It’s not every day a new artist gets a shoutout from Ariana Grande’s mom but when Vancouver songwriter DARI aka Dari Marshall dropped her debut single, “is it my mood,” last month, Joan Grande was one of the first people to take to social media to sing her praises. “Just listened to your new single…and I LOVE it,” Grande tweeted. “Everyone support this wonderful new artist.”
Fresh out of music school with a soulful voice that hits you right where it counts, Marshall’s first foray into the R&B pop world sounds like an instant hit and leaves you wanting more. With introspective and relatable lyrics complemented by a radio-friendly groove from a bygone era, Marshall is clearly skilled at bringing together catchy hooks with mature sounds. Drawing comparisons to artists like Ariana Grande herself, Julia Michaels, and even Feist, Marshall is working hard with local producer Jeremiah Gowen to cultivate a sound that is uniquely her own.
A pop star in the making, DARI is definitely an artist to watch and we’re looking forward to hearing where she takes her music next. We caught up with her to talk about the new song and how Mama Grande came to hear her debut.
How long have you been singing and writing music?
I’ve been singing my whole life, I always was the one in my family to dance and sing all the time. I think I wrote my first song when I was 11 about a boy who picked another girl over me. It was about how I needed to express my feelings before it was too late, lol. Once I went to music school I started becoming more serious about my voice and my music.
When did you realize you wanted to be a songwriter?
I really love how music brings people together and how someone else can say exactly what you’re feeling through a song. I want to make art that makes people feel something and even though I think my lyrics can be a bit basic at some points I think they are still very real and relatable and honest and I love that about the songs I write.
Who are some artists that you like listening to and look up to?
My list of artists is continually changing and growing but if I had to pick the few that have stood out and impacted me and my musical journey the most, I would say Ariana Grande, HER, Jazmine Sullivan, Maddie King, and Aretha Franklin.
What was it like working with young producer Jeremiah Gowen? Who is he and what’s he all about?
Jeremiah is honestly my brain and heart in another human. He will take any idea I have and make it 1000 times better. He knows me so well and we’ve only known each other for a few years but I adore working with him and I don’t ever want that to end. He is an extremely talented bass player and mixing engineer, and has ears like an elephant which makes him amazing at music production. He lets me be super involved in the recording, editing, mixing process, which I appreciate, and teaches me so much every time we create together. I would not be where I am or would have released the songs I have without him that’s for sure.
As a fan of Ariana Grande, it must have been really exciting getting a shout out from her mom, Joan Grande. How did that come about?
My father and his crazy connections! They know each other through their work and my dad sent her my single “is it my mood” for her to listen to and she ended up tweeting about it on Twitter to her 500k followers. It blew my mind, I was so surprised and so thankful. She said a lot of really kind words about it. It was probably the best thing to wake up to so far and the coolest thing to happen to me.
Do you have any other Ariana stories that you’d like to share?
I’ve met Ariana twice now at the Dangerous Woman tour and the Sweetener world tour, and both times have left me completely speechless. She is kind and hilarious. My two best friends and I all have matching rings and so when we met her we showed her and she showed us her rings and it was a really cool personal connection that we all shared. I was front row and in the pit for both shows and it really is so amazing to watch her so closely being the incredible performer and vocalist she is.
What are some things that you want people to know about you as an emerging songwriter who is just getting started?
To know that I’m working my ass off as most musicians are, and that even the smallest amount of support to newer artists like myself is so helpful and greatly appreciated. There is a lot of time and soul put into each track and I want people to be able to feel that when they listen to my music.
Is your debut single going to be part of a larger project or what are your plans musically for the future?
I wrote “is it my mood” over a year and a half ago and made so many versions of it I can’t even count anymore. I am already working on the next single that will be out at the end of summer and then who knows what will happen next. I definitely will release an album in the future but haven’t created a distinct timeline for that. Anything can happen from this point forward.
By Stephan Boissonneault
With fresh folklore in abundance, the east coast songwriter’s sophomore offering is a classic tribute to his beloved province.