As a little girl growing up in a sleepy surf town on Australia’s southern coast, Mia Dyson would sit in her father’s workshop and watch him build custom guitars by hand. He would play records by The Band and Bob Dylan and she would dream of playing lead guitar in arenas around the world. From an early age Mia was all too aware of the lack of female musicians she could look up to. “When people think of a musician or rockstar, they almost always think of someone male. If you want to be a serious...
As a little girl growing up in a sleepy surf town on Australia’s southern coast, Mia Dyson would sit in her father’s workshop and watch him build custom guitars by hand. He would play records by The Band and Bob Dylan and she would dream of playing lead guitar in arenas around the world.
From an early age Mia was all too aware of the lack of female musicians she could look up to. “When people think of a musician or rockstar, they almost always think of someone male. If you want to be a serious musician/songwriter as a female, what is that? What does that look like?” says Dyson.
She vividly remembers the day her father brought home the album Nick of Time with Bonnie Raitt on the cover, guitar strapped to her back like a rifle. She played that record over and over until the grooves wore out. After school, while her classmates from the all-girl school she attended were busy shopping and obsessing over the opposite sex, Mia was practicing solos by Raitt and Ry Cooder on a one of a kind guitar built by her father.
At 13, her father took her to see Bonnie Raitt play The Melbourne Concert Hall. Thirteen years later, she would play that same venue… as the opening act for Bonnie Raitt. It was a dream come true when Raitt asked her to duet on “Love Letter,” night after night.
On the road since she was 19, Mia went on to record three self-produced albums, each nominated for an ARIA (Australian GRAMMY). Her sophomore album, Parking Lots won the ARIA and garnered her a nomination for “Best Female Artist.”
Her brilliant musicianship, “gritty, yet gorgeously haunting voice,” and reputation for inspired and exposed live performances caught the attention of some of the most iconic musicians of the last 50 years. In addition to Raitt, both Eric Clapton and Joe Cocker invited her to be the opening act for their national tours. She has also been featured at major international music events including the Montreaux Jazz Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival (CANADA), WOMAD, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Rocky Mountain Folk Festival, and on the Central Park NY Summer Stage with Ani DiFranco.
After her third album received multiple first-class reviews, including four stars from Rolling Stone, she set her sights on the US. For Mia, America has always been a symbol for freedom of expression and exploration, and the endless possibilities available in the States became something she could no longer ignore. "True freedom is a scary prospect. The only thing stopping you from doing what you want is yourself. I was tired of getting in my own way,” says Dyson. She was ready to leave her old life behind and push herself to transcend cultural and self-imposed notions of who she should be and what she should sound like.
In 2009 she abandoned critical and commercial success in Australia and took root in Boston, Massachusetts playing small dive bars and picking up gigs in the northeast. It didn’t take long before she’d built up a following of devoted, loyal fans. By the end of summer, her live shows had become a must-see event.
During a recent tour stop in Los Angeles a mutual friend introduced her to veteran music producer and artist Dave Stewart (Eurythmics), who has established Weapons of Mass Entertainment, a "media company for the new world" (The LA Times). Having worked with some of the most iconic female figures over the last 30 years (Annie Lennox, Stevie Nicks), Stewart convinced Mia to move to Los Angeles to manage and mentor her. “Having Mia on my roster is like having a young Springsteen or Chrissie Hynde,” Stewart says. Dyson and Stewart are currently collaborating on a new EP slated for release in August of 2010.
“My newest material looks at our obsession over what other people think. The pursuit of one’s own liberation and freedom is what my music is about.” Dyson’s unapologetic outlook is the perfect enhancement for a performer who’s crafted her live show to razor sharp brilliance. Always working from a raw, impassioned perspective, her music puts front and center her thoughts on love, expectations, dispossession and the barriers we construct around ourselves that keep us from personal emancipation.
“Her sublime grit & gravel voice lands her squarely between Lucinda Williams & Bob Dylan.” JR -- Boston Globe
“She’s a guitarist, songwriter and singer, but it’s her voice - more guttural than just gravely, more touched than merely smoky - that is the showstopper. Skinny young white girls aren’t supposed to sound this big and soulful.” --Sydney Morning Herald (Australian Daily)
“… a stark, soulful wonder, driven by her husky temptress of a voice and her very spare, very bluesy guitar picking and strumming.” (Four Stars) – Jeff Apter, Rolling Stone Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.