Australian Rocker Mia Dyson Builds U.S. Fanbase

Jul 10, 2013
Originally published on July 11, 2013 10:50 am

Australian rocker Mia Dyson got the break of her career when she was taken on by former Eurythmics star Dave Stewart’s production company.

But after he started to market her as a bi-gender musician named “Boy,” she rebelled and went out on her own.

Mia Dyson has now released a new album “The Moment.” Here & Now producer Emiko Tamagawa caught up with Mia on tour.

“This record is the result of that three year period of moving here, struggling, then going with Dave Stewart, then it all falling apart,” Dyson said.


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MIA DYSON: (Singing) What I had and what I lost, what I wanted and what I got.


The song you're hearing now comes from Australian musician Mia Dyson. She grew up in the surfing town of Torquay on the east coast of Australia. She dreamed of becoming a rock star like her idol Bonnie Raitt.

DYSON: That was a pivotal moment, when I saw with a guitar slung around her shoulder on one of her album covers. I was like, oh, that's really cool.

HOBSON: Well, Mia Dyson made it big in Australia. She won an ARIA, which is the Australian version of the Grammy, but she still had her sight set on the United States, so she came here. She was mentored by pop star turned producer Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, who said he'd help her become a star, but there was a catch.

DYSON: He wanted to change my name to Boy and sort of create this androgynous character because he already saw me in that light a little bit. You know, I've got short hair.


DYSON: You know, and I toyed with the idea for a while, like I could do that and maybe go down the road of having like a big-time career down that way, or I could say no and probably we would part ways. And I would continue just trying to build things, you know, the way I'd always done it, which is playing live and, you know, converting fans one by one. And, indeed, I did turn that down.


DYSON: (Singing) Two roads appear in the desert eve and I, helpless to choose.

HOBSON: The song "Two Roads" from Mia Dyson's album "The Moment," which she released after her partnership with Dave Stewart fell apart. HERE AND NOW's Emiko Tamagawa caught up with Mia Dyson on tour at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

EMIKO TAMAGAWA, BYLINE: I listened to your album and then I was doing some more reading on hearing more about this. And I felt like I could actually hear some of that struggle to, sort of, find out - and to find who you are in your record. Would you say that that's true?

DYSON: Absolutely. I mean, this record is the result of that sort of three-year period of moving here, struggling, then going with Dave Stewart, then it all falling apart. So even though not all the songs are, you know, all about that, but certainly, that challenge and struggle permeates the record, absolutely. And calling it "The Moment," the idea of getting back to the moment and not being about the future and trying to make it - and I've got my little inverted commas around my words here - you know, not being obsessed like I was in my 20s with that future idea of things.


DYSON: (Singing) You will know what to do when the moment comes. You will know what to do when the moment comes.

TAMAGAWA: Have you ever met Bonnie Raitt and actually been able to tell her what your - her music has meant to you?

DYSON: I have. I've got to open for her in Australia at a venue that I had seen her when I was 13 years old. And I go to tell her - and what shocked me actually was I was saying to her, look, you know, you were the - like my hero. You are my guitar hero, and I'm playing guitar partly because I saw you playing guitar and I was like, I can do that. And she said she really appreciated that because not many girls, you know, following in her footsteps or coming up to her saying that. And that really shocked and saddened me because I just feel like - I guess, there's just not enough female role models do.

TAMAGAWA: And the next one to go is to get more girls playing rock and roll?

DYSON: Right. The more girls playing rock and roll, the more girls will see them playing rock and roll, and then the next generation will be even bigger.


DYSON: (Singing) When the moment comes.

HOBSON: That's musician Mia Dyson, speaking with HERE AND NOW's Emiko Tamagawa. This is HERE AND NOW from NPR and WBUR Boston. I'm Jeremy Hobson.


I am Robin Young. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.