Running towards it all.
By Tiffany Carvalho
Sally Dige (“Dee-Ah“, she/her) is a multidisciplinary artist known for her darkly poetic yet highly danceable electro-pop songs, DIY stylistic videos, design & visual art. Artist, entrepreneur, & Earhart alum Tiffany Carvalho of Tolli (she/her) asks some questions about the creative process behind it all.
Tiffany: Describe Sally Dige in 3 words.
Sally: Artist, DIY, Independent
Can you tell us a little bit about your playlist?
I chose all these songs because of their catchy melodies. I like songs that have strong hooks and melodies; songs that I want to sing along to.
What is your creative process like for music?
A lot of people say that it’s really chaotic…However, I always manage to execute everything in the end so there must be a method to my madness that works.
For music, I’m still trying to find a rhythm to it...if it’s been a while since I have played music and I feel a bit rusty, I might try to learn a cover of a song, learn a new beat arrangement or follow a YouTube tutorial and learn something new...These routines can be beneficial in just getting me warmed up, especially if I have taken a long break from music and am not in the usual “flow”. I suppose it’s my version of “stretching” before starting the workout.
Other times I may begin by building sound textures from field recordings I have; to create a mood and feeling. From there I usually start to build the percussion arrangement. Other times I just play around with chords until I find an arrangement of sounds that feels intriguing and I build upon that. Sometimes I just sing melodies on top of chords and build the song around the vocal melodies; to which I later base the music around.
What about videos?
I have been making DIY films since I was a kid so I have more a structure to it. I look back at the way that I used to make films when I was eight years old and it’s not any different to how I make them now at twenty-eight years.
I get ideas just whenever I walk. For me ideas have to come when I move….Somehow the faster I move, the more the ideas flow into my mind. I always prefer to listen to music when I move since the ideas come more easily. Every song I have ever listened to I always saw pictures and narratives in my head for. When people say “That song brings me back to those times” I often think “that song brings me back to those imaginations” since every track has a strong imagination for me.
Your music often carries a vintage feel. What inspires your sound and lyrics?
I’ve always been a lover of melodies. Catchy, hooky melodies will always be my inspiration, be it from a modern pop song to an old song. I’ve never considered myself much of a lyricist but rather one more interested in melody and emotion. I never try to be so clever with my lyrics. I always just sing the words on the spot; “speaking” about how I feel in that very moment and often keep them as is in the final song.
I am more interested in the melodies and emotions of the voice and sound as opposed to the actual words. I like how you can listen to songs in different languages and be moved by the melodies and emotions of the voice and sounds, even if you don’t understand the words at all...
Where do you want to transport listeners to when they listen to your music?
I’ve never thought about where I want to transport viewers when they listen to my music. So often people want to know where artists want to take their viewers with their work, what they want people to see, hear or feel and I think for a lot of people who create art the process is more selfish (at least this is the case for me). You don’t even think about anyone else when you are creating. It’s like you have to create art to just not go insane or to use it as therapy; to express things within yourself that you cannot in everyday life, to just release an energy that is pounding inside you. When you are doing all of this, the thought of someone else is so far away that they don’t even exist in your world and in that moment. You are having a conversation with yourself and peeling away all those buried emotions and energies that you have been suppressing in your everyday life. You are finally free and able to confront yourself.
Can you tell us about a difficult time during your career?
Just waking up everyday and wondering what is even the point of it all.
Apart from that, when my sister tried to commit suicide and changed all of our lives forever (to which we are still dealing with today). It was a very heavy time and on top of that my boyfriend dumped me and I was fighting so much with my family that I stopped talking to everyone on both sides of my family and pretty much everyone in general. I just became a super isolated person. The only way I could handle the intense anxieties and depression I was having was to work on music constantly because it was the only thing that distracted me from life. If I took a ten minute break to get some groceries, anxiety would overwhelm me so much that I would have to run as fast as I could to get back home to just jump into music again to escape my thoughts from getting too deep and my imagination getting too wild...to be honest I still feel as though I am just floating through life and it’s all just a dream.
Tell us about a moment you are most proud of.
I suppose if we are to follow the previous question: getting through those intense times and still managing to write an album, push my music videos with more complex concepts and work on other various forms of art (not just for myself but for others as well). I could have just stayed in bed being depressed but there is also a stubbornness in me that doesn’t want to give up. I made it a mission to learn the things that I felt insecure about (percussion arrangement, production techniques, songwriting abilities, and more) and to master my weaknesses. This determination led me to being very focused and to keep learning and practicing everyday and to try to become a better producer and songwriter while my world around me was falling apart from all sides.
Your mother is an artist too, right? How has she supported you throughout your career?
She’s just happy that her kids are doing something creative and not living normal lives being married and having kids.
What advice can you offer to other emerging artists?
Always keep learning. The more you can do on your own, the more control you will have of your vision. Don't be afraid to have mentors to help guide and teach you. Help others as others will in turn help you (we need to work together and not be competitive with one another). Do not care about what people think about you.