If you have not listened to Irene Diaz’s new EP, Live, released in May, you should. Give it a spin even if you are a fan and know all the songs – especially if you are a fan and know all the songs. If you are not yet a fan of Irene Diaz, it is time to join the adoring legions who follow her. With over 2 million streams of her songs on Spotify, Diaz is one of the most unique and most brilliant artists in today’s music scene.
Live is what it’s name implies, four live versions of songs she has recorded and released earlier: “Another Observer”, “You”, “My Sweetest Sin”, and “ I Love You Madly”. Not included is her 2016 hit “Crazy Love”, which has been streamed 1.4 million times and, back when we had live music, drew crowds to her LA-based concerts from as far away as San Diego and Santa Barbara.
Although Diaz was named Best Jazz Singer, Female, by the LA Music Critic group in 2017, she calls her music love songs. Whatever you call them, the four songs on the Live EP present her unique melodies of love, ecstasy, and heartbreak with a degree of personal intimacy not found in the sometimes more orchestrated- and still superb – studio recordings.
“Another Observer – Live Version”, written by Diaz, her partner Carolyn Cardoza, and Alejandro and Demian Jimenez is a tortured but poetic journey through a heart in the pain of unrequited love through a mind knows all she can do is watch. Her voice moves from the edge of tears to the urgency of desperation while she struggles to gain control. The only other element of the song, a piano is extraordinary both in its precision and is penetration of your heart.
The second song, “You -Live Version”, written by the same team is also Diaz and her piano in a pure musical adventure as she modulates her voice from conversational to almost an operatic lilt telling us she “was always one to do what she was told,” and never knew she “could be so bold” as to assert herself in a love affair. The song is pure joy that demands replay, and, as with the EP’s other songs, is enriched by being just Irene’s and her piano without the orchestration of the studio recordings.
In the Live version of “My Sweetest Sin”, her 2013 hit , Diaz brings us a different voice, a more sultry, more personal, more determined inflection. This is Diaz in her most unadulterated form, putting you in the room with her when she is in the mood for love. There is nothing like it.
The final song, “I Love You Madly – Live Version”, also from 2013 and written by Diaz and Carolyn Cardoza, switches from the piano to the guitar. Her voice has a kind of curl to it that makes it interesting and arresting – and more mature than in the original version. But, as she accelerates the guitar strum, she modulates her voice, moving up octaves to deepen the emotion and the depth.
Live was recorded live at a Hollywood hotel with a professional sound crew, allow for the intimacy of a live performance, but the quality of a studio product. It belongs in every Irene Diaz fan’s collection or playlist, and is a portal to the glorious world of Irene Diaz love songs for those who have not yet had the pleasure. Stream Live, then go to the studio recordings and immerse yourself in the many joys of pure Irene Diaz.
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