows for two people, and shows for thousands of people, but we were a family, and we loved telling stories and sharing and meeting new people and chasing something. Those were my “Golden Years.”
Is there any chance we’ll see another album from [defunct indie-pop duo] Meg & Dia album in the future?
There are no plans to make another Meg & Dia album as of right now. It’s funny that you ask this question though, because I was just cleaning out my mother’s garage the other day with my sister, Meg, and we found so many old Meg & Dia treasures. I’m glad my mom needed some extra space! We dug through boxes of vinyls, sadly warped by the sun, old Meg & Dia t-shirts, guitar picks, and lyric notes for tour. Meg even pulled out her old pink floral jacket she wore almost every day for one van tour! There are a lot of memories with that band. There are no plans to make another album, but hey, if someone provided time in the studio, and it was a possibility, I myself wouldn’t turn ’em down.
3. “Dead Man”
4. “Die Wild”
5. “Don’t Look Back”
6. “Gold and Silver”
7. “Golden Years”
10. “Out Of The Darkness”
11. “The Quest”
12. “White Dress”