The song title lives up to its name – "Beautiful." The artist is 23-year-old songstress, Lia Renee Dior. And judging from the number of calls coming into the only radio station in the area regularly playing R&B/soul/neosoul, Dior might just be the next big Minneapolis export. Judging from her poise on stage, Dior may not be next – she may be now.
With her debut album "Love Child," Dior hopes not only to entertain, but also to inspire.
"'Love Child' is about me and the lessons I've learned in discovering who I am and loving who I am," said Dior. "And with the song, 'Beautiful,' it's about how do we define beauty, not in a physical sense, but mentally. That's why I ask the question (in the hook), 'what is beautiful.' In some sort of way we are all beautiful."
Dior, who went to North Community High School and is a 2008 graduate of Thomas Edison High School, said she's been singing since she was 3 years old and singing professionally for the past four years, when she linked up with area hip-hoppers, Swag House and later with The Moguls. Though still affiliated with some of the members of the two camps, Dior decided to go her own way this past year and put out her own project, which she describes and hip-hop inspired, conscious neosoul.
Every song on "Love Child" was written by Dior, with production from Major the General, DJ Cooley and Steven Butler.
"Society influences what I write about. Society, life struggles – that's my inspiration," said Dior. "I have a message to give. I'm here to deliver a message."
Though young in her career, Dior has already shared the stage with industry heavyweights Mint Condition and showcased at the pivotal Jack the Rapper music convention in Atlanta.
"It's a blessing to be able to be on stage with these people," said Dior, speaking specifically of Mint. "I'm almost too comfortable. It's almost like family when you are a Minnesota artist. They don't treat you like (a lesser artist) because they're above you – it's family."
Looking to the near and distant future, Dior will be performing July 21 at Rondo Days in St. Paul, and is already working on her next project, titled "Growing Pains."
"('Growing Pains') is a more mature project," said Dior, who also plays drums and violin. "I don't want to stay stagnant, and I want the people to grow with me. I'm still growing. When you stop growing, you stop living. The music and the message I have are very important. I want my fans to be happy and love who they are."
"Love Child" is available online at iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and during Dior's performances about town.
For performance and other information, visits Dior's site at www.liareneedior.com.