Dahlia Dumont, or The Blue Dahlia, as she calls herself, is anything but one-dimensional. Hailing from the New York borough of Brooklyn, she’s spread her wings as far and wide as Senegal and France.
Her music, like her, is eclectic but at the same time strangely cohesive – a rollercoaster ride of moods and emotions that is always wonderfully evocative.
With her upcoming tour of the UK only a week away, I sat down with The Blue Dahlia to talk about her music, influences, and what we can expect from her shows.
Hi there Dahlia, thank you for your time. You have a very interesting and diverse background. Could you tell us about it?
I grew up in Brooklyn, with a mother from the Bronx and a father from Israel. I have always been in love with Brooklyn, the diversity, the new energy always mixing with the old, the quaintness of the tree-lined family neighborhoods, juxtaposed with the busy commerce and old architecture of downtown, the breezy calming feel at the oceanside, the hip and edgy corners full of young artists and professionals, and of course, the heavily ethnic neighborhoods where English is definitely not the first language. This upbringing heavily influenced the music I write today.
My interest in the cultural diversity of Brooklyn spilled over onto the rest of the world. My desire to travel to understand the different ways of the world started very young. As an Anthropology and French major in college, I studied abroad in Senegal and France, and then returned to live in France after college for several years. This is where my knowledge and admiration for the French language and francophone culture and music was born. Clearly this too greatly influences the music I am creating today, as I write and sing about half of my songs in French and with French stylistic undertones.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
Because of this background of personal, musical and cultural diversity, I create music that is best described as a world music fusion. Fun or often nostalgic melodies or sung over groovy reggae rhythms, mixed with tango, ska, klezmer, and the more classical styles of chanson francaise. The lyrics, sung in French and in English, are often telling stories, that are at one moment full of imagery and allusions, and at the next, provocatively honest.
The instrumentation further enriches the music with it’s international sounds, using a button accordion, traditional in TexMex music, trombone, bass, ukulele, guitar, and drums.
You’ll be on tour in the UK as from July 30. Can you tell us a bit about how this tour came about?
I am finally finishing up my first major album, 3 years in the making. The is the pinnacle of a very long, difficult and expensive effort to live out my dream as a musician and songwriter. Since my music has such an international sound, and since I still have many friends and family members in Europe from my previous years living there, I decided to celebrate the release of the album by bringing the music to Europe. Though I am investing a lot to go over there, the opportunity to meet new musicians and network and share my music across the Atlantic where its creative ideas were first born just seemed like the thing I had to do right now.
What can we expect from your shows?
The music is super groovy, and at the same time, very sensual and through-provoking, between the honest words I sing and their expression that I like to enhance with my eyes and my whole body. You’ll want to dance, dream, close your eyes and sway. It’ll be like finding yourself at the grooviest reggae Edith Piaf concert from the 1930s.
You’ve allowed your fans to name their price when they download your album, The Blue Dahlia, from your website. Why this approach?
I am allowing them to download at their price because, though there is a minimum of 99 cents per single, if someone is moved enough or is in a financial situation that allows them more flexibility, they may choose to donate more. After all the album expenses, tour expenses, paying musicians, the list goes on and on, I could really use all the help I could get. So this leaves that option open.
What are your thoughts on music streaming sites?
On the one hand, I strongly dislike that musicians get practically no compensation from the music streamed online. At the same time, this allows for a great deal of exposure, which is needed in order to gain more fans, and in turn, give a higher monetary value to your music. I for one love listening to streaming music. I think this is becoming more and more common, and since exposure is my priority right now, I do plan on submitting my tunes to Spotify, Pandora, etc.
Can we expect more music from you anytime soon?
Things have been so hectic. In addition to this music project and the upcoming tour, I am a mother of one sweet little girl, a school nurse part-time, and a music teacher part-time. I have been gigging so frequently in New York as well. So, basically, I have not been writing as much music recently. Once I return from tour, I am looking forward to a break from the promo and booking work, etc. and to take some time to write new music.
If there’s anything else you wish to add, now’s the time!
Please do visit my webiste: www.dahliadumont.com, and get in touch with me. I am currently looking to receive more press, so I’m interested in meeting those who know a thing about that.
If you listen to some of my lyrics, you’ll see I have struggled much to be a musician, and still harbor a lot of anger towards some individuals that are close to me that have been very discouraging, to say the least. But I feel like I must do this. I truly believe that you only live once, and you never know how long that life will be, so you have to always be working on following your dreams, every day.
Catch The Blue Dahlia on tour in Europe on the following dates:
July 30: The Art of Tea, Didsbury – Manchester, UK
July 31: Hotel Pavilion, Didsbury Park – Manchester, UK
August 1: Jamboree – London, UK
August 4: The Good Ship – London, UK
August 7: Stoke by Napland Hotel, Gulf and Spa – Leavenheath, Colchester, UK
August 8: Horns and Hooves – Berlin, Germany
August 9: Prachtwerk – Berlin, Germany
August 10: Haus der Sinne – Berlin, Germany
August 12: The Kiosque at Square du Temple – Paris 3e, France
August 13: The Kiosque at Jean XXIII – Paris 4e, France
August 14: The Kiosque at Jean XXIII – Paris 4e, France
August 15: The Kiosque at Jardin Villemin – Paris 10e, France
August 16: The Kiosque at Parc Montsouris – Paris 14e, France
August 17: The Kiosque at Jean XXIII – Paris 4e, France
August 18: The Kiosque at Jean XXIII – Paris 4e, France
August 19: The Kiosque at Jean XXIII – Paris 4e, France
August 19: FAREWELL SHOW – AbracadaBAR – Paris 19e, France