It’s hard to describe Dianna Corcoran as a “new” artist, as she’s a well-established star in her native Australia, complete with #1 albums and songs and plenty of awards. However, Corcoran is taking 2016 to introduce herself and her five-octave vocal range to American audiences with a new album, appropriately titled In America, on Krian Music Group/Universal Music.
“In Australia I’ve had great success, and people love country music there, but no one loves country music like America,” Corcoran says. She’s no stranger to the U.S., as she’s lived in Nashville for four years and has recorded several albums here. She says she fell in love with Nashville when she first arrived, but the city’s reputation as Music City also helps with her pop songwriting career.
“Even though I am a country artist, I can explore every avenue of what I do behind the scenes as well,” she says.
All of Corcoran’s musical sensibilities are in evidence on In America. The opening track and lead single, “God Did Good,” opens with thunderous drums and an engaging pop-country sound. At the other end of the country music spectrum is the more traditional “Thank You for Cheating on Me,” a hit in Australia that Corcoran thought would find an audience in the U.S. as well. As a whole, In America helps introduce Corcoran to a new audience and helps to explain all the accolades she’s received in her home country.
Corcoran co-wrote every song on the album, working with established hitmakers like Gary Burr, Trey Bruce and Kristian Bush. She says that most of her songs are based on her past experiences or feelings.
“I don’t write anything that I can’t relate to, personally,” she says. “I think there’s only one song on there that was not the idea that I brought to the table. I usually had part of a chorus already written, and I’d be happy to share it with these amazing songwriters because I know they would help me tell my story in a better way, and that is what’s important.”
“God Did Good” was written with Bush and Jeff Cohen, and it came about after an attempted compliment from Corcoran’s husband.
“My husband is actually German, and some of his English can be clunky at times,” she says, laughing. “He was trying to tell me that God has done a good job in putting me together, and I sort of translated it for him.”
“Thank You for Cheating on Me” (written with Rebecca Lynn Howard and Rachel Thibodeau) was a #1 hit in Australia, and she decided to add it to her American debut as well. The song, also based on a true story, was her version of a cheating song, but without any bitterness involved.
“I believe that everything happens for a reason, and when I walked away from that situation after he cheated me, I ended up with a much better person,” Corcoran says. It’s quirky, it’s fun, it’s very up-tempo and not bitter, and that was the goal. I think that’s why it was such a success in Australia, and when I sing it here in America, it also translates. I couldn’t not share it.”
Corcoran produced all but one song on the album, and while In America sounds clean and professional, it hasn’t been Autotuned and polished to within an inch of its life. Corcoran wanted to present an authentic experience, and part of that meant leaving things alone.
“There are some flaws in the vocals that I just left there, because that’s how I sung it,” she says.
Other choices in the album show her preference for authenticity. “Not Ready to Lose” was written with Burr, and instead of bringing in an established name as a duet partner, she sang it with Burr — a fine vocalist in his own right, but someone more known for his writing abilities. The closing song, “A Better Me,” is the raw version that Corcoran recorded on her iPhone immediately after writing it with Jeremy Spillman.
“When I was listening to that little recording, I thought that if I tried to produce this, I’m going to ruin it. It was meant to be this vulnerable,” she explains. “I wrote it in a broken heart state, and the way that I sung it and the way that it was played is the way that it needs to go to the audience, because it’s real. I ended up just literally slapping that iPhone recording to the end of the record.
“It may not be the most perfect vocal in the world, but it was real, and that’s exactly how it was sung,” she adds.
Corcoran has traveled through the U.S. for radio promotion and played some shows, but she hasn’t had a proper tour yet. She hopes to change that in 2016, once the album is released. She’s also ready to fight the challenge that female artists face on mainstream radio, as evidenced by this summer’s Saladgate debate. It’s a situation that she says doesn’t exist in Australia.
“Radio will play you no matter if you’re male or female. In fact, if they were to hear about that scenario, they’d probably laugh and think that you were joking,” she says. “But, I’ve spoken to so many major radio people here that say it’s not true. If it sounds great, they’re going to play it. So it doesn’t scare me one little bit.”
In America will be released on January 29, 2016. The album can be streamed here: http://bit.ly/1PjYmkE