AWARD WINNING LAINEY DIONNE ON HER MUSIC MAKING PROCESS
Rhode Island born Indie Pop musician, Lainey Dionne, is here with her brand new album, ‘Self Titled’. This 12 song project is a rollercoaster ride of raw, honest emotions that come with toxic and healthy relationships. Three singles from the album have won and been nominated for numerous awards including winning the International Songwriting Competition, Unsigned Only Competition, the New England Songwriting Competition and the New England Music Awards. A New England girl at heart,Lainey is not afraid to speak her mind through her songs.
Break down the process of you wanting to open up with the track Hey London. It's one of the album faves! So I definitely wanted to start out with “Hey London”, because it was the first single that I released as a pop artist; it’s where it all began. I was lucky enough to have an artist development deal down in Nashville where I had a co-writing session with my producer, Nick Schwarz, and a super talented writer Gabe Simon, who has written for Dua Lipa. This was the very first track we sat down to write under the artist development deal. My manager at the time was blown away by it, so we knew we had to release that track as my first single. As far as ‘Self Titled’ goes, I wanted to release “Hey London” first in the track listing on the album not only because it was special to me as my first pop song, but it’s a great knockout introduction to who I am for new listeners. How did you curate the theme of your album when writing the songs? I didn’t really plan on making ‘Self Titled’ breakup themed, it’s just what had unfortunately happened at the time (haha). I wrote these songs over a span of 2 years, and I had a string of really bad relationships so the album just kind of poured out of me as my heartbreak ensued. Of course, I was going through the 5 stages of a break up - so there was obviously some anger in there (“Damned” and “Wake Up Call”), some stressy and depressy times (“Skin”, “Last Flight”, “Senti(mental)”), etc - but throughout the album I really discovered my own self worth and what I deserved. Upon reflecting on these dating experiences, I decided to never settle again for poor treatment in relationships. The take away from ‘Self Titled’ is about finding myself and self worth through these terrible relationships and coming out whole on the other side; I’m entitled to myself again. Was there a point where you had to stop writing because the process became overwhelming? If so, how did you deal with that? The process did become overwhelming because I went through so many depressive states with how I was being treated. To have to open up about that with my co-writers and write songs was emotionally difficult to have to be so honest and vulnerable. It’s never so overwhelming that I can’t write about it - writing is my outlet, however, recording it was the true hard part. “Senti(mental)” was super raw to write because I had written it thinking about how it would feel if my relationship had ended. The relationship had ACTUALLY ended the week of recording it so it was super overwhelming to record and I actually cried during the song in the studio and we kept those takes in the recording. That song is the most emotional song I have ever recorded. There’s no real way of getting over how overwhelming it can be - you have to keep yourself open and honest to what you’re going through, otherwise people won’t connect with your music. I prefer things to feel overwhelmingly happy, or overwhelmingly sad, or overwhelmingly angry, because those emotions are so raw and easy to write about. If you’re only feeling it a little bit, it’s hard to connect with the song, but if you’re totally involved with your soul, it just creates a great record. Do you believe in faking it until you make it in terms of writing? Just trying to get to the other side. I do and I don’t. I believe in faking it until you make it when you have to write for sync in a TV show or a movie. When given a brief for a show, there’s always situations where you can empathize with your own experiences in order to write about it. So, for example, if I had to write a track about race cars for a movie (I’ve never driven a race car in my life), I can assume what it’s like. In a case like this, that’s when ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ comes in handy. However, for my personal artistry, I don’t believe in doing that. Every single one of my songs is a snapshot of what I went through in my life. Half of the songs on the album have very specific lyrics to my experience; I even mention one of my exes' names in a song. My songs are very specific to me, and that’s important to me because once I write a song- it’s like those emotions live there now and they no longer have to live in me, so I no longer have to carry that emotional burden. My songs are definitely real and raw and hopefully one day they’ll help me make it without faking it ;) At what point did you feel a catharsis in making Self Titled? So I knew I wanted