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Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
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Cover 06/19/2013

Girl in a Coma Singer Nina Díaz' Spiritual Makeover

Photo: All Photos By Daniela Riojas, License: N/A

All Photos By Daniela Riojas

Photo: , License: N/A

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In spite of her early awareness of the fleeting nature of the body, the fact that she grew up under the spotlight took a heavy toll on her mind.

“I was a preteen thrown into adult situations,” she said. “The [SA] scene has seen me grow up from 13 to 25. You can tell by my music how much I’ve progressed, how I’ve changed. But I had demons, everybody has demons. And the only reason why these demons would keep coming back is because I never asked for help. I never said, ‘I’m tired.’ I never said I couldn’t understand this. I never communicated with anyone. It’s the whole concept of, ‘nobody can help you unless you’re willing to help yourself.’”

Opening herself up to a spiritual way out of chaos was “reality’s slap in the face,” Díaz said, and she now strongly believes she has no need for drugs and alcohol in order to be creative. While she’s telling me this, I remember what Steve Earle wrote in the liner notes of his recent box set The Warner Bros. Years: “I made four records before Train a Comin’ and I’m putting out my 15th as I write this,” wrote Earle. “I’ve been nominated for 14 Grammys and I’ve won three. I’ve done way more shit sober than I did fucked up.”

“Exactly!” Díaz said enthusiastically. “But you know what? Not drinking, not doing drugs, not smoking, isn’t because I want to say, ‘Look at me, I’m this much sober or look how many days I’ve been sober,’ or ‘look at what I’m doing.’ It’s because I want to live to see you tomorrow, because I want to sing to you … It’s not because I want to show that I’m better than you.”

Regardless of motivations, a fellow musician approves of whatever is going through Díaz’ head and heart right now.

“I have my fucking best friend back,” said singer-songwriter Carly Garza, who’s known Díaz since high school. “I really don’t know a lot about all of that [Krishna philosophy], but it has changed her in a really good way … I’m just happy that she is healthy and doing positive stuff, because it helps me become a better person too. It makes me want to be healthy and productive.”

While devoted to Krishna, Díaz’ approach to spirituality is non-sectarian and open-minded, not easy to do whenever you join any religious organization.

“It’s OK to be an atheist, I think it’s totally fine,” she said. “I will not judge you. It’s not going to be like, ‘Oh, I can’t talk to you because you don’t believe in Krishna.’ I want to hear your views and I want to understand why. I want to understand everything. The transition that I’ve been through is wonderful. And if I could share that with anyone, I will. If you want to share your opinions with me, I’ll listen. I’m not going to disregard you or say that you’re wrong because nobody is fully wrong and nobody is fully right.”

Is Díaz just going through a phase and, sooner or later, will she either go back to her former habits or simply snap out of it and put Krishna in a drawer? She doesn’t think so.

“It’s not a phase,” she said, calmly. “Why would you go back to a bad place after figuring something out?”

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