Written by Kelly Holm
If you haven’t heard of Jez Dior yet, you surely will soon. The singer-songwriter and rapper has been in the business for a while. He knew at 13 that he wanted to pursue a career in music, and held his first live performance “to a packed house” at the historic Majestic Ventura Theater at the ripe age of 15.
Since then, Dior’s been steadily dropping music for a while now, featuring tunes dealing with candid subjects such as substance abuse. He has also gone on to form his own imprint, Funeral Crew, which consists of several Los Angeles-based artists. His track “Nobody Knows,” released earlier this year, features Jackson Guthy and emits some serious Maroon 5 vibes. Yet, it wasn’t until October 4th, 2019 that Dior unleashed his debut studio album, Handle With Care, into the world.
“I feel like it’s the perfect album to get across my current feelings, mixed with the story of my life,” he said.
The album consists of 11 tracks, including “Nobody Knows,” but Dior says he wrote hundreds of potential contenders.
“To me the album feels mature,” Dior says of the record. “I feel like I’m at a point where I really knew how to get my point across and tell my story. I was very in touch with all my emotions when I was recording this album.”
Highlight tunes from Handle With Care, in Dior’s opinion, are “Time Of My Life” and “Rock Bottom.” Fittingly, their titles summarize both euphoric highs and soul-piercing lows of the human experience.
“I performed ‘Time Of My Life’ once before this album came out and I thought it sounded so dope,” Dior said. “Can’t wait to do that again.”
Of “Rock Bottom,” Dior says he’s “still relating to that one quite a bit at the moment.”
Dior is raw and open about his previous struggles with substance abuse, confessing that his pre-show routine “used to consist of lots of Jack Daniels.”
“I think after my relationship ended, I went off the deep end a bit,” he admitted. “I had to sit down and look at myself in the mirror and ask the hard questions I never wanted to ask myself in the past.”
And he has answered some of those difficult questions throughout his music. But mostly, he aims to keep it real and always take things day by day.
“Don’t try to be what you see on the Internet,” he says. “The music industry is the furthest away you can get from a sure thing… you have to be mentally strong.”
Still, he has starstruck dreams. Jackson Guthy, paramour of the scandal-stricken Lori Loughlin’s daughter Olivia Jade, may have been a memorable collaborator, but he hopes to one day craft beats with Liam Gallagher as well, and perhaps even win a Grammy. Above all, though, Dior’s chief goal is maintaining connections with his fan base.
“Many, many fans have told me that my music has saved their lives,” Dior said. “It doesn’t get more memorable than that.”
He also enjoys a solid support network through his Funeral Crew.
“[Funeral Crew] is a lifestyle,” he says. “I have constant contact with them daily. They’re always DMing me stories and talking to me about their lives. It really inspires me so much all the time.”
So, what’s next on the agenda for Dior?
“I’d really love to perform in Brazil, where I still have a lot of family,” he says. “That would really mean a lot to me.”
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