Eurovision isn’t just about three minutes of music. For artists it’s also a vast platform to showcase their talent and passion, and a place to lasso in new fans as their careers progress.

Azerbaijan’s DiHaj knows that well, having used the experience to win over tens of thousands of new followers from Lisbon to Lviv. Following Eurovision 2017, lead singer Diana Hajiyeva won the Vision Music Award 2017 for Most Memorable Staging and made the shortlist for Best Dressed. But even as the awards rolled in, the group continued to fine-tune their craft. The result of their toil is the debut album “The End Of Sunrise” — released at the end of July. It was a busy summer, but we’re now cozying up to it as autumn takes hold.

Abbreviated T.E.O.S., it’s a nine-track concept album that marries dark electronica with modern sonic beats. Fusing digital sounds with sultry soprano, the musical arrangement is sparse. But Diana fills the space with her unique and recognisable voice. As ever Diana marries her vocals with the skilled musicianship of bandmates Ali Nasib and Anar Abdullayev. Together, they create an enigmatic musical sensibility. It’s not easy to define.

The entire album is composed and executed in English, a potentially radical move for an artist who hails from, lives in and performs in The Caucasus. But it marks a bold step for the band in breaking into the European market. The LP moves away from the feeble flourishes of radio pop and finds its voice within its avant-garde production. Standout tracks include “Complain”, “Loveseat” and “Rainbow” (above).

“Rainbow” is particularly arresting and thumping, and seemingly contains a veiled message in support of Azerbaijan’s marginalised LGBT movement. Feelings of longing and urgency colour the production. As she sings, “I gotta talk to you, I gotta talk to you, Don’t know how, Don’t know why.”

Speaking exclusively to wiwibloggs about her debut album, Dihaj unpacked the work behind the music.

“Dihaj is a three man band. Each of us come from completely different genres. So T.E.O.S is a result of thorough music research and uncontested relationships. We collectively picture ourselves as a triangle — we are apart, yet totally connected. We were exchanging our music experience during the week-long songwriting sessions, and improvising on our feelings at the same time. The album title might sound tragic, but the end of sunrise marks the beginning of a new day. So there’s always hope for new beginnings after days of anger. The artwork was made by Azeri artist Aygun Hesenova. Her idea was to create a magic world using green ivy. My true fans understand Dihaj. They know it is not just Diana Hajiyeva. They know that it is also a world that they can relate to and lose themselves in its magic. This album was produced in London by Igor LOOPer Garanin. We often say that he is a 4th invisible member of our band — again, Dihaj is more than just the three of us.”

On ground in Kyiv, Dihaj made the most of dark emotions. Often paired with a man dressed as a horse, she blended equestrian aesthetics with chilling masterpiece theatre to create one of the most exciting narratives leading up to her qualification for the Eurovision final. This excitement continues in her first LP. The “Outro” on T.E.O.S. is dark, moody and perhaps contains the most compelling a capella of echoes heard on any LP this year.

And Dihaj isn’t just a Eurovision project. The Azerbaijani beauty has been waxing strong since her appearance at the contest. She continues to tour and wow audiences with her strong sense of style. Recently, we caught up with her in Baku. Watch that interview below.

Are you loving the debut album? Let us know in the comments box below. 

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23 Comments
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Zebb
Zebb
3 years ago

I really enjoyed their stream with Elnur as guest… Wish them grow more!

Ay Jo
Ay Jo
3 years ago

proud of her. Though she is not the first singer who release a song in English, but yes, it is the first time somebody releases an album in foreign language in Azerbaijan.

Richardinho
Richardinho
3 years ago

I have so much admiration for those artists who are actually releasing music as opposed to dicking around on so called ‘talent’ shows.

Montell
Montell
3 years ago

I like her music and this album is great. I only wish she had released more songs in Azeri. I listened to “E?qini A?ag? Sal” and it’s my favorite song from Dihaj.

Montell
Montell
3 years ago
Reply to  Montell

Too bad wiwibloggs doesn’t support non English characters. The link to beautiful song in Azeri by Dihaj is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qATZfQt0QYE

Jo
Jo
3 years ago

I thought she and her band have already released a studio album.

Jo
Jo
3 years ago
Reply to  Jo

*had

Gav
Gav
3 years ago

Got the album playing right now and I love it.

beccaboo1212
3 years ago

Muireann McDonnell won the first semi-final of Ireland’s JESC selection with “Súile Glasa”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8px-gkb6vHg

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
3 years ago

waiT she released an album and no one told me? Is it on Spotify???

KESC
KESC
3 years ago

Yesss it’s beautiful!! You should really listen to Rainbow. Such a masterpiece.

Jerusalem 2019
Jerusalem 2019
3 years ago

Lol I voted for her so many times, pity she couldn’t get Top 10 result. The song was so cool and the staging was AWESOME! I’d love to see her at ESC stage once again. 🙂

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
3 years ago
Reply to  Jerusalem 2019

Woo your FLAWLESS taste. I voted for her as many times as I could, my country’s jury gave her 12 points.

Axxl98
Axxl98
3 years ago

Has anybody else noticed that “Dihaj” is an anagram for “Jihad”? I know it’s not intentional but still, that’s not good for her career.

Tyrell Martell
Tyrell Martell
3 years ago
Reply to  Axxl98

Well in Slovene DiHaj means – to breath

KESC
KESC
3 years ago
Reply to  Axxl98

Dihaj would be rather an anagram for “Jahid”. Btw, the name “Dihaj” was created following her fore- and surname, DIana HAJiyeva. So it would be silly to connect her stage name with “Jihad”.

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
3 years ago
Reply to  Axxl98

O M G
I can’t unsee it now

KESC
KESC
3 years ago

She was surely the most underrated act this year.
Love her music style, her personality, her appearance.
Btw, love her new album as well, especially “Rainbow”.

Hope she’ll return as fast as possible. ??

Azero
Azero
3 years ago
Reply to  KESC

Omg it is band. So not her style, her album, but their style, their album. DiHaj is group – Diana and two men. Nothing like solo DiHaj doesnt exist!

KESC
KESC
3 years ago
Reply to  Azero

Lol, I was referring to Diana, and not the band. Since, she can be an independent person as well, or?
Btw, you say that a solo Dihaj doesn’t exist, but did you forget that she participated in the Eurovision under her stage name “Dihaj”, which is also the name of her band?!

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
3 years ago
Reply to  Azero

Her facebook page says it’s two ladies? So what is the truth?

KESC
KESC
3 years ago

Two ladies? wtf ahahah. Dihaj is the band consisting of Diana Hajiyeva, her husband Ali and Anar. However, at the same time Diana used the band name “Dihaj” as her stage name at the Eurovision as well.

Ian Gallagher
Ian Gallagher
3 years ago

I hope that she will come back to Eurovision again. I loved her performance this year. 🙂