Madi Diaz defines her music as “Singer/songwriter with teeth that bite.” Connecticut-born, and Pennsylvania-raised, the current Nashville resident gnashes those teeth in her new single, “Woman In My Heart.” Released June 9, the rock-leaning traces her experience learning how to part with a romantic partner.
She insists that slow-burning anthem wrote itself. “All I really did was open my mouth and put it down,” Diaz tells American Songwriter in an interview. Penning this song was part of a critical healing process for the heartbroken artist, and one of the many reasons she returns to the practice repeatedly.
“I love trying to track down a feeling,” she says. “I love trying to put into words and describe an experience and the transformation and the process of it. And I also love that I never really know what a song is until it’s done. The song always becomes what it’s meant to be all by itself and I’m just the one on the other end of the line.”
Her best advice to fellow songwriters is to write everything down — big or seemingly small. In doing so, she finds her best ideas emerge when she’s least expecting them to. “Woman In My Heart,” she says, was bred from a waking dream in the process of a devastating break up. By throwing her emotions onto paper, she paved a path for herself through the pain.
“I would never tell someone how to feel about my songs or any song for that matter,” she clarifies. “I’m just hoping that it moves people and touches on a part of their story as much as it does mine. I hope people feel like we’re sharing some sort of knowing or familiarity, like a sort of, oh I see you, I know that—I feel that.”
“Woman In My Heart” is her fourth release ahead of her upcoming album, History Of A Feeling — due August 27 via ANTI-.
Diaz started working on History Of A Feeling three years ago before collaborating with co-producer Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver).t’s a homecoming record of sorts that points to her Nashville songwriting roots. Akin to the singer-songwriter spirit of her influences like Patty Griffin and Lori McKenna as PJ Harvey and Kathleen Hanna, History Of A Feeling is comprised of the most direct and introspective songs Diaz has ever written.
Following “New Person, Old Place” and “Man In Me,” the artist’s previous single, “Nervous,” set the tone here as it unravels the recognition of unhealthy coping mechanisms and relationship patterns within her own life.
“You know when you hold a mirror up to a mirror and you get an infinite amount of reflections from every angle? That’s what ‘Nervous’ is about,” says Diaz. “It’s when you’re in a loop of looking at yourself from every vantage point until you’re caught up in your own tangled web of bullshit. It’s about catching yourself acting out your crazy and you’re finally self-aware enough to see it, but you’re still out of your body enough and curious enough to watch yourself do it.”
Throughout, she seamlessly weaves a profound sense of intimacy and camaraderie as her lyrics are relatable to anyone who has experienced heartbreak and great change in some manner. These universals are shaded by the fact that the relationship breakdown Diaz is chronicling coincided with her former partner transitioning, a complex reckoning Diaz approaches with empathy, candor, and care.
“The bulk of this music came from dealing with a kind of tsunami clash of compassion, both for my former partner while she was discovering a deeper part of her gender identity long hidden, and my own raw heartache over having lost the partner I knew,” Diaz says. “I felt so torn through the middle because half of me wanted to hold this person through such a major life event, one that is so beautiful and hard, and the other half felt lost—like I had lost myself in someone else’s story.”
“Woman In My Heart,” is a bold step forward into her process of healing. Her haunting vocals build verse-by-verse, reflecting the construction of towering strength she exhibits in her full-bodied instrumentation. Navigating this new frontier, Diaz faces change with candid grace, allowing space for the listeners’ unique stories within her own.
Directed by Diaz and Jordan Bellamy, the untreated music video captures raw footage of the artist exploring the uncharted territory of a rugged Colorado landscape. Diaz explains, “Stumbling in the dark in old abandoned gold mines, whispering to horses at 9500 feet and digging relentlessly, all of these physical motions called out to us as a signal in a desperate attempt to unearth the truth.”
Watch the music video for “Woman In My Heart,” directed by Jordan Bellamy, below. Pre-save History Of A Feeling here.
Photo (Video Still) by Jordan Bellamy