Hairstylist Diamond Mueller and musician Jonathan Terrell have the kind of dynamic that hit country songs are made of. He’s the free-wheeling wildcard to her cool, no-nonsense personality. “She’s friggin’ tough,” says Jonathan of his wife, who he began dating almost a decade ago. He adores her strength and stunning looks, and she loves his talent, ambition and big heart. But things aren’t always perfect with this fiery couple who, at times, have to spend months apart while he’s on the road touring. “I’d say we’re in a pretty strong cycle of passionate fighting and making up,” says Diamond. “I’m hispanic… so fighting is borderline foreplay.” We hung backstage with the couple at the Paramount Theatre before SXSW to get the full, unedited version of their love story. In the end, we’re not sure who has the bigger personality, him or her. But one thing’s for sure. Together, they’re pure rock and roll.
photographed by dagny piasecki
First things first. Give us your “meet cute”!
Diamond: He was working as a valet at a lounge where I worked at the time. My friend introduced us when we were all standing around at the beginning of a shift. It was quick. We didn’t really even get a chance to talk much before he ran out the door to park a car.
I think my exact words were “Whoah, who is that guy?”
Diamond: He came in every once in a while over the course of a year or so to see our bar manager who was a good friend of his. He usually sat next to the service well which made it easy to chat with him. We talked and talked about anything.
Diamond, what were your first impressions of Jonathan?
Diamond: Very polite. Good eye contact. Kind handshake. I’m a sucker for good manners. He gave no signs of flirtation. I could tell he was a genuinely good hearted person.
And Jonathan, what did you think of Diamond?
Jonathan: I was little intimidated by her at first because she was so strikingly beautiful but once we started talking, I knew I was toast. And then she asked me out.
So many girls dream of dating a musician. Diamond, is it all it’s cracked up to be? What are the hard parts? Do you miss him when he’s on the road? Or worry about crazy fan girls?!
Diamond: It has its perks but it’s not always pretty. It’s never easy when he leaves and planning anything in the future is usually a struggle. It’s an emotional roller coaster but luckily, I’m an adrenaline junky.
Of course I miss him when he’s on the road. I’m not a fan of that much distance between us. But if I worried about crazy fan girls, I wouldn’t be with a musician.
Jonathan, what’s your take? Is it hard maintaining a relationship when you’re constantly touring? How do you two make it work?
Jonathan: I think it’s hard sometimes, but not all the time. It depends on how we’re getting along before I go out. We’re coming up on 9 years together, so sometimes space can be just what we need. Anything over three weeks and you can run out of things to talk about on the phone. My kind of touring right now can just be me alone in my truck for a month. Or sitting in green rooms by myself. Lots of time for reflection, but not a lot of cool things to report. Most days we talk on the phone between 3-5 times and send each other constant reminders, face time messages and texts that keep it sweet.
You’ve been a big name the Austin music scene for a decade or longer now. What do you love about what you do?
Jonathan: (laughs) I’d go with more “C list celeb” but, sure, you can say that if you like. I like the people I’m surrounded by. They’re hard working, creative and know how to get down. I love the music and arts community we have here in Austin and the steps the city takes to hear, see and sometimes challenge what we’re doing, which only makes folks want to work harder. Plus organizations like HAAM and the SIMS Foundation help to make you feel like somebody’s got your back in this job.
Jonathan, you’re an official SXSW artist for 2017 — is this your first time playing SouthBy or are you a veteran? What do you like about the festival?
This is my 4th time to play SX. I like that lots of my touring friends come to town and that there’s always some secret show where I get lucky and get into for being a local. That always makes me feel pretty good. Like I’ve paid some dues er sumthin’.
Where can we catch one of your official SX showcases this year?
Diamond, what do you love about Jonathan’s music?
Diamond: The poetry and storytelling.
Are your musical tastes similar?
Diamond: I would say so. He introduced me to a lot. We’re both suckers for shoegaze.
What’s the best relationship advice you’ve ever been given?
Diamond: “Your partners are often your ‘(tor)mentors’.”
Jonathan: When we got engaged, my dear friend Denis from the White Horse told me, “Say yes to everything when it comes to your wedding and then present the budget to her so she can start weeding out options that you can’t afford together. Because if you say no to anything, she’ll remember that shit forever… ”
Solid advice, Denis.
Diamond, you’re a sought-after stylist at the very cool Curt Darling Salon. Tell us a bit about the salon and your work there.
We do things a little differently in our salon. Our chosen method is dry cutting meaning the whole haircut is done on dry hair. This allows us to work with natural textures and growth patterns to give the client the best haircut for their hair. This way of cutting lets me spend more time on the details unique to each person individually.
What do you love about being a hairstylist?
I think what I love most about my job would be connecting with people. Most of the time I feel like I’m hanging out with a friend catching up and doing something that comes naturally to me all while being creative.
The flexibility is a huge plus too!
How do you two keep the romance alive in your relationship?
Jonathan: I think how spicy or mild we are boils down to communication. When Diamond feels she is being heard and respected, we have a good time. When we (mostly I) don’t take enough time to talk about what the other person needs, wants or doesn’t want, it can get pretty sticky. So lots of communication is key for us.
What do you admire most about Diamond?
Jonathan: How long is your blog?
She’s friggin’ tough. She’s my muse. She’s independent, creative and a fiery, resilient woman. She holds her family and friends close, her bullshit meter works… a little too well. And she supports me in all that I do. She recognizes my musical goals and ambitions and never holds me back from achieving those. Being drop dead gorgeous doesn’t hurt either.
And Diamond, what qualities do you admire most in Jonathan?
Diamond: His undeniable desire to find humor in every situation. His commitment to his ambition. How truly talented he is. His ability to be open minded and the amount of patience he has with me.
How quickly he can let things roll off his back. The list could go on and on…
Tell us about a particularly memorable trip or date:
Jonathan: We spent a week traveling in Iceland during the solstice last summer with some friends. We went to a festival to see Radiohead, a wild trip to a rave inside of a glacier and then stayed in a cabin for a few days in the mountains overlooking a huge green valley with wild ponies running around waterfalls on the cliffs and flittering plumes of small yellow butterflies. It was so beautiful that it almost didn’t seem real. Just staying so lit up that week from all the flowers and nature especially while we rode horses up through the mountains. Those moments together and memories of her stay very close to my heart.
Diamond: For me, camping in Big Bend. We stopped in Terlingua on the way and stayed in this “off the grid” mud hut out in the middle of nowhere. It was pitch black so the stars were incredible. No one around for a few miles. Jonathan let me lay on the top of the car while he drove down the dirt road back to the hut.
What’s the hardest part about being married?
Diamond: Changing and personal growth. Its hard to find the space to change for yourself and then conversely, giving your partner the space to also change themselves.
Jonathan: Having to leave her while I go on the road. That part will never go away and it sucks every time we have to say goodbye.
For single friends still looking for the one, what advice (if any) would you give on dating in the modern world?
Jonathan: Stop looking at your phone and go talk to someone in real life.
Right on, Jonathan. Right on.
Can’t get enough of this fun couple?
Book at haircut with Diamond at curtdarlingsalon.com and catch Jonathan at one of the following shows during SXSW: