Updated: Sep 9, 2020
Singer-songwriter, Dahlia Jovan, takes us on an emotional journey with her new EP, 'Thē Pərj.' For Jovan, this lyrical journey is filled with breakdowns and breakthroughs, creating edifying moments of personal growth and clarity. Jovan shares what inspired 'Thē Pərj,' her intentions with the lyrics she writes, and the self-discovery that was made by being vulnerable in her music and honest with her emotions.
Congratulations on your new EP, 'Thē Pərj.' How does it feel to have this body of work out to share with the world?
Thank you so much! It feels amazing. It took some time for me to get it out. So just to see it out and everybody’s feedback on it, it makes me feel amazing. I feel great!
How would you describe 'Thē Pərj' and why did you chose that name for your EP?
I think of a cleansing. Something that’s ugly that you must release it in order to feel better. So to me, 'Thē Pərj' is pretty much just that. A lot of things I was going through, relationship wise, career wise… it was pretty much something that I needed to release. On the career side, it was me trying to figure out being accepted as a writer and how I wrote. A lot of people weren’t really looking for the type of songs that I was releasing. They were really emotionally driven, they weren’t the party records. So a lot of the songs that I had were tapping into how I was feeling emotionally, and a lot of people weren’t looking for that. It was time for me to get it out and prove to myself that I could do it. On the relationship side, it was just getting out what I needed to. I was getting into situation-ships. I couldn’t figure out why I kept going through them. I just had a lot of pain and frustration that I needed to get out. I named it 'Thē Pərj' because that’s exactly what it is. It is a purge. It was necessary for me to cleanse and feel better. All of the records are true, there are no fabrications or anything like that. It’s based on true stories and what I was going through at the time.
Did you plan the EP how it came out or did it just happen?
It started with Losing Time. It was actually a reference but it was what I was going through. It was just something that I did so that I could feel better. I kept listening to the song and said that I have to purge all of this and when the new year comes, I just have to get rid of it. So that was the foundation of the project. And then I said, ok, I’m going to purge. All of these records are going to be me and what I am going through and how I’m feeling. There aren’t going to be any party records, just real emotion. It wasn’t originally the plan to be something for me but I decided to take it for myself. It was something that I was feeling and something that I connected to. A lot of people didn’t connect with it and were looking for something else industry wise at the time. I decided that I was going to start 'Thē Pərj' and Losing Time became the first song on the project.
I am a songwriter first. I’ve worked with Mario Winans, Rockwilder… I’ve written for Indie artists. I’ve written songs for HBO and Power… A lot of people weren’t expecting this from me as an artist. After writing so many songs and people looking for something else, I said that I was going to take this material and make it my own. I am going to come out as an artist. So that’s what I did.
Speaking of Losing Time, there is a quote that you say write before it, which goes, “You weren’t a waste of time, you were a beautiful lesson.” How would you describe what a beautiful lesson is and what is your beautiful lesson?
A beautiful lesson is something that changes you for the better. Whether the actual process is ugly or not, it is the outcome. You learn from it and it makes you a better person. You learn how to treat others better and you learn how to treat yourself better. That’s what I call beautiful lessons.
Based on Losing Time, I learned how I deserve to be treated. I learned my worth… I learned all of those things. And the process was super ugly. It was one of the worst experiences I’ve ever gone through, but it taught me things about myself. I learned how to say no. It taught me red flags. All of those things are beautiful lessons that you can apply and grow with.
Out of the 7 tracks on 'Thē Pərj,' which is your favorite and why?
All of them are near and dear to me but I would say that ‘Bystander’ is my favorite. Only because I remember how I felt when I was writing it. I was super sad that day. It just shows me that I can do all things. There was so much self-doubt that day and I didn’t know if I was good enough. The song was flowing but I didn’t know how it was going to be received. It is my favorite because of the space I was in. Just to hear it transform… there is no other feeling like it.
Which song was the hardest to write and why?
I would say that Losing Time and Northern Piers were the hardest to write. Northern Piers was a song about me just trying to get out there and start dating again, without letting the past making me bitter or uneasy to try to move on. Northern Piers is an honest record and it was hard to write because when I was in the midst of it, it was all of those things that I was feeling. It was like, why do I feel this way? I just met this person. I should not be feeling these emotions that I feel. Maybe I just want someone to love, maybe I don’t want to be alone. That was really how I was feeling. It was frustrating because it was like, maybe it’s not even him, maybe it’s something within me that I don’t realize. It was the hardest to write because it was a realization about myself. You need to take time to be alone because it is necessary. You have to figure out and learn those things about you. You have to be ok with being alone because not everything is about a relationship or about someone else making you whole. You have to make yourself whole. You have to be ok with who you are. This whole project was just me realizing that I don’t need that other person or other half in order for me to be ok. Once you let go of that idea, that’s when you start to enjoy your life. You start to live and start to do things that make you happy. And in the end, relationships come.
After completing 'Thē Pərj', did you feel some sort of release from getting all of your emotions and feelings out, especially when people weren’t being receptive that you were writing?
Yes, it was definitely a release because I let go of all of the pain that I was harboring. It was also a release because it was like you know what? If the industry doesn’t want to buy these songs, I’m going to put them out myself. It taught me that you don’t have to rely on people and the industry to do things that you want to do. It made me more confident with my abilities, with my craft, and everything that I’m doing because I am doing it for myself.
What artists inspire you and do they have an influence on your music?
I try to look for writers and singers who write and sing honest music. I would say John Meyer. I love where he takes lyrics. I just love him as an artist as well. Brandy… her vocals and where she takes things melodically. I love Sia. I just love everything about her. Diane Warren, James Fauntleroy, Julia Michaels. You know, there are so many writers and artists that I look to that tell stories. They are the ones that I really study.
So you only had one collaboration on 'Thē Pərj.' Are there any other artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?
I would love to collab with John Meyer. I think he is amazing. I would love to collab with Miguel. And Sia. I think she is amazing. I would just love for us to work on a whole project. (laughs) Whether it be for myself or for someone else. I would just love to sit in a room with her. I think she is a genius at what she does. Her voice is just so powerful. The way that she takes things melodically is amazing. She captures emotion that is out of this world and I just admire her for it. I would love to work with her.
Are there any artists that you envision writing a song for?
Brandy because I appreciate everything that she does. I would say Miguel again. I would love to write a record for him. Sabrina Claudio. She is a new R&B artist. She has a unique and sexy kind of voice. I just appreciate her voice also. I would like to work with up and coming artists that have that hunger and that drive.
And what would you like fans to know about you or your music?
That the goal is always to be honest. It’s always going to tell a story. That is always going to be the foundation. I’m going to make sure I capture some type of emotion and put out feel good, true music.
So what is next? ***
I’m just gearing up for GRAMMY Week in January. The GRAMMYs are going to be in New York. I’m am super excited. I’m signing on to do a show during GRAMMY Week. I definitely plan to do more shows.
Anything you’d like to add?
Everyone can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at @iamdahliajovan, where I can give them more updates on upcoming shows. And I thank everyone in advance for listening to 'Thē Pərj.'’ It is definitely appreciated. And please tell a friend to tell a friend!
*** This article was written December 11, 2017.