A fleeting connection with an alluring stranger on social media inspired Kiwi singer-songwriter Thomas Oliver's latest release, 'Roses' - but despite the romantic symbolism, the story has a thorny ending.
Daniella was interesting, engaging and intelligent, Oliver says. A chief financial adviser for an international modelling agency, the LA-based beauty had a number of fascinating life stories, which she would divulge during their daily messages and phone calls.
Speaking in a candid new interview accompanying the September 11 release of 'Roses', Oliver reveals the lyrics were inspired by a story from Daniella's childhood.
She told him that as a lonely and insecure schoolgirl, she used to stare longingly at a rosebush across the road in admiration of its beauty. She later returned as a teenager to the rosebush but cut her hand on one of its thorns.
"That became a lesson for her in life... don't get too close to the things that are most beautiful in life," Oliver explained.
"For me, that was like a song asking to be written... I couldn't help but write this song."
But it wasn't long before Oliver grew suspicious.
"The more interesting and fascinating and exciting she became, I started to question her and I started to question who she was," he said.
After investigating Daniella with his friend and manager, Oliver discovered his burgeoning connection was with a woman who didn't exist.
"Whatever identity I had been speaking with on the phone wasn't real," he said.
It transpired that 'Daniella' had been operating a fake account, hiding behind the pictures of a British Instagram model.
"The first feeling I had after realising that everything she told me was a lie was relief. I was becoming more and more attached to her."
But he says that relief soon turned to emptiness.
"I felt betrayed and intruded upon. It was quite a dark feeling."
Composed before the devastating revelation, 'Roses' is now a romanticised representation of a fleeting attraction between two complete strangers.
"[It's] all of the things this person made me feel before I knew that she wasn't who I thought she was," he explained.
After an attempt at getting Daniella to confess on her own accord, Oliver withdrew from the situation.
He told her he didn't want to pursue anything further and the two parted ways. They haven't spoken again.
"I still felt connected to whoever it was," he said.
"It was sort of like a beautiful ending. It was a bizarre, juxtapositional emotion. I was saying goodbye sentimentally to someone I knew wasn't real, yet I still felt connected to the character she had fabricated.
"Whoever the f**k you are, thank you for igniting me for two weeks to the point I wrote a song which is one of my favourite songs I've ever written."
Roses is available to listen to on September 11.