Episode 161: Mia Dyson
Air date: 6.1.2016
Saying that you are famous in a faraway country is both a punchline and a ruse used by many performers to cover for a lackluster career at home. Australia’s Mia Dyson was born the daughter of a blues musician and guitar luthier, and she made the jump from listening to her parents’ well-curated record collection to being an established singer, songwriter and guitarist by the time she was 22 years old. Her formative years were spent in a bucolic beach community outside of Melbourne; not the usual breeding ground for the gutsy blues and roots music that would make her famous in her homeland. Her debut album, Cold Water, created enough buzz to send her on international tours to several continents where she played major festivals, sat in with the Mothers of Invention and opened for Ani DiFranco in New York’s Central Park. Back home, she supported Eric Clapton on a sold out Australian tour and was making a respectable living as a musician. But the allure of success in the US was a siren call, so Dyson moved to Boston and established some American roots while continuing to tour relentlessly. As her reputation grew, more opportunities came her way, and Dyson stuck to her guns when choosing her path. It takes a gutsy artist to leave a situation with a famous producer on the table, but that’s just what Dyson did when a project with Eurythmics mastermind producer Dave Stewart didn’t feel right to her. Her powerful raspy voice, clever and catchy songs and facile, assured guitar playing make Dyson a unique performer in a world of cookie-cutter female pop stars - and audiences can sense that they’re witnessing the real deal when she steps to the mic and lays into a powerful yell over a muscular guitar lick. Now based in Los Angeles, Mia Dyson continues to make waves in the States, while still retaining a high enough profile to return to Australia to go on successful tours to subsidize her conquest of America. She’s big in Japan, so to speak, and that’s the best of both worlds.