Audix Up Close: An Interview with Kristin Diable of New Orleans
Kristin Diable, singer-songwriter and citizen of the world, is making her mark on both the New Orleans music scene and on roots music worldwide. Audix first encountered the raw soulfulness of Kristin Diable's vocals during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, where she performed to thousands on stage with the Audix OM6 dynamic vocal microphone for the first time. Since then, Kristin has made the switch to Audix, taking the OM6 dynamic microphone with her all over the country, touring in support of her album Create Your Own Mythology. Audix caught up with Kristin on tour, while the band made its way to Chicago, to talk about life, travel, inspiration and how Audix helps her perform consistently strong vocals every night, all across the country.
Kristin's musical path began even before she could play an instrument. From the age of six, growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she would come up with song ideas and record them on a Playskool toy recorder. Later, as a young teenager, she and her sister Erin formed the band Meridian Jane, both of them playing guitar.
A career in music started coming more clearly into focus when she left Baton Rouge for New York City. "I was still in college and I went [to New York] for an exchange semester," Kristin recalls. "After six months, I had a light bulb moment and realized I couldn't go back to Baton Rouge-I needed to be pursuing music and whatever that entailed." After five years of performing on the NYC circuit, Kristin made the move back to New Orleans.
She says that New Orleans has always seemed like home in some intangible way. "New Orleans chose me. There's something about it-the spirit, the culture, the history, the community-that I felt was simpatico with how I wanted to live." Yet it wasn't until she moved away from Louisiana that she started to dig deeply into roots music and other music from south Louisiana. "A lot of the music that has influenced me profoundly I actually didn't listen to until I moved to New York," says Kristin. "I think I had to leave home to get a greater perspective on it."
Among many opportunities, Kristin was invited onto the hit reality TV show The Voice. "They came to New Orleans, and I kept getting phone calls, every day-managers and musicians were calling me saying, ‘Hey, The Voice is coming to town and I think you'd be great-you should try out for it.' And I said no, thanks for thinking of me, it's just not my thing." Several days and many more phone calls later, Kristin reconsidered and decided to give it a try. "I didn't expect anything to come of it. But I guess [the audition] went well, and they invited me to be on the show." After thinking it over, she decided to take a pass. "I already make a living being an artist."
Above all, Kristin's music reflects a trueness to self, making the music that makes sense to her. Her vocals are simultaneously vulnerable and powerful-at times tender and soothing, at other times fierce and untamed, but always honest enough to stare you squarely in the face without blinking. "If you're in stuck in a commercial pipeline, you really don't get to be an artist. It's not as interesting or creative to me. I don't see the point of making music unless it's something that has some kind of soul and integrity to it."
Part of the soul of her music comes from her love of travel. "I think it keeps your mind and your heart open to the vastness of reality around you. For me, I need movement and changes of scenario, and I think when you're in new environments and don't have your normal protocols to go to by default, you're challenged to become a better version of yourself. You learn and grow; you see the world and you see yourself with fresh eyes. I find that to be very useful for creativity, for songs, for stories and finding the essence of things to write about."
The road, however, does not come without its challenges. As any working musician knows, tour life can be punishing, mentally and physically. "What eases the pain of the road is playing the shows themselves," Kristin says. "When people come to a show and you realize that whatever happened that night was an experience that added something to everybody's lives and memories-a connection that wouldn't have happened if you hadn't have gone through it-that's really the point of the music, period. That makes it all worth it."
Kristin's mic of choice is the Audix OM6 dynamic vocal microphone. "I've had the OM6 out on this tour run, and I'm using it for every show," she says. "The sound is really precise, and it picks up the wholeness of my voice without altering it. It just captures the natural tone of my voice, which is important, because not all microphones do that, and you want to keep it as close to the actual sound as possible." The mic has also helped her perform more consistently, she says, and that gives her peace of mind because she knows exactly what to expect. "I know what it's going to sound like at every show. It's so helpful to know that I don't have to worry about fighting with the microphone. It's just easier to perform well when gear works well."
For more info on Kristin Diable, visit her website at www.kristindiable.com and follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kristindiablemusic. Her album Create Your Own Mythology is available on iTunes at itunes.apple.com/us/album/create-your-own-mythology/id962689095.
Photo courtesy of: Jacqueline Marque Photography