Madi Diaz Hopes Her Ex’s Ex Hears Her New Album

The indie-folk songwriter and former member of Harry Styles’ touring band explains how old journals and attachment styles shaped her album Weird Faith.

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On one of the most bristling songs of her new album Weird Faith, Madi Diaz sings directly to her ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend. “Are you hoping he’ll catch feelings for you again?” she accuses over grinding, anxious guitar, oscillating between hating her guts and admiring how pretty she is. It’s messy, earnest, and painfully relatable. When she ends the song with the scathing lyric “So, sorry I’m your ex’s girlfriend,” it elicits a wince and cheer for her at the same time.

Diaz, 37, is a veteran at puking up her feelings into songs, no matter how ugly they are. After spending the past two decades working the Nashville circuit, she’s now breaching wider recognition with Weird Faith, thanks to her last few years on the road with Harry Styles first as his tour opener and then a touring band member. Her new record is a fraught meditation on love and unhealthy cycles, filled with bare-bone confessionals that find her circling her own neurotic habits, toxic thought patterns, and an ever-hopeful desire to be better.

“Everybody has those [insecure] moments,” she says of the song “Girlfriend” over a recent Zoom. “The whole record is those moments. They're all songs written inside of these totally little panicked, very reactive moments.” Below, the musician breaks down the influences that shaped Weird Faith, from old journals to her own anxious attachments, while sharing the lessons she learned from them along the way.

Attachment styles

DIAZ: I think attachment styles come up specifically in “Same Risk,” “Everything Almost,” and “Get To Know Me” big time. I have been historically classified as avoidant as far as attachment styles go. I have read the book Attached, or I made it about 100 pages and then I was like, “This is stressing me out. I really can't do this anymore.”

In this last relationship for me, I found someone that was magically more avoidant than I am, which totally flipped things on its head and was a really good learning lesson, a way for me to work through how I treated people in my previous relationships, and [find] empathy for myself.

I think [attachment styles] are helpful generalizations that give me another language to describe whatever mode I happen to be in in that particular relationship. We're bombarded with so much relational language on the internet. Accounts like @thesecurerelationship can be really super helpful in some ways, but I also can find that stuff to be very finger pointy.

My ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend

DIAZ: Every word of “Girlfriend” is so true. I kind of can't wait for her to hear it. I'm so curious if she'll ever lock in that it's about her. I think the world of her. I have always had a light friend crush on her from afar. I ran into her backstage at Newport Folk Festival in 2022, and was just like, whoa. She's the person that I want to be around, and for some reason, she's drop dead gorgeous, literal model, tall, Amazonian bone structure.

I am a confident person, but like anybody else, man, I have those moments. But God, I'm so glad that I got them out on paper so that I can come back to them in 10 years and be like, “Yep, she's still doing that. That's cute.”

My parents

DIAZ: I talk to my dad a few times a week. We're really close. He was a big inspiration for this because while I was making Weird Faith, writing has a tendency of taking me away from my home and the people I love. I'm really grateful for my dad just telling me that he loves me and supports me, and [all of this] matters, and it doesn't matter at the same time.

He has so many isms, it's ridiculous. They're all loaded with cuss words because that's just how we work. I don't know if that's print worthy.

Diaz and her father.Courtesy of Madi Diaz
Diaz and her mother.Courtesy of Madi Diaz
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Can I just throw in some mom love, too? A lot of my ability to see really difficult things through, the recording process and patience and career and just pushing the boulder up the hill, has come from my mom.

The way I talk to myself when I’m by myself

DIAZ: I'd say that “Get To Know Me” is unraveling a lot of shame and trying to shed that and be like, this is just one part of me. But it took me talking to myself to get there. The lyric, “Have you met when I'm belligerent/ I might make you cry,” that’s a shitty thing to say out loud. I don't want to make anybody cry. [But] just putting that down and releasing that from the vault, I feel like the way I talk to myself now versus when I first started writing Weird Faith, it's different.

Old Journals

DIAZ: This last record, it was interesting to me that there were a couple of journals where I could open it up to any page and whatever it was, the language and the obsessiveness and the issue was exactly the same. I couldn't tell who I was talking about or what situation I was talking about, but the situation was exactly the same situation that had carried over in a pattern sort of way. It made me think, What is it that brings you back here over and over again? That's where a lot of the writing [on this album] stems from.

Diaz’s pile of journals.Madi Diaz

I'm a very routine based person. It keeps my ass in line, and when I'm journaling, I'm a lot more centered in myself.

I love a hardcover, black bound [journal]. I like thicker paper, but not too thick. I love those Micron pens, but I always mess them up, so I tend to steal more hotel pens and restaurant pens than I should probably admit.

I saw Bikini Kill play at Marathon in Nashville a week before I left to play in Harry [Styles’] band. And [Kathleen Hanna] talked about journals and she said, “Never throw your journals away because that is your art.” Sometimes I'm like, burn it, burn all the books,. Marie Kondo my house and Marie Kondo my memories and my thoughts, but the way they come back to save you sometimes, that's real. The proof is in the record.

Madi Diaz’s ‘Weird Faith’ is out Feb. 9.