Five Questions With… Dione Taylor

It seems we all need a little faith in humanity at this moment, and Dione Taylor has come to offer it with her new single How Many Times. It’s the first taste of her upcoming album Spirits In The Water, due out Sept. 11, the long-awaited follow up to 2015’s Born Free.

The record continues to show the Saskatchewan-born artist’s shift from singing traditional jazz to creating her own distinctive rootsy sound, developed with her producer and co-writer Joel Schwartz, who has been a core member of Taylor’s band the Backsliderz for the past five years. The unflinching How Many Times is not only a showcase for her powerful, gospel-infused voice, it also serves as a rallying cry for peaceful protesters seeking equal rights and justice.

Growing up a pastor’s daughter in Regina, music has always been an important and integral part of Dione Taylor’s life. She was first taught to play the organ at age four, and by age 10 she was the music director of her family’s church. From there, her career trajectory led to a Juno nomination for her debut album Open Your Eyes, a Gemini nomination, and performances at the White House, and for Queen Elizabeth II.

Now with Spirits In The Water, Taylor is eager to show off her updated sound and get back to what she does best—delivering roof-raising live shows. We caught up with her to find out what else she’s been doing recently. For more updates go to dionetaylor.com

Congrats on your upcoming new album Spirits In The Water, the first in quite some time. What was happening in between?

Thank you! I had a blast touring across North America doing a variety of music festivals and concerts. During touring, I was also busy writing the new material for this album. As well, I took an amazing road trip to Nashville, Tennessee, which inspired some of the stories and themes on the album.

From the sound of the first single How Many Times, it seems you've fully embraced a bluesy/rootsy vibe. Is that fair to say about the whole album?

Definitely! Spirits In The Water is the next step of the evolution of my sound that began with my previous album, Born Free. I call it “Prairie Blues” because I feel it’s my own magical blend of blues, roots and Americana vibes.

How Many Times also contains a powerful message suited for this moment. What inspired you to write it?

I actually wrote How Many Times three years ago. It came out of my frustration and anxiety around the inequality and lack of basic human rights for everyone. We all deserve the freedom and the right to be our best and present our most authentic selves regardless of race, religion, creed, sex or gender. Here we are, in 2020, still fighting for equality. How many times do we have to pray until we get what we want?

Do you feel hopeful that the movement currently underway will lead to more acceptance of diversity in Canada, specifically in the arts?

Great question! Although the original release date of the album was delayed, I feel that now is the perfect moment for the world to hear How Many Times. Adding my voice and support to peacefully protest is a right that I am proud to exercise. I feel extremely hopeful that the current movement towards equality and civil rights will lead to more acceptance and diversity in the arts.

It's really unfortunate that your album is being released in the midst of the pandemic. What are your plans when things start returning to normal, and do you have any live streaming events coming up?

Thankfully, my album was completed just as the pandemic hit Canada. We’re just waiting for the government restrictions to lift so we can move ahead with a plan for a CD release party in Toronto. I can’t wait for the time when we can perform live again!

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