INTRODUCING THE SINGER WITH THE DISTINCT VOICE
There aren’t many pop divas in Berlin’s underground scene. The city mostly known for its vibrant techno scene is less likely to pop up when we think about contemporary pop music. But the German capital is not only about bass and kicks. It’s also fertile soil for a special kind of sound that takes its inspiration from club music and blends it with a keen curiosity for new sounds. It’s this autumn that one of Berlin’s pop divas has just put herself on stage again. I’m talking about DILLON.
If you haven’t heard about DILLON yet, let me introduce you to her. The first remarkable thing about the singer is her voice. Subtle, soft and sometimes mistaken for sadness, her sound evokes dramatic emotional landscapes. Her lyrics are poems gone pop. The production of her music has evolved over the past years, from simple electronica merged with piano sounds to playing her concerts with whole live orchestras. Active for about ten years, she started her career in West Germany. A friend of mine told me about her first concerts, back then under a different name: she was playing in small shabby clubs. Now she’s on stage, right on the upper edge of the underground, playing in selected concert venues, such as Silent Green in Berlin this November. The former crematorium hosted the kick-off concert for her current tour that showcases DILLON’s latest album: Kind.
“How tall can I grow? Only time will know”, DILLON sings with her yearning voice. It’s the call for change, for development and for depth, that infuses her music. This is why her audience is a fine tuned mix of cultural intelligenzia, that especially in Berlin, is drawn to art, to clubs and to experiments. No surprise that Dillon’s first releases were put out on BPitch, the label of Berlin’s electronic grand dame Allen Alien. The label changed, so did the sound, and Dillon has evolved into a new persona. Her outfits become more extravagant, her show more exalted. It’s the “out of this world”-ness Björk has infused into pop that DILLON refers to when dancing kabuki-like on stage. Along with that comes a curious, almost spiritual, translation of her inner world into her music. It would be easy to say that her sound is kitsch. The winding bass of “Shades Fade” in combination with her meandering voice, scratching heights and divided by dramatic pauses, set in contrast to dramatic horns. The textures she presents are not completely new, and they don’t have to be. Dillon has a special handwriting that goes further than her voice, and it is this handwriting that makes her an outstanding artist. It is her acute sense for the edge of kitsch, the edge of bursting bubbles of emotions. She teases us and she explores herself. She wonders, and she experiments – and through that she excites her bohemian audience.
It is DILLON’s sense for the contemporary that makes her so appealing. The surface she offers is catchy. Listening to her songs, you’ll find yourself nodding your head and repeating the melodies of her songs for day after. This quality coins her first releases and prolongs into her current album. Her evolution can be seen the clearest when she covers herself. Contact Us is one of her earliest singles – and one of her first hits.
Almost ten years after its first release: “You’ve got to contact us” is still the imperative, but the sounds surrounding the lyrics become much more electronic. Without being directed at a dance floor, she quotes contemporary club music.
Looking at the topics she encodes into her poem-like lyrics, Dillon dips into the sweetest of all topics. It’s love all over – but neither heartbreaking nor pure admiration is what she sings about. Dillon talks about love in all of its weird shapes, its banality and its beauty when she sings lines like “killing time with making love.” Her songs are like painted landscapes, evoking an atmosphere that is unique in each song. She captures emotions that are similar, but never repeats herself. She feels into the mutations and shapes love can take.
Story by Kevin Junk