The Rest Matters Not: An Interview with Dia

Since you love me and I love you
The rest matters not.
I will cut grass in the fields
And you will sell it for beasts.
Since you love me and I love you
The rest matters not.
I will sow maize in the fields
and you will sell it for people.
The 12th century Kafiristan poem, also used in an Aaron Copland song, is the inspiration behind experimental indie folk/ baroque pop artist and composer Dia’s latest EP, Tiny Ocean.  

The beauty behind the moniker, Danielle Birrittella, was raised in the Hindu ashram that her parents met and married in. “It was a formative experience and continued to be a part of our lives after we left,” she said. “We would practice daily chanting; there were always live instruments accompanying… Music is intrinsic to our way of understanding the world and a companion in navigating it.”

Her love for singing was both a blessing and a curse as bullies during her formative school years created insecurities. While studying journalism at NYU, an elective voice lesson course her first semester changed everything. Her professor, a German opera singer, noticed within moments that Birrittella had what it took to be operatically trained. “It was surreal,” she said. “The experience of using my entire body to sing freely was liberating and empowering.”

As Dia, Birrittella explains that although this music is an extension of her, it is not her completely and she wanted enough space to differentiate the two. The concept of Dia comes with a variety of meanings. Dia is short for diamond, something that she appreciates as a jewelry designer. Dia translates to “day” in Spanish, a concept that she said brings light and potential to her music. Dia also translates to “through” in Greek and was most meaningful during her initial songwriting transformation. Lastly, Dia is the Roman goddess of growth, a symbol of her project and a tie-in with her Italian citizenship.

When living in places like Italy, France and New York, the experiences and life lessons helped create the musician that she is today. “Every place and memory influences what we create, in my opinion. The time I spent in these places formed me and gave me containers and lenses that I write within and through. Each location has a quality that unfolded as I came to know it.”

Tiny Ocean was released through Manimal Records and was produced by the likes of Joey Waronker, Tim Carr and Frankie Siragusa. The takeaway from this record is to find inspiration; the kind of inspiration that someone can get lost in and pull ideas from that Birrittella herself didn’t think of. The image of the record is equally as meaningful as the concept of Dia. “The massiveness of our experience as individual humans and the simultaneity of its fleeting, inexpressible smallness.”

When learning the Aaron Copland as a classical singer, Birrittella was automatically inspired. The poem “simply and completely expresses the totality of love” and was a concept that she wanted to incorporate into her music. With where she is today, her music has followed her through this journey and is just the beginning of what is sure to be more growth and potential.