In this Emerging Headliner interview powered by JBL, California-based Portland singer, songwriter and musician DINER explains how her hopeful love song, Goodbye To Someday, was actually inspired by the Chicago Cubs.
DINER has been working at her parents’ Portland cafe since she was five years old. When her age reached double digits, serving her teenage school friends may not have been the coolest way to spend a weekend, but it gave her a place from which to daydream, and shaped the future country-pop artist she would one day become.
“When I was two, my parents found this little diner and the owner was lying on the floor, drunk and said, ‘The next person that can come up with the money to buy this place can have it’. My mom bought it and they completely flipped the whole place around,” recalls DINER (real name Madison Hurtado) from her now-home in L.A.
“From as early as five, I was walking around taking orders; I started pouring coffee. It was really easy to run the register, so I started doing that as well. I've been working there my entire life. It's been a really cool upbringing. My parents are still there every day.”
DINER may have moved to Hollywood to pursue her dreams, but she makes sure she’s back home every Christmas to clock in for her shift. “It's tradition that the whole family works on Christmas Eve,” she smiles. “It's cute. My mom is super supportive and she has all these coasters with my face on at the diner, which is really weird,” she laughs.
While DINER was wiping down tables and pouring coffee, she daydreamed about making it as a singer, concocting elaborate scenarios to get through her shifts. “I would picture doing music videos in there, like flash mobs, musical dance scenes and all that,” she shares. “I have this place that I go to in my head – and maybe a lot of people do – when you are working really hard and you invent this dream world where everything's okay. A lot of my music is inspired by that.”
Singing from the age of two and with big dreams, DINER has tried it all: American Idol, – “I biffed it,”– X Factor, America's Got Talent and The Voice.
“I tried out for everything! I tried out for every local musical. I never got the part I wanted, so I was always dreaming of it. I could not wait to get out of there, but it also inspired a lot,” she acknowledges. “As an artist, all you can do is tell your story, so I wanted to talk about growing up in the diner, what it's like to deal with annoying people, creepy men or people that are entitled – all those things that you deal with being in customer service,” she says knowingly.
“I watched my mom do it every day, my dad has to deal with it and my sister, and that's been such a huge part of my life. It really shaped me. I've had a community of people that basically raised me since before I could see over the counter and a lot of my music is inspired by that. I was the local diner girl growing up, and going to high school, all the kids would come in on the weekends and I'd be serving them and dealing with the aspects of that.”