Christmas in July? It is for Dielle, but she’s escaping the studio to enjoy the summer at The Spring Arts Centre in Havant
We may have been enjoying a heatwave of late, but Wickham-based singer-songwriter Dielle Hannah has been locked in the studio singing about Christmas.
‘I’ve got a couple of agents in LA now, and one of them does a huge amount of TV movies for Hallmark and things like that,’ she explains.
‘Since I got involved with that, it’s Christmas all-year-round, they always want Christmas music!’
But she thinks she might have overdone it with the song she’s working on the day she speaks with The Guide.
‘It’s actually a really spunky, loud, Beatles-esque version of The First Noel. I don’t know if they’ll be able to use it – it got a bit massive,’ she laughs. ‘I’ll probably use it for my own Christmas single. The music for these films needs to be all nice and understated, but this got a bit massive and it’s got strings on it and all sorts.’
The Hollywood hook-up came about after Dielle released her 2014 album Fearless.
‘An indie movie producer heard it and picked one of the songs off of that album for a film that still hasn’t been made!’
But that break helped her got a foot in the door.
‘Fearless was a real labour of love for me, it took a lot of work and a lot of time and a lot of sacrifice and a lot of money through a very difficult time in my life, and I was determined to have this record the way that I wanted, I didn’t care if it was commercial or if it would get played on the radio.
‘And the song that she picked was the weirdest, arty-fartiest out-there thing to go over the closing scene and credits of this movie.
‘We got talking and she says she’d like to have a singer-songwriter do the whole score, would I be interested? So of course I said yes.
‘Our relationship has grown from there, so we’re the main composers for her film company. From that we started travelling over a lot more and the indie-film community, it’s like music anywhere, is very close-knit, so we started getting shared around other producers.
‘Most of our work is over there now – we’ve been to a few film festivals, which has been very cool.
‘‘Through going backwards and forwards we’ve been growing a network out there and it’s been really exciting. It’s nice to be part of something bigger than me – my little song-babies have a life beyond me.
While her debut album, Beautiful Monday, saw Dielle pigeonholed as a folk act, she says the label has been ‘both a blessing and a curse’.
Her most recent single First Time even dabbles in reggae.
‘Since I’ve started to get involved with film, I feel this is what I should have always been doing because there is so much variety and we’ve done so much different stuff already.
‘I could never box myself in. I could never decide I was going to be “Girl With Piano” and that’s it, that only fulfills me for so long.
‘Even on my back catalogue of three albums, I’m really pleased they all have such different sounds.’
The free afternoon show at The Spring will see Dielle joined by her long-term colleagues, Chris Wood and John Gleadall.
The show will feature acoustic arrangements of songs from her own three albums as well as some covers.
‘ it’s about half-and-half of our own songs and covers of the songs that got us here.’
‘Lots of vocal harmonies – Carole King, Crosby, Still and Nash, Snow Patrol, Joni Mitchell – those classic hits and the people who have really influenced us. And there’s lots of funny stories from John and Chris, I let them do that bit!’
She will also be playing at The Station Theatre on Hayling Island on Saturday, September 28. Tickets £12. Go to stationtheatre.co.uk.
THE DIELLE TRIO
The Spring Arts Centre, Havant
Saturday, July 6, 1pm