By CHRISTINE CHEAH and SARENRAJ RAJENDRAN
TRY asking Dia Frampton a random question, or just hit her up with a leaf from your past, and you just might have a song written up about you.
A lot of songwriters start out with a tune or a rhythm, but the 24-year-old American of Korean-Dutch descent often comes up with a song title first. More importantly, the themes for most of her songs are related to social issues, and the neglected victims who suffer from them.
“I want people to be more aware of things that can happen in the world. There are often things that are swept under the rug, that people don’t like to talk about. And so, me putting it publicly on an album, it’s quite a statement just to make people aware,” said Frampton during an interview with R.AGE ahead of her showcase at The Bee, Kuala Lumpur.
For example, her song Walk Away – which she calls a “superhero anthem” – is about a friend whose father had allowed to be sexually harrassed by a friend when she was eight.
“It was more of a sad story but I want to give that happy ending to that story, and I want her to be vindicated and get her revenge,” she added.
It is, of course, not all about malevolence and revenge. What Frampton is looking to emphasize is the ear to listen, the shoulder to cry on and the people who are willing to stand up for what is right. “The more ugly things are put out in the open, the more people will realise that they are not alone, that there is somebody they can always talk to.”
Frampton got her big break as the runner-up on the first season of The Voice and is now on tour promoting her debut studio album Red, for which she wrote or co-wrote all the tracks.
But Frampton doesn’t just pen down her musings in song. She’s a keen writer as well, and she hopes to get a dark romance novel published this year.
With her usual guitarist Carlo Giminez taking time off to get hitched, Frampton had professional footballer-turned-singer Danny Bemrose (of English indie rock band Scars On 45) strumming the strings on her current Asia tour. During the Kuala Lumpur show, she performed songs like Broken Ones and Isabella in her usual subtle, mellifluous style.
Local act The Impatient Sisters opened for her with their own signature harmonies and sentimental folk ballads.
Despite having a vocal irritation due to the climate shift and the strenuous schedule she had for the past few days, Frampton still managed to wow the crowd when she rapped on Don’t Kick The Chair.
After the show ended, Frampton stayed around to sign autographs for her fans – even though she had a plane to Jakarta to catch the very next day.
But from a hopeful reality series contestant to a jet-setting performer, Frampton has sure come a long way, and seems ready to soar to even greater heights.