Music artist Marie Digby releases her third album, “Breathing Underwater”
by sherry gong
You may not know that Digby entered UC Berkeley intending to major in philosophy (and then continue to law school like her father did), but dropped out after her first year. Contrary to what you may expect, her Japanese mother encouraged Digby to do what she wanted.
Digby’s music admits how human she is, more so than compared to some mainstream artists. In her song “Unfold,” she sings, “You see I am the bravest girl/ You will ever come to meet/ Yet I shrink down to nothing/ At the thought of someone/ Really seeing me.” She is honest about her insecurities and uses music to open herself up to love and to the world.
Her third album “Breathing Underwater” (available everywhere), has just as meaningful lyrics as her first, though with a more upbeat theme, which is exactly what Digby intended. Not wanting to be boxed into the “guitar girl” image, Digby added new rhythms to her music. This shift seems to mirror a change Digby herself experienced recently; while working on “Breathing Underwater,” she fell in love, and the album is a reflection of her experiences with that relationship.
Digby used to think that her bi-racial background specifically helped her career because people wanted something different. But her opinion has changed somewhat.
Digby seems to be a part of the trend of ordinary people becoming famous through YouTube. YouTube connects artists directly to their audience without having to be funneled through an agent or record labels. This is particularly important for Asian American artists because not many of them are able to jump through these conventional hoops to fame. Record labels do not see Asian American musicians as being profitable or marketable, but that is something we want to change.
Perhaps Digby’s story is just one of many that will convince other Asian Americans that they don’t have to feel restricted in the entertainment industry; race doesn’t have to be the deciding factor in an artist’s success anymore. Although race and ethnicity perhaps still play a role in who gets a record deal and who doesn’t, being Asian American no longer means you’re automatically excluded from the game. Although I do not encourage you to drop out of UC Berkeley, I do encourage you all to follow your passions whether it’s music, art, math, English, or something else. That is exactly what Digby did.