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Chip DiMonick goes pop with Londona

"This project has taken us places, rather than us taking it places."

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A success in his own right on Pittsburgh's hard-rock scene, Chip DiMonick is used to writing songs consciously, without any outside inspiration. Such was not the case with his latest output, "Touch Me in My Dreams."

The song, and his new band, Londona, "started with a dream," he says. "One of my favorite singers is Lzzy Hale, from Halestorm — I had a dream she was helping me write a song, she was saying what to do, what not to do, and we were working out the melody and the lyrics. It was very, very detailed. She was very serious, like this sage adviser. And I woke up, and the words, and the melody, and the chords were so clear in my head, I came down here and plucked out the melody on the guitar, and I just put it onto a tangible format."

All he needed was a strong female voice, so he took to the Internet, and found Jenn Neish via Craigslist. Neish, whom DiMonick calls a "needle in a haystack," had recently signed on with a different band, but was so inspired by DiMonick's ideas — and very possibly their mutual admiration for pop singer P!nk — that she decided Londona was where she wanted to be. Neish brought a consciousness of doo-wop, and vocal experience ranging from church cantoring to contemporary rock.

"It went so well, I was inspired to write a second song and a third song, and so on," DiMonick explains. "It has a little bit of a guitar-driven edge to it, but it wouldn't be out of place on pop radio."

The guitarist grins and adds: "This project has taken us places, rather than us taking it places."

With a 150 percent match on an Indie Go Go crowdfunding project toward its first music video, and an album cranked out in a matter of months, Londona has definitely taken the initiative.

"To hear the final outcome of it, I've been shocked that I've been capable [of doing] something like that," Neish says.

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