On Stage; Diamante shining as new rock diva

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Diamante

If there is a pantheon for rock deities, the section for powerful female rock goddesses would surely include artists such as Debbie Harry, Pat Benatar, Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson, Avril Lavigne and PJ Harvey.

There would also be a special section for hard rock lady deities featuring acts such as Joan Jett, The Great Kat, Vixen’s Janet Gardner and Jan Kuehnemund, Cherie Currie, Wendy O. Williams and Lita Ford.

Sooner or later, another luminary will join the group. Right now, she is just getting started.

Her name is Diamante and she just released her long-awaited debut album “Coming in Hot” via Eleven Seven Music Group/Better Noise Records.

On June 18, Diamante will present a live introduction of the new songs to area fans.

From June 4-July 7, E7LG (Eleven Seven Label Group) is presenting the “What’s In Your Head Tour” featuring three of its acts – headliner Bad Wolves, From Ashes To New and special opening act Diamante. The tour will touch down locally on June 18 at the Chameleon Club (223 North Water Street, Lancaster, 717-299-9684, http://www.chameleonclub.net)

With her edgy style, sultry vocals, pop sensibility, and unabashed swagger, the Mexican-Italian-American solo artist draws from myriad influences.

The album, which follows two digital collections, features the viral title track and the lead single “Had Enough,” which garnered more than 1.5 million streams across platforms and more than five million collective streams on YouTube.

Diamante released her first record in 2014 and met with immediate success. This year, she is motoring ahead with the pedal to the metal.

In January, she released a single — “Had Enough” — that was accompanied by a lyric video in which she channeled Superman. Originally recorded by Lower Than Atlantis, her version of “Had Enough” turns the song into an empowerment anthem.

In February, Diamante’s sultry and show-stopping video for “Coming In Hot” crossed one million YouTube streams. Shot on location in Palm Springs, California, the video used an all-female team to create the ultimate gal-pal road trip video – a video that paid homage to the classic movie “Thelma and Louise.”

In May, Diamante released “Volume II,” a collection of songs from the unreleased-at-the-time “Coming In Hot.” It featured the viral title track and four previously unreleased tracks — “Black Heart,” “I’m Sorry,” “Kind of Love” and a cover of Heart’s “Crazy On You.”

Additionally, Diamante teamed up with Bad Wolves as a guest vocalist on their latest single “Hear Me Now”. The official music video has garnered over 2.5 million views since its release and peaked at Number Three on the iTunes Rock Charts.

On June 15, Diamante celebrated the official release of “Coming In Hot.”

“This album took two years of my life,” said Diamante, during a phone interview Thursday from a tour stop in Portland, Maine.

“I wrote and recorded it in California. I didn’t write with band members. Instead, I’d write with different musicians and different producers. I’ve always been a solo artist, so it made sense to co-write.”

Loaded with ideas, Diamante headed into the studio to record her full-length debut, “Coming In Hot” with super producer Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Chris Cornell, Halestorm, Kelly Clarkson), who claimed, “Diamante is the only true heir to the female rock throne that has been vacant since Joan Jett’s heyday.”

“I hooked up with Howard through my record label,” said Diamante. “The first time I went to his studio, I was a scared 19-year-old girl. It didn’t take long to get comfortable and we developed a good working relationship.

“The vibe of the album is 80’s flair. My mom was a big fan of Pat Benatar and Madness and other music from that time. She played that music a lot and that’s how I got exposed to it. It’s always been my favorite era.”

Born to an Italian dad and Mexican mom in a Boston suburb, Diamante always stood out.

Interchangeably speaking three languages (Italian, Spanish, English), she found inspiration in words, and, at a young age, was writing poetry and short stories inspired by J.K. Rowling and Stephen King. Drawn to musical theater, she starred in school productions of “The Little Mermaid,” “Grease” and more.

“We lived in Newton, Massachusetts and then my family moved to Los Angeles when I was 13,” said Diamante. “My mother was tired of living where there was snow. We even lived in Mexico City for a while when I was 16. My mom is Mexican and my dad is an Italian who was born in Rome.”

Already a fan of Kelly Clarkson and Avril Lavigne as a teen living in L.A., Diamante’s discovery of rock music via a School of Rock summer program ignited a dormant passion.

“That School of Rock Camp was a defining point,” said Diamante. “I got introduced to a lot of great music – Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks, Led Zeppelin, Blondie. After that, I started playing shows – opening slots — at the Whisky-A-Go-Go and The Roxy. I also played shows in Anaheim and got to hear ska and punk.

“My very first gig was at the Whisky-A-Go-Go when I was 14. I also made my first single – “Impossible” – when I was 14. I did a few more singles and then released my first EP – ‘Dirty Blonde’ – when I was 17. The big single off that EP was ‘Bite Your Lips.’”

