Me an Di’s debut single, All At Once, is an explosion of energy, love and vocal chemistry.
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 (Electric Daisy Carnival). The Berklee College of Music graduates both independently moved to Los Angeles after graduation and began working together to establish their songwriting careers.
Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge caught up with the duo to learn more about their journey together and what inspires their music.
Q: If I’m right, it has been around a year since a night at EDC inspired the two of you to start a new musical venture. Can you share your memories of that and the journey it led you on?
Di: Our best friend brought us to EDC and I don’t think he even knows how much it changed the trajectory of our music. We thought we were just going to a music festival to relax and enjoy ourselves, and we had no idea it would be so much more than that. We started writing more Edm influenced pop before EDC, but once we got there and after experiencing the rave culture, we just kind of felt like we were home.
I remember I had this moment on the second day of the festival like I all of a sudden had this self acceptance that I had been looking for a long time and it changed me. Everybody is there for the music and on a journey together. You don’t feel any judgement, just love. That’s what really got me to let go of some demons and self doubt and I’ve felt a sense of freedom ever since – I think it speaks through the music we’re making.
JM: I think it just made sense for us too watching Illenium. We had never seen an EDM artist put on a live show with a full band like that so musically it was an “ah ha” moment. It gave us a context for what we already were doing but also showed us where it would all come together.
So, the music had a lot to do with it but honestly the amount of love, kindness, respect and openness that strangers had for each other reminded us of the world that we want to help build and we wanna also do that with these songs. Give people a space to feel at home like we did at EDC.
Q: Your debut single, “All At Once,” is out now. How would you describe the track and the emotions that went into it?
Di: This song is about the moment that you realise you’re really falling for somebody and it’s about to hit the point of no return. You’re vulnerable and just gonna go with it even if it breaks your heart. JM and I both have the tendency to follow our hearts in those kinds of situations even if we know we’re gonna pay for it big time.
So, the song means a lot to us and is a culmination of many hours of venting about our personal lives. We’re artists after all, so we’re prone to masochism and some recklessness. We both act on it in different ways but I think we both very much relate to this song and have certain people and scenarios attached to it.
I also think the production really matches the emotion of the song. Jay Phoenix, the producer for this track, really listened to the lyrics and emotion to capture the right instrumentation.
Q: You both graduated from Berklee College of Music and then moved to Los Angeles. Was that move a big leap of faith or a natural transition?
JM: A leap of faith is an understatement for me! I’m from the Caribbean and just attending Berklee was a dream come true and a hell of a lot of hard work. So, to graduate and then to move to LA and get to work in music is like something out of a movie where I come from.
It continues to be a leap of faith because this business is so big and it can be very overwhelming sometimes. Especially doing it independently and being a foreigner while trying to live and work and make music in this country right now. But I’m privileged to have wonderful humans around me that make me feel supported.
Q: Like almost all up and coming artists, you’ve had to balance you creative pursuits with survival jobs. How have you coped with that exhausting process and stayed motivated?
JM: To be honest we have the music we have each other and great friends and family. We try to stay around people who are also passionate about life and going after what they want because the hustle vibe is contagious and we always need the extra motivation when it gets daunting. When you really love music the way we do, there’s really no choice but to deal with the stress so that we can get the songs out.
Writing is also extremely therapeutic the way we do it because we talk about everything that we’re going through in that moment and it helps to know you’re not alone. It’s how we stay healthy. It’s easy to bottle things up and to try and do everything alone but that’s how to burn out.
Q: What is the dynamic like between two of you? How do you compliment each other creatively?
JM: It depends on the day. Some days we speak the same language, finish sentences and it’s kombaya. Other days it can be World War III but with like roses and clouds and rainbows and nicer things. We are intense humans, but we definitely know each other well enough to know how to fight and still be good at the end of it. We both just need to feel like we’re being heard because we have so much to say all the time.
Di: I guess that’s why it works creatively too. We bring the best parts of our different experiences and the different ways we see things, with our own weirdness all mixed up together in a way that sounds emotional but still catchy and something you can sing along too.
Q: You’ve also written successful tracks for Los Angeles-based bands and artists, including Walla’s ‘Talking Dirty’. How does the experience compare when you are writing for yourselves rather than someone else?
Di: Well when you’re writing for other people you’re trying to help capture their emotions and their experiences into a song. You’re helping them shape their story. When you know that a 3.5 minute moment is yours, it is more therapeutic for sure and makes you relive emotions.
To be honest, through writing a lot of the songs that we’re going to be releasing together, I feel like I have become more insightful and aware about what I needed to change in my life. Free therapy I guess? Haha!
Q: What is next for the two of you? What can we expect?
Di: This is just the first of many songs we’re putting out! We’re going to release another one by the end of the summer and then keep going. I think that’s what we’re most excited about with this release.
We’re really proud of this song but also super stoked about what else is to come. We’ve been writing these songs and living them for years. We’re ready to share them with the world.