Exclusive Interview with Music Duo Me an Di
Comprised of songwriters Diana Cybulska and Jean-Marc Tardieu, Me an Di was born in the wake of an inspiring night of music at EDC 2018. The Berklee College of Music graduates both independently moved to Los Angeles after graduation and began working together to establish their songwriting careers. It was on that fated night at a music festival, after years of writing for other artists, that they finally decided to craft their own sound and direct their own narrative. “All At Once,” their debut single which is out now, is an explosion of energy, love and vocal chemistry.
I got the chance to talk with them about what inspired their name Me an Di, the writing process for “All At Once”, what’s next for them and so much more! Keep reading to see what they had to say!
How did you guys first meet?
Jean-Marc Tardieu (JM): That’s an easy one – at a music therapy class at Berklee College of Music in Boston and we’ve been homies ever since [laughs]. After that, we both ended up in LA and started writing together for different projects. We started writing so often and had so much left over that we just had to do this.
What inspired your duo name, Me an Di?
Diana Cybulska (Di): JM came up with it. We’ve been writing together for so long that it feels effortless sometimes and almost feels like we’re one entity through the writing process. People call me Di so the name just felt right.
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey with their music. If you had to describe the music you create without using genre names, how would you describe it?
Di: It’s honest, emotional and hard to get out of your head [laughs]. We write what we feel and aren’t afraid or ashamed to talk about it. I think sometimes mainstream music could use a little more honesty and soul. Don’t get me wrong, there are artists/DJs that I do ball my eyes out to when I watch them perform live, but I do think generally there is a lack of emotion in a lot of music, because the main focus is image and sound but that’s changing again which is great.
Kind of going off of that, who are some of your musical influences?
JM: I grew up on Rogers and Hammerstein musicals, church hymns, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole because of my grandparents. My dad couldn’t sing but he gave me the gift of the BeeGees and Elton John. My mom loves singing and dreamed of being on Broadway, so there was always Barbara Streisand and Celine Dion blasting and us singing [along]. I also grew up in the Caribbean, so Calypso and Soca music is in my blood and so is The Mighty Sparrow and Calypso Rose, Machel Montano and Destra Garcia. If you truly want to know the power of a chorus, listen to Soca; it’s bleeding into everything on pop radio these days. Also I’m always obsessed with Beyoncé, Rihanna and Years and Years but right now Billie Eilish, Jorja Smith, H.E.R and anything by Illenium because we love EDM.
Let’s talk about your debut single, “All At Once.” First, what does it mean to you guys for this first single to be out?
Both: It’s very exciting for us to have released this first single. We’ve been wanting to launch an artist project together for a while now and we have so many songs that we’re ready for the world to hear.
What’s the story behind the song? What inspired it?
JM: Mostly everything we write starts from one person’s venting and evolves into a shared experience of what that feels like from our different perspectives. I think this one was more of a feeling and then sprinkles of real experiences that we’ve had [laughs]. We are romantics and creatives so when we feel things we spend time building fantasies and writing songs with them.
I always love hearing about the songwriting process so I was wondering if you could give me a glimpse into what it was like specifically for this song.
JM: [laughs] There’s actually a voice note that we found and had a good laugh at.
Di: Yeah, let’s never share that with the world please. [laughs] It was Sunday Funday Champagne vibes turned into a deep writing session. Interesting combination to say the least.
Do you guys tend to write by yourselves or do you like collaborating with other writers and artists in co-writes?
JM: All of it really. Each song comes in its own way. We’ve started songs alone in our rooms and sent each other voice notes. Sometimes they’re tiny pieces, sometimes they’re whole chunks and we always kind of refine it as we go. They’re always changing and that’s something I love about songs; they take on a life of their own sometimes. Like we said, we wrote “All at Once” with Tanja Utunen and then basically we finished the rest in Diana’s room on her piano or on my guitar.
Were there any major changes to “All At Once” that happened once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
Di: Oh for sure. As JM said, it was originally written on piano and once we brought it to our producer, Jay Phoenix, he brought it to life and added electronic elements which we love. He brought a sexy kind of vibe to it and I think the instrumentation definitely helped make it more emotional, which is good because we have a lot of feelings [laughs].
You guys are still relatively new to the music game. What are some music industry-related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in the next couple of years?
JM: I’ve been saying this a lot but I believe in manifesting the things you want but going out and working to build it. So going on tour is something we’d really love to do. And just getting a chance to work with different producers and blend styles and play more shows. Sometimes I forget how much I love it because we don’t do it enough, but that’s changing.
Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently nerding out about?
JM: This question hurts right now because Game of Thrones is done, but I’m living for all these Disney live action remakes because they make me feel like a kid. And I nerd out over good lyrics and great singing; sometimes, I even throw my phone when it’s particularly amazing [laughs]. Like Cynthia Eryvo singing “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” at the Tony’s, which was insane, and I’m freaking out because soon we’ll get to hear Beyoncé sing it and I will cry and make no apologies for it.
Di: So my second passion is studying the criminal mind. YES, it’s a fad now, but I assure you all that I was obsessed with it before it became popular and was the cool thing to watch/read (eye roll). I love reading books about criminal psychology and criminal profiling and I am always the first to watch the newest creepy documentary about serial killers on Netflix. JM thinks I’m nuts and he might not be wrong [laughs].