Diamante spent those years quietly cutting her teeth at local gigs on the Sunset Strip as a singular musical vision came into focus. A disciple of both Pink and Guns N’ Roses who doesn’t fall into rock star excess or even sport tattoos, she devoted every waking minute to honing a signature “classic rock sound with a modern alternative edge.”

This unique and undeniable approach caught the attention of Eleven Seven Music Group and Better Noise Records who signed her in 2015. Now, three years later, the label and the artist are celebrating with an album that stands apart from the rest – an LP that rocks hard on a plateau all its own.

According to Diamante, “This album is my introduction to the world as an artist. Howard was the one who pushed me to vulnerable and tell my story through my music. I’m finally showing the world who I am. Through all my faults, flaws, insecurities in my lyrics, I want people to be able to relate to that.”

“Coming In Hot” accomplishes just what its title says. It rocks hard enough to move listeners physically and it has enough lyrical depth to keep listeners interested from the opening note to the very end.

“I recorded the album with Howard at his main studio in Woodland Hills and his in-house studio in Calabasas from early 2016 to late 2017,” said Diamante, whose name means “diamond” in Spanish.

“I’d write and record at the same time. I write mostly on acoustic guitar. The writing depended on who was in the room with me. I like to just talk and get an overall theme.

“People are itching for something different. When I hear guitar on a Top 40 hit, I get excited. I like songs that rock, and I have a touring band – two guitars, bass and drums — that rocks. My mission in life is to bring rock-and-roll back to the people.”

Following this tour, Diamante will be once again joining Bad Wolves on the road with Five Finger Death Punch, Breaking Benjamin, and Nothing More to perform “Hear Me Now” on a massive summer amphitheater tour which will make a local stop on August 16 at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey.

Video link for Diamante – https://youtu.be/jXzG_6E1lAs

Bad Wolves

Bad Wolves – Tommy Vext, vocals; John Boecklin, drums; Chris Cain, guitar; Doc Coyle, guitar; Kyle Konkiel, bass — are also touring in support of a new album on Eleven Seven. The band released its debut record “Disobey” on May 11.

Bad Wolves came into existence as a band in 2017 in Southern California with vocalist Tommy Vext (ex-Divine Heresy, ex-Snot), drummer John Boecklin (ex-DevilDriver), lead guitarist Doc Coyle (ex-God Forbid), rhythm guitarist Chris Cain (ex-Bury Your Dead, ex-For the Fallen Dreams) and bassist Kyle Konkiel (ex-In This MomentVimic). The group is managed by Zoltan Bathory of Five Finger Death Punch.

“The band is based in Los Angeles,” said Coyle, during a phone interview Tuesday from a tour stop in Syracuse, New York. “The members are from all over but we’re in L.A. now.

“I’m from New Jersey – from New Brunswick. I started going to hardcore shows when I was 16. My father played piano and my mother sang but they never pushed music on me. I got into music by osmosis. My brother and I got into guitar at the same time. I was a comic book illustrator and liked the idea of creative freedom. Music came more naturally than drawing.

“Things started small and became an obsession. I was listening Guns N Roses, Metallica, Megadeth. I was a child of the MTV generation and then the guitar stuff grabbed my attention – shows like Headbangers Ball.”

Coyle and his older brother Dallas Coyle joined the Central Jersey-based heavy metal band God Forbid in 1996. Coyle stayed with the band until 2013 while his brother left the group in 2009.

“God Forbid was a basement band we were in when we were in school,” said Coyle. “It was good refuge for me and my brother. I was in that band half my life – from when I was 16 until when I quit in 2013 when I was 32. We made six albums and toured the world.

“After I left God Forbid, I moved to L.A. to give music a second shot. When I was moving out, Devil Driver gave me a ride to L.A. John (Boecklin) was living there and he left Devil Driver to form his own band. In 2016, John and Tommy were putting Bad Wolves together and John was putting down hints that he wanted me to join. John and Tommy were the driving forces.”

In May 2017, Bad Wolves released their debut single, “Learn to Live.”

“Once we released ‘Learn to Live,’ things started to take off,” said Coyle. “We put that single out a little more than a year ago and that launched it. We put out the video for the single and I went crazy. The feedback was overwhelming.

“We had been turned down by a lot of labels prior to that. After the video broke, labels were coming to us. We listened to what hey had to say and signed a deal with Eleven Seven.”

Earlier this year, Bad Wolves received a lot of attention when they released a cover of The Cranberries’ classic hit “Zombie” as a tribute to the Cranberries’ late frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan.

O’Riordan had agreed to reprise her iconic vocals on the track which was being covered by Bad Wolves. She was scheduled to record with the band on the day of her tragic passing.

