Marié Digby is known for her acoustic cover songs — like Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and Britney Spears’ “Gimme More” — that turned into viral videos watched by millions. But with her online success came controversy and a story surfaced claiming that her seemingly homemade videos were actually a marketing ploy by her label. With her debut album, Unfold, set for release April 8, we sat down with the singer-songwriter to get her take on the whole dustup and talk about her new tunes.
Buzzworthy: Why do you think your acoustic version of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” connected with listeners?
Marié Digby: It’s still kind of a mystery to me because it’s such a simple recording. I recorded it the first day I heard “Umbrella” on the radio, so I think a lot of it was good timing ’cause I caught the song as it started to climb up the charts. Maybe it took people by surprise that that song, which exists around this major beat, would still work with just basic guitar. Other than that, I’m not sure why people like it so much. I’m flattered that people like it though.
BW: What do you make of the controversy that surrounded your viral videos?
MD: I’m still kinda confused as to how it’s a controversy. Basically what the media was saying was that I was acting as an amateur or an unknown when the fact was no one knew about me. I think the point that people are missing is that whether or not you’re signed to a label, you can still be invisible. You can still be pretty much in the same spot as a girl who plays open mic, just like I was a couple years ago — without the support that I needed, without any guarantees that I was going to release an album. I also think the controversy came out of the fact that people thought it was too good to be true; there had to be some gimmick behind it. In a matter of months I went from being absolutely unknown to being recognizable for these really simples videos that I did in my living room and bathroom. I completely understand why people were looking for some explanation as to why it worked and why it worked so quickly.
BW: How did your fans respond?
MD: My fans knew I was signed to a label all along. A lot of times people emailed me and asked me if I had been signed, and I told them I was. At shows I gave out free CD samplers with three songs, which had my label’s logo all over it. They always knew the reason I never put Hollywood Records all over my sites was because I created those by myself and I didn’t think the label defined who I was as a musician. I still don’t have Hollywood Records on my sites, and I don’t think I will until they actually release my album.
BW: Tell us about your debut album…
MD: It has a flow and it’s meant to be listened to from the very first song to the very last song. They’re all stories; different experiences that I had in my life and different experiences I’ve seen my family and friends go through. My main goal was to make a very diverse album. The songs all capture different emotions and different sentiments, so I hope that people won’t get bored.
BW: Why did you pick “Say It Again” as your first official single?
MD: To me, it’s the perfect song to introduce people to my album because it’s a really simple love song. It’s not something that will pull people down. The more introspective, deeper stuff I want to leave till later on. I want to ease people into my music first and then follow up with what really makes me tick, who I really am as a musician. “Say It Again” is just a fun, easy, breezy, spring song.
BW: Will any of your acoustic cover songs be on your album?
MD: “Umbrella” will be at the very end of the album, just because I thought it would be stupid not to since that’s how a lot of people came to know me.