By Kabir Sehgal
A remarkable and creative synthesis of music, melody, and mirth, With Love is an incandescent offering from Diana “Dilee” Maher. That the album spans genres and classifications speaks to Dilee’s multi-disciplinary, cross-media nature, as she has made a career borne of fusion. Whether that be cultural union, informed by her mixed Chinese, Italian, and Native American heritage, or artistic mixing of various mediums, such has her previous spoken word production. If art is borne of the soul, then With Love delivers magnificently, as Dilee reaches deep to share her journey of inner peace with her audience, hoping that it will inspire more to find meaning in their lives, to search for love, and to pick up again after loss.
With a pulsing backbeat, “Afterglow” invokes the mighty superhero within us, which we summon in times of crisis and even despair. But this superhero can dance! As she sings, “in the white light” and eventually searching for the treasures that exist all around, knowing full well, that real rewards come from within. “Lady Fusion” is a mantra for standing up for the good and decent, making sure that one is exuding peace and tranquility when there is chaos all around. Fittingly, Dilee’s voice radiates warmth and reassurance through the development of this song. “Fairy in a Bubble” and “Shake It” are ultimately provocative numbers, challenging listeners to bring something to the table, not to remain silent, and to pop and shake away those self-induced bubbles that limit us from reaching others and growing.
“Come Along” is about finding a place where you feel most settled, whether it’s a physical place or state of mind or being. Home is indeed our sanctuary, and Dilee sings beautifully about making sure that you’re on the lookout for a place of spiritual refuge. “Battle Ballad” is dedicated to those struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder: Even if they may have survived war, the personal battle to cope remains. That Dilee has taken on such a serious and important topic suggests that she’s willing to address difficult areas. Indeed, her music not only extends but enlarges empathy.
With a memorable melody, “Twist Like a Dragon” is hauntingly prescient, suggesting that our one true enemy is ourselves, the part that speaks to our base nature. Despite our ego constantly compelling us to act in selfish ways, as Dilee then sings, we must ride our dragon, to make sure we’re on course and moving towards the good and decent. “Around the Sun” and “Just Breathe” are personal meditations on life and love: despite orbiting around the sun, we get caught up in ourselves, only to realize that true love emerges in the service and compassion we show towards others. Moreover, we must breathe deeply and reflect upon how we are not only with others but with ourselves. “Naked Mind” is a song of letting go – of one’s ego to be enriched by the graces of the company and those who we love.
Throughout this production, Dilee’s creative soul shines through, fire-bright, flashing with emotion, passion, while also cooling with introspection and thoughtfulness. Dilee’s “With Love” is “with feeling” and “with grace.”
Multi-Grammy Award winner
New York Times bestselling author