Dalia Lily is a young Lebanese descendent, thirteen years of age, whose news about her early virtuosity reached us from foreign exile. She is one of the youngest music composers and pianists to complete her first record called “The Colors of Dalia”, where it is impossible for a listener not to be surprised by her music. Dalia Lily’s music bears maturity and a special charm that reflects a promising talent that will exceed all limits. We reached Dalia Lily, who can be contacted by her music fans at her website, www.dalialilymusic.com, and below is our interview with her:
1. Can you tell us how did you make this wonderful and mature music in spite that you are still a young girl?
I don’t consider my music mature or childish. When I create, I don’t have a target audience in mind or structured way of doing it. Age has no influence on what I create. The music just comes to me. My music is inspired in many ways. Sometimes my surroundings inspire me. For example, “Blizzard” was inspired by the intense snow storms in 2010 that shut down Washington, DC for a week. Other times, complete ideas come to me for no apparent reason at all. That is when I feel the need to sit at the piano and play. It just flows out. Other times, I start with a small idea, and explore different notes to see what sounds right and appealing to my ear and then build upon that.
2. How did you begin loving and learning music?
As long as I can remember, music has been constantly on at home. It has become part of my daily routine. Silence has never felt right. As an only child, I never experienced the rowdiness of having siblings at home. Music became my companion. I just can’t live without music.
When I was about 4 years old, I had a 1-octave toy piano, on which I taught myself how to play “Happy Birthday” on my own with one finger. I asked my parents if I could take piano lessons. They explained to me that I was too young for lessons. To keep my interest in music, however, they bought me a small electric keyboard which had multiple instrument sounds. When my parents saw that I remained interested in music, I enrolled in private piano lessons at the age of 6. I view playing piano as way to relax and have fun.
3. How did you begin performing piano and composing an album?
As a music student, I performed recitals in front of an audience every time I completed a level in my piano curriculum. Not only did I play music from other composers, but I was also able to include one or two of my own musical creations. I received a lot of positive feedback from the audience regarding my compositions. Some of them stated that they felt an emotional connection to my musical creations more so than the music that I played by the other composers.
Creating music feels natural to me. In 2009, I entered “Arabia” into my first music competition in the Washington, DC area. The competition was for music students. The ages ranged between 6 and 50. There were about 40 entries. My composition “Arabia” was selected as a finalist. Since my composition won, the ”Mclean Symphony Orchestra” arranged and performed “Arabia” in front of a live audience for their 2009 Spring festival. It was then that I started to see myself as a composer.
Last summer, my parents and I realized that I have enough musical material that has accumulated in the past four years that is worthy of recording. I went through my repertoire and I selected 13 musical compositions out of about 50 that I felt that were fully developed. My father hired a music producer, Kurtis Parks, who guided us in the process of making a professional musical CD. We had several recording sessions. Then, the music was mixed and mastered in Nashville, TN.. As a result of this hard work, I released 2 CDs. First, “The Colors of Dalia” is a piano instrumental accompanied by a variety of musical instruments selected by the producer and myself. Second, “The Colors of Dalia- Remixes”, has many of the songs found in the first CD. However, I gave these musical compositions more of a pop flavor.
4. It seems that your album, The Colors of Dalia, expresses your great emotions towards life, family and home. What can you tell us about the album and the persons whom supported your dream?
People always tell me that they feel that I am telling a story when they hear my music. I have to agree with them, because I feel it too when the ideas come to me. For the CDs, I was fortunate to work with Kurtis Parks, who is a very talented producer. He did not see me as a child and worked with me as a music professional.
I have been very lucky, because so many people have supported and encouraged me to continue creating. My friends always cheer for me; my extended family constantly encourages and loves me; and my parents, Flavio and Maha, always show unwavering support, nurture and love me unconditionally and most of all see the possibilities in me. I am so blessed to have them in my life.
5. What about your parents, Flavio and Maha Nasr, how did they help and affected Dalia to be an artist?
As I stated before, my parents, Flavio and Maha who do not play any musical instruments, always show unwavering support, nurture and love me unconditionally and most of all see the possibilities in me. They have always encouraged me to create and have fun with music. I am so blessed to have them in my life.
6. In your album, I wondered your distinguished musical imagination. I wondered too, the spirit of Lebanon, Spain, America and this whole world, what can you tell me about it?
It is interesting that you noticed the variety of styles in my CD. I have another fan who shares your opinion and stated in her e-mail to me, “I love how the CD is so diverse; every song has a different mood”. At home, I have always been surrounded by music from different parts of the world. I have also been lucky to have travelled to several countries ever since I was a baby. It has allowed me to hear music from different cultures. Interestingly, my mother Maha, who does not speak Spanish, constantly plays Latin and Spanish music at home. “Day in Madrid” came about from being exposed to Tango music and Paso Doble, which is the music of the bullfighter. In addition, listening to Arabic music and watching my family enjoy it has also enriched my musical experience. That was my inspiration for “Arabia” where one can hear the sound of the “Oud” instrument in the background. Actually, I don’t have a specific favorite style of music. It all depends on the song and how it connects to me. In addition, many times when I watch movies, I focus on the background music. I try to be open minded about different musical ideas because as my father Flavio says “It is easier to imagine when you open your mind to the universe”.
7. What about your emotions towards your Lebanese roots, you visited Lebanon many times, so do you plan to come and make concerts in your home land? On the other hand, what about your musical activities at USA?
I am proud to have Lebanese roots. I love the culture, the closeness of Lebanese families, the music and the natural beauty of Lebanon. When I visit Lebanon, I am awed by the intimate relationship between the beautiful mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. I have had a couple of school projects where I wrote about Lebanon. I want my friends to know and learn about Lebanese culture. Furthermore, it would be fun to play concerts in Lebanon, so I hope that it will happen in the future. As for here in the US, I perform at small private venues, which will give me more experience as I continue to grow. For now, I will continue to experiment and create more music.