“You can make a living here playing music,” says New Orleans based singer-songwriter Kristin Diable. “There’s enough of a demand and culture to support that, which is incredible.”
Diable has experienced that demand and culture firsthand, as her most recent album Create Your Own Mythology has made major waves in New Orleans and garnered national attention.
Hailing from Baton Rouge, Diable spent several years in New York City making contacts and developing her sound, but she ultimately decided to make New Orleans her home base and the launch point for her career.
“We’re all just evolved monkeys floating around on a big rock in space. Have some fun, enjoy yourself, find what makes you happy! That’s all we got,” Diable says. “New Orleans reminds me of this on a regular basis.”
Diable’s gritty but upbeat sound has drawn comparisons to Lucida Williams, Lana Del Rey, and Amy Winehouse, but ultimately, her voice is completely her own. Create Your Own Mythology, produced by Nashville’s Dave Cobb, has allowed Diable to explore the limits of both her music and her soul.
She is particularly inspired by a quote from the Sufi mystic, Rumi: “Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.”
Through Create Your Own Mythology, Diable explores the mythologies we all buy into, who creates them, and how we can create our own. New Orleans is her ideal place to do that.
20 Questions with Kristin Diable
1. Who is your favorite New Orleanian, dead or alive, real or imagined?
Ignatius J. Reilly.
2. What first brought you to New Orleans?
As a kid, I’d come to town a few times a year with my family for events, shows, Mardi Gras, etc. But by my own choice, I came to New Orleans to escape New York City and reconnect. Turned into an easy move. Though I always knew New Orleans would be my home, it was just a matter of timing.
3. In your opinion – what’s the best neighborhood in New Orleans?
They all offer different things, in many colorful ways. I live in Mid-City/Esplanade Ridge area, and I dig it here. Working class, families with roots, a little bit of the new and young, but a good balance of people from all walks of life, ages, jobs, and backgrounds.
4. City Park or Audubon Park?
City Park. It’s rugged and unkempt in all the right ways.
5. Describe the best meal you’ve eaten in New Orleans?
That’s difficult, since nearly every meal in this town is excellent. One of them would have been at Green Goddess back when chef Chris DeBarr was still here. He has a poet’s soul and the love he puts into his food, the stories and the experiences around them will always remain sparkling memories for me in this city.
6. Where’s your favorite brunch spot?
7. What’s your favorite po-boy? Where do you go to get it?
Have to say, I love Cajun Seafood on Claiborne. They’re generous with the shrimp, and the flavor is funky delicious.
8. You’ve got friends visiting and it’s their first time in New Orleans – where are you taking them?
B.J.’s Lounge in the Bywater on a Monday night for King James and The Special Men’s swampy, sexy, smoky boogie-woogie to your heart’s content. It’s always No. 1 on my list.
9. What’s your favorite neighborhood bar?
10. What is your favorite New Orleans cocktail, and where do you go to get it?
A Laphroaig on the rocks at Chart Room. I like a man’s man kind of bar best. But I’ll also put down a berry-herb infused overpriced specialty liqueur/organic, gluten-free, pretentious-but-so-delicious cocktail like nobody’s business.
11. Snowball or daiquiri? Where from and what flavor?
Tough call here. I do have a soft spot for a Pimm’s Cup Daiquiri from St. Lawrence in the French Quarter. Will set your afternoon just right.
12. Best spot to see live music?
One Eyed Jacks. Great space, great sound, great vibe.
13. Favorite New Orleans musician or band?
I’m a huge Allen Toussaint fan. His writing, his production, his socks and sandals, his vehicle selections. I want to work with him one of these days. I have some songs in mind.
14. Favorite New Orleans festival?
Mirliton Festival in the Bywater. Great lineups and still small enough to enjoy it and not get trampled by the masses. But second is Jazz Fest. I love the energy in town during the fest, the people it attracts, and the buzz in the city those two weeks.
15. Favorite Mardi Gras parade?
St. Ann parade.
16. Where do you shop in New Orleans?
17. What is your favorite New Orleans museum?
Ogden Museum of Southern Art. I love folk art.
18. Where do you go to watch The Saints play?
19. Describe New Orleans in one word.
20. When was the last time you fell in love with New Orleans and why?
Last night, when I was driving home down Bayou Road, a pretty quiet and residential area. There was this behemoth of a (presumably) woman with giant Dolly Parton hair, in stilettos and a skin tight dress hobbling down the brick paved street. She was talking to a guy in a hot rod-style car painted in cartoon red flames and gaudy rims. Only in New Orleans do you have encounters like this. No neighborhood, no moment is safe from the bizarrely beautiful.