dia maté’s new single “Fantasy” is a dreamy ballad in three-quarter time, and it marks a new stage in this singer-songwriter’s musical odyssey. The song is a collaboration between dia and Fern., who worked with her on one of her previous singles, “One of the Boys.” The single will be released on January 28, 2022 by Island Records Philippines on major streaming services. Fern. produced the song and dia worked on it at Kindred Studios and at home.
dia says that “Fantasy” started with a beat Fern sent her in May 2021, before the release of her first EP with Island. Fern., her collaborator on this track, says that it was a beat that was meant for another project that fell through, so he made her listen to and saw potential in it. She started working on a song to match the beat immediately.
dia composed most of “Fantasy” during her sessions at Kindred Studios while working on “One Of The Boys” Fern. and his colleague Cavill helped her with its development, and she recorded part of it on a dynamic mic for the song’s demo. Eventually, she completed and recorded the track at home because the studio was closed during lockdown late last year. Fern. says that the production process was “so chill because dia and I are friends already so making a track like this was just really easy for us”.
Here is how dia describes the song:
“Fantasy” is about falling deeply in love at a time when you least expect it and being uncertain what the future will hold. Though we may think we are confident in our abilities to survive alone, deep down humans are in need of companionship. Thus, we create fantasies in order to fill a void and cling to people that can help us overcome loneliness. The challenge is where to draw the line between fantasy and reality. And if it is indeed real, how far will you go to make the relationship work?
dia adds that she hopes that this song can connect with people because, she says, “falling in love at an unexpected time can be something a lot of us can relate to.” The song, she says, can be a comfort and a reminder for everyone, her included, that the song’s situation can happen to them. “As a song for all types of emotions,” she says, “it can be open to any interpretation. Fantasies can be real too.”
When we asked dia about her musical odyssey so far, she says, “The people I work with, my new friends, and even old friends that support my journey have motivated me to create and continue improving my craft. Now, I am so excited for what’s to come and I can’t wait for everybody to be there with me.”
ABOUT DIA MATE
dia maté wants you to feel the music
“Music is my therapy,” dia maté says. Her emotional experiences, especially sadness, find their place in her music. “When I’m sad, the best music comes out of me.” Much of her music to date comes from that place, and her first single, “Hearts Hate Me,” is one good example.
The sound of this song, produced by CRWN, betrays those emotional currents. Over a gentle 3⁄4 rhythm, the song paints a picture of love forsaken, and as the chorus builds to its climactic lyric: “my heart officially hates me,” there is the sense that she wants us to feel the pain with her. As it abruptly ends when we expect to hear a resolution, we feel the sense that the story is not quite over.
dia started her musical journey thanks to the influence of her mother’s side of the family, who often performed music. At the age of seven, she persuaded her mother to enroll her in piano lessons. She was envious of her friends, who would often come up and play the classroom piano. She continued learning the piano up until high school. And when the ukulele craze came about, she began to learn that instrument. She then ended up learning the guitar after that.
dia’s first public performance was at a mall recital, where she was asked to sing. The song was “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt. She felt a great deal of stage fright on that occasion, but she eventually overcame her fear of performing. She realized that performing itself would help cure the fright. “I just need to go on the stage and sing,” she says, and the terror would go away.
Two significant sets of influences drive this musical journey that dia is on. Her primary genre of choice is R&B, and she is very fond of the music of Frank Ocean, Daniel Caesar, UMI, SZA, and H.E.R. She also finds value in indie pop and rock thanks to her father, and two of the biggest names on her list is Dave Matthews (and his namesake band) and Norah Jones. dia says that she couldn’t sleep without Jones’ distinctive, soothing voice serenading her when she was very young.
It is the lyricism of R&B that has the strongest influence on her music, dia says. “You don’t really have to listen to the lyrics to feel the emotion in the song,” she says, “If you listen to the instrumentation, some of the words, the melodies, you know what they’re going for. And that’s what I really want to put out in my music as well.” However, like another young musician, Billie Eilish, she does not want to be pigeonholed into one genre or another. Her music aims to draw as many people as she could into the emotional palette she paints. “I just love making music that’s music,” she says, “as long as it sounds good.”
It is, therefore, not hard to find that common thread between dia’s music and the art and fashion in which she also has some interest. She became interested in fashion and art in her middle school years, where she started drawing and sketching. The reality TV fashion competition Project Runway was also a big deal for her, which whetted her interest. She met her best friend through a drawing class they took in a fashion school together. However, when she had to choose between art and music as she completed her International Baccalaureate diploma, she chose music.
Apart from fashion and music, sports and fitness are another passion dia has. She has pursued many sports over the years, including tennis, volleyball, figure skating, snowboarding, and most recently, surfing. She began, however, to consciously pursue fitness training through the popular fitness regimen CrossFit, and she says that she found the people she trained with at the Habitat Fitness gym
supportive. “They really push you,” she says, “and you can’t slack.” Fitness is another shared interest she has with her father, to whom she is quite close.
dia is on the verge of releasing “Hearts Hate Me” through Island Records Philippines, and she praises the label for letting her pursue her musical journey on her terms. “Island’s a very pro-artist label,” she says, “they really support the music that I want to make. They don’t force me to sound a specific way.” As local music’s next It Girl, dia says, “I just hope that...people will enjoy my music, and add it to their playlists, and just really connect. That’s important. I want them to connect with what I’m trying to put out. And for them to relate with me. Because I think of my music as raw, and relatable, and real.”
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Stream “Fantasy” on all music streaming platforms!