In an exclusive statement, O’Riordan’s UK Publicist Lindsey Holmes, provided further insight into what the Irish singer thought of Bad Wolves’ version of the track: “Dolores was excited about plans to guest vocal on a cover version of her all time classic “Zombie” by American rock band Bad Wolves. Although very different in style to the original, Dolores said she thought that the cover “was killer” and she was intrigued by the simple but effective couple of lyric changes that make the cover version as relevant to current world events as the original was to the events that inspired her to write the song in the early nineties.”

“Doing the project with Dolores O’Riordan was Tommy’s idea,” said Coyle. “It was her idea to sing on the track. But, she passed away.”

According to Vext, “Her lyrics, confronting the collateral damage of political unrest, capture the same sentiment we wanted to express a quarter-century later. That is a testament to the kind of enduring artist Dolores was, and will remain forever.”

Originally released in 1994 following the IRA bombing of Warrington, The Cranberries’ “Zombie” hit #1 across the globe, including on the Billboard Alternative Songs charts. The song returned to the top ten on the US Rock Charts shortly after news of her passing was announced.

That same week Bad Wolves released their version of “Zombie” in her honor.

In just four weeks, the cover has garnered over 3 Million combined streams (across YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music) and continues to climb the charts. Bad Wolves “Zombie” is currently Top-20 at U.S. Rock Radio and sits atop rock and metal iTunes charts around the world.

All proceeds from track donated to lead singer Dolores O’Riordan’s three children.

“The idea to donate the money to her kids was a prerequisite to releasing it,” said Coyle. “We wanted to take something tragic and make something good.”

Video link for Bad Wolves – https://youtu.be/9XaS93WMRQQ.

Video link for Bad Wolves with Diamante – https://youtu.be/M38aWHxwtXE.

The show at the Chameleon with Diamante, Bad Wolves and From Ashes to New will start at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $20.

Brooke Annibale

Another show featuring a talented and smart female musician with a brand-new album will take place when the Philadelphia Folksong Society (6156 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, https://pfs.org) hosts a concert by Brooke Annibale.

Annibale has yet to hit her 30th birthday but already had a sizable catalog of interesting records.

She has released five albums — “Memories in Melody” (2005), “The In Between” (2008), “Silence Worth Breaking” (2011), “The Simple Fear” (2015) and “Hold to The Light” (2018) – and two EPs – “The Nashville EP” (2006) and “Words in Your Eyes EP” (2013).

A number of Annibale’s songs have songs have been licensed for use in television for such shows as “One Tree Hill,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Teen Mom 2,” and “The Vampire Diaries.”

Annibale’s new album “Hold to The Light” was released on June 8 via Brooke Annibale Music.

“I started working on the album toward the end of 2016,” said Annibale, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from a stop in New York City to do a Sirius XM session.

“It had been a year since my last album came out. In the past, it’s been inspired moments. This time, I started writing and had a lot of inspiration. Another difference was that usually I play acoustic guitar. This time, I did more electric guitar.”

“Hold to The Light” is billed as “a pop-progressive album that offers a fusion of textured electronic and traditional (guitar, strings, keys) instrumentation with songs bearing Brooke’s keen, soulful lyricism.”

Produced by Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter, Lake Street Dive), “Hold to The Light” marks several major departures for Annibale in terms of both songwriting and production. Brooke’s thoughtful, layered songwriting anchors the production to explore a range of narratives working through themes of seeking truths, letting go, and reconciling the past with the present.

“I’ve had my electric guitar for 10 years and I occasionally wrote on it before,” said Annibale. “This time, I wanted to play around with different sounds – a new palette with things like pedals. I think it affected my songwriting. There is a different energy with electric rather than acoustic.

“I started writing more with a full picture in mind. I’d start and then add stuff on tracks at home. There was no set formula for the songwriting. When I was younger, it always started with lyrics. Now, it could be a melody or a chord progression.

“It’s always interesting at the end of making a record to see what themes emerge from a bunch of songs. On the new album, there were a lot of references to time and light. The last song I wrote was the title track – looking at life and examining it. It summed up the theme.”

Annibale, who was born, raised and still lives in the Pittsburgh area, headed to New England to make the album.

“I recorded the album in Maine,” said Annibale. “Sam Kassirer has a studio converted from an old farmhouse that you can live in while you’re recording. I was there a couple weeks in March, a week in June and a week in August.

“Sam and I met in fall 2016. He had heard my previous record and liked it. I was a fan of his from the production work he did with Josh Ritter. He had all kinds of great gear there. I really enjoyed making the record there.

“On this tour, I’m performing with a keyboard player – Mark Ramsey. With drum loops and samples, we p[erform live as a duo. We’re playing a couple songs from each of my releases.”

Video link for Brooke Annibale – https://youtu.be/DJdgb0egSRM.

The show at the Philadelphia Folksong Society will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.

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