The Nashville alt pop artist Daniela Mason transforms into a robot in order to become “Human” in a retrofuturistic short, announcing a new sound series beginning September 21st, Daniella Mason thrives in the in-between. A Nashville-based singer-songwriter who’s penned hits for Nick Jonas and toured with the likes of Demi Lovato and DNCE, she’s no stranger to pop commerciality— her debut full-length record even dropped last October to some nice commercial buzz of her own, earning spots on Popjustice’s “Top Singles of 2017” list, V Magazine, and Billboard, to name a few. But it’s Mason’s left-of-center musicianship and distinct powerhouse vocals that afford her credit in tastemaker and alternative spaces, as well. And it’s within that spectrum that Mason unveils her latest musical project and newest single, “Human.”
Premiering with a retrofuturistic short released on Refinery29, the Motke Dapp-directed music video sees Mason transforming into a robot in order to discover what it means to be human.
“Human‘ was born out of an experience last year where I was working constantly, keeping my head down, clocking 90 hour weeks,” Mason explains. “My husband always had the perfect timing of poking his head into my studio and asking me to dinner or simply sitting with me as I worked, and that human connection would always shake me from my work trance. One night I said to him, ‘You remind me that I’m not a machine.’ I wrote it down because I knew it would come back around. And as it usually unfolds, the song ended up having an even deeper meaning because it tells the larger story of how we’ve both become so much more alive, so much more human, because we decided to be vulnerable with each other. Neither of us are naturally inclined to be that way, so our daily choice to expose the things we’re tempted to hide is truly the most beautiful of all of the journeys we’ve been on together.”
And it’s Mason’s seemingly robot-like work ethic that appears to have gotten her this far. She prides herself on being a completely independent artist— writing, playing, and producing; doing all of her own graphic designing; directing and editing her music videos; styling all of her own photo shoots. But in business, Mason felt pressure to put aside emotions in order to be seen as a professional for the sake of furthering her career— a sentiment echoed in the feelings of many of her female colleagues. However, this new project finds her scrapping that mentality in favor of celebrating the vulnerabilities that we’re told to squash if we want to be respected, reveling in susceptibility.
With her new EP, Emotional State (due September 21st), Mason touches on themes that are largely universal and still uniquely personal. Topics like the loss of her mother (“Morning Mourning”) and the catharsis of crying in public (“Public Places”) are thoughtfully examined over a boutique production style that has listeners simultaneously contemplating complexities and getting lost in the beat.
The new record stands as one of four EPs that she’ll be releasing over the course of the next year as part of her State of Mine sound series. Each album— Emotional State, Physical State, Mental State, and Spiritual State— will explore the different parts of our humanity that we tend to suppress and have difficulty exploring and embracing. And her first single, the aptly titled “Human,” perfectly encapsulates that kickoff.
“This is by far the least competitive I’ve ever been with a project,” Mason admits. “I’ve always been a storyteller, but I often let expectations creep in and disrupt the process. With this project, I purposefully waited to put my business hat on until after the creative process was finished, allowing things to unfold organically, uninterrupted. It’s been a new experience for me, and I hope these EPs continue to reveal more and more of what’s been hidden.”