Dilana Robichaux (aka Dilana Smith) is an alternative rock singer/songwriter, based in Los Angeles, CA. She was born Dilana Jansen van Vuuren in Johannesburg, South Africa, but also lived in The Netherlands. Dilana is best-known for being the runner-up on the CBS reality series Rock Star: Supernova which aired over the summer of 2006. On this show, 15 contestants competed to become the lead vocalist of a supergroup featuring Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe) on drums, Gilby Clarke (Guns N’ Roses) on guitar, and Jason Newstead (Metallica) on bass. The two finalists were Lukas Rossi and Dilana. Rossi was crowned the winner because, I’m sure, Tommy Lee didn’t want a female to front his new band, but, the supergroup, Rock Star Supernova, failed miserably, so, just as in this show’s first incarnation (Rock Star: INXS in 2005), the winner actually lost. On Rock Star: Supernova, Dilana performed classics like “Lithium” (Nirvana), “Ring of Fire” (Johnny Cash), “Zombie” (The Cranberries), “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (The Who), “I Want You To Want Me” (Cheap Trick), as well as her original song “Supersoul”. Post-Rock Star, Dilana, in addition to her solo work, briefly fronted L.A. Guns in 2011 and, apparently, starred in an independent South African movie, Angel Camouflaged (2010), with James Brolin(!).
Watch Dilana perform “Lithium” on Rock Star: Supernova here:
Dilana’s post-Rock Star debut, Inside Out (2009), is yet another one of those amazing albums that no one, it seems, has ever embraced but me. Dilana‘s strong raspy voice is undeniably impressive and passionate, and this album, filled with addictive alternative hard rock, is near perfect. The first single, “Holiday”, originally released in 2007, is about how Dilana’s life changed after the show. The song was covered by Allison Iraheta (who finished in 4th place on season 8 of American Idol in 2009) for her debut album Just Like You (2009). Dilana’s version is better, obviously, but Iraheta’s isn’t bad. Dilana rages: “Oh Life has changed like a holiday / Feel so damn good like Hollywood / I’m gonna, I’m gonna / Shove this life in your face / Gonna give you a taste.” In “Hate U”, she wants to shove her success in the face of someone who hurt her: “God I really really hate you / But I wish you were here.” But, she’s grateful for her success, really. In “Somebody Else”, the most infectious track, she admits: “I never thought this could happen to me / It always happens to somebody else.” Elsewhere, “My Drug” is a cool rocker that uses drug addiction as a metaphor for sexual desire, similar to the previously released non-album single “Hangover”, which uses alcohol abuse as a metaphor: “You are the best hangover / I don’t ever want to be sober,” she sings. But, if she doesn’t get sober, she won’t be hung over, right? The anthemic ballad “LOUD Silence” addresses getting clean, while the melancholy “Still Wanting” revisits the recurring theme of intense desire, but the best ballad, on this album, is the powerful “Ice”. Dilana’s passionate vocals shine on this track. After Rock Star, Gilby Clarke admitted that Dilana was not chosen because she “sounded like a singer, with Rock Star Supernova backing her.” He was right. But, as good as all these songs are, I still have a favorite. “Falling Apart” had the potential to be, at least, a minor alternative rock hit, but it was never even released as a single. She sings: “I’m not falling in love / I’m falling apart / Am I getting confused? / Cuz I’m losing my heart / I’m so bloody fucked up / I don’t know where to start.” And, I wonder, “Who hurt Dilana Robichaux?” Her pain, my pleasure.
Watch the video for “Holiday” here:
Watch Dilana perform Fleetwood Mac‘s “Gold Dust Woman” live here:
And, watch Dilana perform Led Zeppelin’s‘s “Whole Lotta Love” live here:
2000.09.05 – Wonderfool (as Dilana Smith) (Red Bullet) [Album]
2007.02.20 – “Holiday/Ring of Fire” [Single]
2009.06.09 – “Hangover” [Single]
2009.11.11 – Inside Out (Kabunk) [Album]
2011.07.15 – “Airplane” [Single]
2012.03.17 – “Sexaholic” [Single]