Kristin Diable is a New Orleans-based, internationally-acclaimed songwriter and multi- instrumentalist with a decade-plus career captivating audiences with her inviting, soul-baring performances. Kristin’s ability to get right to the soul of the song has firmly established her as a mainstay in her home-state of Louisiana, and her music spans multiple stylistic genre choices to encompass its own unique brand of blues-soul-roots crafting. An alum of the 2019 ‘Music for Mental Health’ Benefit Concert, sponsored by the BTD Foundation, Kristin took some time to chat with us on all things music, mental health, and more – read on to hear what she had to say!
How would you describe your music in three words?
Patient, Spiritual and Curious.
Speaking of musical descriptions, what’s the earliest musical experience that inspired you to pursue music professionally – that “I want to do that” moment?
Seeing Irma Thomas at the Morgan City Crawfish Festival when I was in middle school. Her voice was like a siren.
You’ve planted your feet firmly into genres of soul, blues, roots rock, Americana, and folk, with critical-acclaim to boot. With this in mind, how has your music developed or changed through the years?
Over the years I find that I worry a lot less about “genres” and allow the songs to just come as they are, rather than filtering out songs that don’t initially feel like they fit into the “Americana” cannon.
Allen Toussaint once stated, “Music is everything to me short of breathing. Music also has a role to life you up-not to be escapist but to take you out of misery.” Reflecting on Mr. Toussaint’s quote, how has music gotten you through your own life’s challenges?
Music was a place I could always find eternal truth in, since I connected with it in childhood. Something in a melody holds a feeling far deeper than the words alone can express. I like to think my first language really is music, it’s all feeling.
Outside of songwriting, you’re also mom to a sweet toddler, Lucinda. How has
motherhood changed your mindset, and/or your life?
Motherhood has changed the whole ballgame. Before Lu’s arrival, I was as easy going as I am with most things, thinking cool, no big deal, we will just plug her in to what we have going on already. But it’s really been the opposite, she comes first and then everything else plugs in around her. I find that this makes values and priorities a lot more clear. It’s easy to cut out nonsense when you have a whole new life to nurture. Your heart and vision of what kind of world you want for your child and other children to come becomes laser focused. I prioritize my life far more on values now over external factors. When it comes to making a decision or a plan, I ask first, “Does it serve my values? What kind of a contribution to life and humanity is this action making?” It’s been a really cool process.
In addition to music as a cathartic measure, what other coping tools or resources do you use to manage your mental well-being?
I love my therapist. I used to think that therapists were for people with too much time, money, or not enough “pick yourself up by your bootstraps.” A few years ago, I met with a therapist to support with some difficult family happenings, and that process has been a game changer for me. Now I feel that it’s actually bizarre that mental health isn’t more status quo in our society. We obsess over the food we eat, the ways we exercise, the formal educations we pursue, going to doctors to keep our bodies healthy…. and the MIND, arguably the most important organ of all, is so typically overlooked or undermined. I see mental health management as essential as eating well, going to the gym, or continuing to learn. It’s so important to seek greater understanding of one of the aspects of our being that informs every single part of our lives and how we interact with those around us.
As far as independent tools, tuning into a simple breathing practice when I’m feeling challenged can do so much to re ground me. Spending time in nature, be it City Park here in town, or getting out to the swamps also helps reframe life in its proper perspective for me.
When you hear the phrase “Music for the Mind,” what does it mean to you on first impression?
I think of classical music. Eric Satie. Peacefulness, understanding.
Any last thoughts/comments you’d like to share regarding these music, mental health, and more?
I’d like to encourage anyone who has ever been curious about working with a therapist to give it a try. It’s like a yoga class and boot camp for your mind. I was apprehensive to start, afraid of the stigma of being labeled dysfunctional if I sought support in this arena, afraid of being that vulnerable with someone, but once I got over those fears, the tools I’ve learned in my sessions have unlocked so much understanding of myself and also those around me. My life and the life of those around me have undoubtedly been gifted with greater understanding, awareness and protocols to live life to its fullest. I’m really grateful for it.
To listen and learn more about Kristin Diable, head to:
Official Website: https://kristindiable.com/
All photos by Camille Lenain for the Brett Thomas Doussan (BTD) Foundation.