"People will compare and criticize you – but that's part of the game"

Diana Leah in our interview about her start with Delain, music as a form of therapy, and her love for Paramore.

Elena von Dark Divas


23. Feb 2023

Diana Leah

You came together last year in a new constellation. You mentioned that Martijn (_Westerholt, Delain founder, keyboardist, and songwriter) noticed you because of an Instagram comment. What was the feeling when you saw his message in your inbox?

Diana Leah: I was on vacation in Italy, taking a walk, and checking my Instagram. Then suddenly, I saw his message in my inbox. At first, I had to make sure it wasn't a fake account - there are plenty of them nowadays. And when I realized it was actually him, it felt totally surreal! I was like, 'What? Is this really happening?!' Martijn told me that he had discovered my YouTube channel and that I was already on his list of singers he wanted to contact.

Charlotte Wessels was at the front of Delain for 16 years. When the band announced her departure at the beginning of 2021, it was a shock for many fans. Some even said they would forever turn their backs on Delain after Charlotte's departure. How do you feel about being her successor?

Diana: It's never easy when a band changes its singer. But at least you already know what to expect: people will compare you, criticize you, and leave negative comments on social media. But that's just part of the game. People expect a lot from you. What I do to maintain my mental health is to distance myself from social media. And I constantly remind myself of who I am. What the haters say about me is not a reflection of myself. I know who I am, what I do, and why I do it. People only know one version of me. They don't know me personally. So I try not to take it to heart when people attack me or make comparisons. Otherwise, it gets too close to you, and you start to doubt yourself.

With the exception of Martijn, Delain is a completely new lineup. How long did it take for you to harmonize with each other?

Diana: When I was still in the audition process, I was already flying to the Netherlands. Martijn invited me and asked if I would be ready to meet him. Of course, I immediately agreed. Martijn, Ronald (guitar), Sander (drums), and I played some acoustic songs at Sander's home, had dinner together, and talked a lot, just to see if we could get along on a human level. Getting along is the most important thing, even before musical harmony. We were immediately on the same wavelength! I was also very surprised at how down-to-earth they all are because I didn't know what to expect. They're all so cool, and it's easy to work with them. Ludo (bass) joined a month later, but he was also easy from the beginning. We are like a big family. That's rare.

So, you could say that you are not only bandmates but also good friends.

Diana: Yes! The crew working behind the scenes is also included. They are all incredibly fun; we laugh a lot. Every time I fly to the Netherlands, I think I need a facial massage because my face hurts from laughing so much. (laughs) I'm extremely grateful for that.

You've come together well, and now you're back with your new album "Dark Waters." The title immediately brings to mind the cold, harsh sea. Even when I had the chance to listen through the album, I found that many songs are rather dark and heavy, which I personally really like. What feeling do you want to convey to your fans with the new record?

Diana: I want fans to, on the one hand, feel the actual rebirth of Delain, but on the other hand, get something they are used to. The Delain DNA is still there, the sound is still similar. Of course, there's me now, I'm new, my voice sounds different. Even though many say I sound similar to my predecessor. But different singers will always have different voices. Because each voice is a blend of your personality, the music genres you listen to, and many other aspects. And that's what I want: to bring freshness with my sound. But it must also be said that even though Charlotte is no longer there, the songwriters are the same. Martijn and Guus Eikens are still the backbone of songwriting. I'm here to make the whole thing sound a bit different.

Image of Diva

Diana Leah

Diana Leah (born August 15th 1990) is a singer and a songwriter from Rumania. She is the frontwoman of the Symphonic Metal Band Delain.





15. Aug 1990


"Moth to a flame" you wrote yourself. A beautiful yet sad metaphor for repeatedly returning to a situation that isn't good for you. What prompted you to write such a personal piece?

