Marie Digby Biography
“Everything was born right there in the moment,” says Digby.
Written, produced and recorded over a three and a half month period in a Los Angeles studio, alongside renowned producers Brian Kennedy (Jennifer Hudson, Jesse McCartney, Rihanna), Ezekiel “Zeke” Lewis for the Clutch and The Movement among others, Breathing Underwater marks Digby’s evolution from “the girl with the guitar” to a fully-emerged artist. Familiar themes continue to dominate her writing—love and all the conflicted emotions that come with it. But as much as Digby matured creatively during the making of Breathing Underwater, she grew even more personally.
“When I was making the album I was falling for someone—someone real and someone in front of me—and that was really scary,” she continues. “There were days when I thought, this most wonderful thing I’ve ever felt. And there were days when I was tormented. That intensity came through in the songs.”
If you’d look in my eyes
And tell me things won’t change
Then I’d feel safe letting you go
So Digby pleads in the moving opening track, “Daybreak,” a song about “not wanting a night to end, because you don’t know what daylight will bring.” The first single, “Avalanche,” tracks a couple on the brink of falling apart. Even amidst catchy grooves and hooks, Digby’s lyrical honestly shines through:
If you only knew what my heart goes through for you
I'm trying to break through
Don't you think it’s worth a chance
Let's leave the past
Is that too much to ask
And where do we stand
Can we pull through this avalanche
A tougher Digby surfaces on “Feel” and “Love With A Stranger.” The former is taunt to an emotionally unavailable partner, while the latter is an endorsement of no-strings-attached encounters.
“’Feel’ is about when you’re pouring your heart out and you’re not getting any kind of message back,” she says. “Give me something, at least let me know that you’re alive.” The darkly hypnotic “Love With A Stranger” chronicles the desire to connect with another person physically, in the absence of something deeper.
“Come to Life,” is a piano-laden pop track that puts the listener smack in the middle of Digby’s most intimate thoughts. “It’s a message to myself to be patient,” she says. “I’ve learned that love is one of the few things in life that you can’t force.”
Things lighten up on “Know You By Heart,” maybe the most surprising track on the album with its huge pop sensibility and rhythmic, club-worthy hook. “I‘ve always loved dance music,” admits Digby. “This was my chance to unleash my inner Kylie Minogue.”
But it’s perhaps “Symphony” that best sums up Digby’s mindset. The song is a direct message to her fans—the ones who followed her though her YouTube stardom, open mic shows and first album. “I’m saying, ‘this is me needing the freedom to express myself musically and I hope you’ll be open to it,’” she explains. “What a boring place this world would be if we all stayed still.”
Digby first hit the national stage last year when a homemade video of her performing an acoustic cover of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” made her a YouTube phenom (to date the clip has over 12 million views). “That was a really wonderful way to start. I could present myself exactly as I wanted,” says Digby, who first started writing her own songs at age 15 on a $50 guitar she bought on a whim. Her first album, Unfold, debuted at 29 on the Billboard chart, 2 on the iTunes album chart, 3 on Billboard's Digital Top 100 album chart and prompted a successful string of film and television placements for her songs including ER, Greek, The Hills, One Tree Hill, and Smallville.
Prior to her YouTube fame and the success of Unfold, Digby was set on a much different course. The first child of a Japanese mother and Irish-American father, the Los Angeles native went off to college at Berkeley where she studied philosophy and figured she’d eventually follow in her dad’s footsteps and go to law school.
So when she came home after finishing her freshman year and promptly announced she was dropping out to become a full-time musician, her parents were understandably baffled. In some ways, Digby surprised herself too. “I’m not one of those kids who was always in the school musical or was the star of the high school play,” she says. “And even when I tried to get involved, I was often rejected. I figured I must be really bad.”
Despite the odds, Digby couldn’t ignore her inner voice. “I knew making it in music was impossible, but I didn’t care what it took.”