to release a full length album. I had written 6 songs under the artist development deal in Nashville, and I knew that I wanted to release them under a full project. After releasing “Hey London”, “Skin” and “I Love You to Death” as singles, I wrote 5 more songs with some of my friends and added in one song I had previously written by myself to make 12 songs total. ‘Self Titled’ wasn’t super planned; it was completed very organically. I was going through a breakup more than halfway through recording and wrote the last three songs “Damned”, “Senti(mental)” and “Wake Up Call” about that relationship- which ended only a few months before the album was released. Talk about not being planned! I remember I was like, “oh my god, I need to write songs right now” directly after the breakup and they went on the album instantly. I think the pandemic had a lot to do with the lack of planning as well, because you couldn’t really gauge anything timing-wise during the pandemic. I had to FaceTime my producer from Nashville while recording half the songs at my local studio, True Music Studios in order to finish it. This album just kind of happened organically as I was going through the motions and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. You ended on the song I Love You To Death. What was the idea behind this? I wanted to end the album with “I Love You to Death” not only because it was the last single to be released, I just thought the song was a banger and I wanted to end the album with a bang. I was actually late to release it as a single because I had an agent that was trying to sell it to Selena Gomez for her new album. Her team ended up passing on it, but it was a really cool experience! I think the message in ILYTD is really important as well. The song is about having your blinders on to a toxic relationship and not realizing that the person you’re with is killing you - you’re quite literally loving them till your death. All of the lyrics sound nice and loving but they are actually several different ways on how to murder someone - ie “you’re pushing me over the edge, you’re taking the breath right out of my chest, shot me in the heart…”. I think one of the biggest mistakes that I’ve made in my dating history was loving someone who was just terrible to me. I was so blind to how toxic my partner was and loved them deeply despite it. I wanted to end the album on a reminder to not have those blinders on and to not waste your love on anything that’s not healthy for you - it’s a very important lesson! You have a song on the album called Senti(mental). Can you talk about why you wanted to feature this in parentheses? “Senti(mental)” is about wondering if you regret ending your relationship. You’re reminiscing about all of these times when you were young in love and probably naive in the relationship. Now that the relationship is gone, you still can’t get this person out of your head. You’re wondering, “did I make the right decision?”, “do I still love this person?”, “can I get over this person?”, and it’s making you go literally insane. So the title and chorus is: you’re going mental (crazy), while being sentimental about this past relationship. I think it’s really cool that this concept is represented with parentheses around “mental” in the title sentimental; my genius co-writer Hannah Schaefer came up with it! Is there an extra sentimental song you want to share about on Self Titled? I think two of the songs that are really close to me on ‘Self Titled’ are “Cumbria” and “Last Flight”. “Cumbria” is a place in England where I had one of my foreign flings in 2017. I had just landed in the US, and as soon as I got home from the airport, I wrote “Cumbria” about what he had said to me before I got on the plane. He said that “It’s for the best that you’re going home” so I wanted to make that my chorus. I wrote this song before I even went into the pop genre; I was a folk artist at the time and this song was my favorite of all the songs I had ever written. Fast forward to 2020-2021 while making the album - I didn’t know what “Cumbria” was going to sound like as a pop song but I absolutely love how it came out! I cried when my producer sent me the first mix. This song is really near and dear to me off of ‘Self Titled’ because it’s the only song on the album that I didn’t have any co-writers on; I completely wrote it myself. I remember being in the studio while writing “Last Flight” with Jess Cates and my producer Nick Schwarz, and I just knew it was going to be my favorite song on the album. I feel so connected to everything about this song; when I hear it I can see images in my head. “Last Flight” is just really representative of me and I just love it so much. Where can we stream it? You can stream all of the songs on my album ‘Self Titled’ on Spotify, Apple Music, and any other streaming service that exists! I would absolutely love to know what your favorite song is!! DM me on Instagram! Listen to Self Titled on your streaming platform of choice HERE Spotify Apple YouTube Bandcamp