One of the most picturesque places one could ever visit in the whole state of California is where Diana Hickman once called home; Santa Barbara. A cozy city that feels more like a comfortable town, the beaches peaceful, the weather never horrendous. She traded that in though for the sights and sounds of New York City, which if you’re going to head east – that’s the place to lay your roots. All the while though whether it was here or there, music was by her side. A collection of soulful tunes that helped shape her own sound from Erykah Badu to Lauryn Hill. She even had a little rebel in her as she cranked up Joplin. Now she’s about a month out from dropping her debut EP, South of Your Thoughts, and gearing up for what’ll be a jam packed summer.
Kendra: Your debut and lead single share the same name, “South of Your Thoughts.” I want to assume that makes this one pretty meaningful. With that, are you prepared to sing this song in your set 20 years down the line?
Diana Hickman: I think that song is playful enough to be interpreted in a range of ways, so I can imagine how it wouldn’t be entirely unpleasant to still be playing it 20 years from now.
Kendra: What is the significance of that tune by the way?
Diana: Lyrically it’s about investigating the origins of our thinking patterns. I like to think of it as an encouragement towards being present to that nice peaceful place beneath uncertainty. The music is kind of mysterious, exploratory, and fun, which is what searching our minds should ideally be. I’m about to put out a music video for this song, and I hope this idea comes across.
Kendra: I noticed you love both yoga and science. One is very spiritual while the other is factual. A nice balance in life, but do you try and bring that same balance when it comes to your music between the pop and sort of R&B flavors?
Diana: Can I just say how excited I was to read that Pope Francis made a statement about the big bang theory not being in contradiction with the role of a divine creator? I love that, I think science and spirituality have been at odds with each other unnecessarily, and I can see how the blending and acceptance of the two worlds could ultimately be the best conclusion humans have ever come to. I hope that concept can be better embraced in our future. Anyway, I really don’t at all think to “try” to bring any Pop/R&B balance to my music. Kinda like my point with South of Your Thoughts, it’s certainly not a heady choice, I use my musical gut and watch how the song unfolds.
Kendra: I also noticed you have a musical theater background. What play do you feel your debut would be a great, modern soundtrack for and why?
Diana: I love your questions! For years I felt I was destined to write a musical, and maybe I still will, but I’d want it to be an outside of the box mix of theater and music. I think my personality and music could best be suited for a performance like Cirque Du Soleil. Their shows are of the most inspiring and magical I’ve ever witnessed, so I would be thrilled to have my music combined with their aesthetic.
Kendra: New music usually means some sort of touring. Will you be heading out on the road this year?
Diana: I will! It’s looking like June will be road trip time on the East Coast: Philly, DC, spots in North Carolina and Virginia, maybe all the way to Nashville. And then July will be Pacific Northwest: Oregon, Washington, and Northern California. In the works!
Kendra: Going off your track “Go Time,” if you had to make a mixtape featuring songs that are perfect to listen to while getting ready to go out, what five would have to be on it?