Diana: When I write lyrics, it's nearly impossible for me not to write from my own experiences. I think in everyone's life, there's something that stirs you up. An experience you've been through that caused you pain. To heal from the things that have happened to me, I have to write about them. Let it all out, put it on paper, and make a song. "Moth to a flame" came out of me relatively spontaneously. It was prompted by something I was going through at the time. Many of us form unhealthy attachments to something or someone without realizing it. Especially when that attachment hurts, it's important to become aware of it. That's what I wanted to convey with the song. Because once you're aware that this attachment isn't good for you, you can heal and get back to your normal life. I know many people can relate to this. We tend to quickly attach ourselves to things or other people, even if they're actually harming us. I hope our fans find relief in the lyrics I've written. The fact that the reactions to the song have been so positive so far makes me extra proud.

For many people, listening to your songs is a form of therapy. Do you feel the same way when writing?

Diana: 100 percent. When I have time, I like to write in a journal and jot down my thoughts. Writing, even if I only have 10 minutes to write about my day or something that's weighing on me, immensely helps me feel lighter and let go. Writing songs is a great form of therapy for me. And you know what's also therapeutic for me? Singing a song on stage. Especially when the song means a lot to me. It's as if I'm reliving the situation. If it's a situation that made me angry, I let out all the anger on stage. This allows you to perform the songs even better.

A song that really blew me away is "Mirror of Night." I tend to overthink things, so the lyrics really hit home for me. But what gave me even more goosebumps are your vocals in the final passages. Where do you get so much vocal power?

Diana: Most of it comes from practice. Your voice is a muscle, and like any other muscle, you have to train it. The more you train, the stronger you become, and the more you can endure and deliver. This includes singing higher notes for an extended period. But it also has a lot to do with inner strength. When you have something to say, you use your voice for it, often raising it. Of course, I'm not screaming, but singing. However, for me, it feels like I'm shouting my message to the world while letting go at the same time. In the bridge of "Mirror of Night," I go quite high, almost operatic. And even though it sounds beautiful, it feels like I'm shouting. It's like a flood of emotions pouring out of me. Yelling can also be a form of therapy. When you're upset, just take a pillow and scream into it until you feel better.

You mentioned in your YouTube Q&A that you'd like to share the stage with Hailey from Paramore or Sharon from Within Temptation. Why specifically these two?

Diana: Paramore's new album just came out recently, and I've been listening to it non-stop! (laughs) I love Hailey's way of writing lyrics. She's always inspired me, especially when I was a teenager. The way she expresses her feelings is so genuine and raw – she's great with words. Every time I listen to a Paramore song and there's a line that resonates with me, I think, "I wish I had written that!" Plus, she's one of the best performers in the world. She has so much power, even in her body language – her stage presence is incredible.

The same goes for Sharon, especially when it comes to vocal performance. My journey in symphonic metal started with her and Within Temptation. Her voice is unique. When I heard my first Within Temptation song – that was "Ice Queen" – I had no idea what was going on! I had never heard a voice in such a high range before and thought, "Wait, how is she doing that, can I do that too?!" It prompted me to learn more about my voice and experiment with different things.

One last question: Before Delain, you were in two other rock bands, and you have an electronic background. Where does your love for trance come from, given that it's quite different from metal?

Diana: It's funny – I get asked this question over and over! People seem to be quite surprised that I sing in a metal band, even though I come from the trance scene. (laughs) I was born in Romania and lived there until I was 15. Trance and dance music were always big in Romania. Whenever I heard music on the radio as a little girl, they were playing dance music. When I moved to Italy and started listening to rock music, electronic music faded into the background for me. But then one day, I heard "In And Out Of Love" by Sharon with Armin van Buuren and thought, "Oh my god, Sharon's voice in trance? I'm in heaven!" (laughs) From that moment, I started listening to electronic music again, especially Armin van Buuren. I love his style. There are many DJs, but not everyone writes songs like he does. Through my interest, I met people who produce this kind of music, they sent me songs, and I got to sing on the tracks. That's how it all started rolling.

Image of Band


Delain is a Dutch symphonic metal band formed in 2002 by former Within Temptation keyboardist Martijn Westerholt.


Diana Leah - Sängerin Martijn Westerholt - Keyboard Sander Zoer - Schlagzeug Ronald Landa - Gitarre Ludovico Cioffi - Bass


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