Italian singer/songwriter Beatrice Dis released her latest record ‘Make Love’ last September. Coming from a musical family, Dis quickly started singing professionally and got involved in television, theatres, and musicals. From singing to dancing and acting, Dis developed her different talents and revealed her powerful vocals on stage.
The singer/songwriter moved to London in 2012 to pursue her passion. With the help from producer Mimí Out, with whom she created the independent record label Durendala Records, and the support from songwriter Joe Foresta, Dis is designing her unique pop sound.
Her latest single ‘Make Love’ is now available on all digital platforms.
Introduce yourself. What’s your story?
I was born in Florence and raised in the nearby city of Prato, Italy. I started singing at 12 under the severe guidance of my mom, who was a professional classical singer and then Conservatory teacher. I am a fighter; nothings stops me and I’m always attracted to new challenges.
What did you grow up listening to?
I remember that when I was 6 I used to dance my heart out on Michael Jackson’s music. Having an older sister I would have access to “adult” music like him, Elton John, Alanis Morrisette, Madonna.. In my childhood home we would listen to a lot of Classical music as well because of my parents, and I think this helped me appreciate and understand music more.
Do you remember the first album you ever got? Which one was it?
The first cd’s that made a lifetime impression on me were Celine Dion’s “Let’s talk about love” and Mariah Carey’s “Butterfly”: they were my sister’s but I was the one who made them BURN on the cd player day after day, song after song! I’d listen to those voices every time I could possibly do. I would imitate their sound, their inflections, their melismas.. They literally changed the way I would listen to music forever. I do admit that even now I favour women’s voices to men’s and I’m drawn to clear soft timbers.
You have a powerful and soulful voice. When did you start singing? Did you take any music lesson?
I started singing professionally very early as a session singer and luckily my family supported me. My mom would follow me everywhere and she stayed by my side until I was 18 and I entered a very trusted, powerful agency who could look after me closely. Had a lot of experience in the studio, theatre and live bands, ranging from jazz to disco music. I’ve always loved a good challenge and going out of my comfort zone, and therefore accepted any new experience that would come along, from musical theatre to cruise ships, from acting to dubbing.. I learned to sight read music sheets, which I think is a vital skill to train your voice consciously and learn songs in zero time. My mom gave me strong classical bases, and then I improved my pop technique with teachers qualified in Seth Riggs, Vocal Power and Estill (modern techniques of singing). In London I trained for 3 years with a West End music director and improved my acting skills at the Actor’s Centre in Covent Garden; my self-confidence and preparation were massively improved! I also dance modern jazz and train in Greenwich.
When did you know you wanted to be a singer?
I recently found an essay I wrote when I was 9; even back then the grown up job of my dreams was already being a singer! It seemed like an impossible dream: I would see my favourite singers on TV and everything seemed unreachable. Growing up I doubted my passion many times; with all these talent shows I thought I was just “another one” who dreamt the impossible.. But then I guess my passion was stronger and I made it my career!
You grew up and evolved around musicals, theatres and television, what did you learn from all these experiences?
I believe that all the training and work experiences I have accumulated over the years are now supporting everything I do, whether it’s singing live or writing a song or doing an interview. I think that I have naturally evolved skills that give me an added tool to use at need. I’m very proud of my journey; it helped me build the person and the artist I am today.
You must have done a lot of performances in your career. What do you feel when you’re singing and performing?
When I’m on stage I feel on top of the world; I feel I can wear any mask and have fun or “undress"myself and share who I really am. I don’t feel judged when I’m performing. I love singing and "becoming” the songs that I’m performing, whether I wrote them or not. I love giving importance to every word, hoping to reach the heart of at least one person in the audience.
You are originally from Italy. What made you want to move to London?
When I moved to London in 2012, it was a very low moment in my life and I had to step back from the life I used to have and decided to start from scratch. I left Italy not because I wanted to, but because I had to! I was depressed and frustrated. I had worked so hard to make my career move forward and I was surrounded by No’s, obstacles, fake auditions.. I could not see any bright future for me there so I decided to move to London, the crib of pop music, with my then boyfriend Mimí Out, who is now drummer, arranger and producer of my songs. When I arrived here I would go to open mics and private lessons, but I didn’t perform on stage for a long time. London has given me a new life, a second chance to use with care.. I needed to heal myself before thinking about music production. In 2016 Mimí Out and I decided to become independent artists: writing, recording, producing and promoting our own songs. It was a brave decision to take but I’m absolutely proud and happy we did! Singing live my own songs now has a completely different feeling. It feels like I am transferring my heart and mind to the audience. It’s not just about the warm note, the long breath, the precise melisma anymore. It’s the words, the message, the beat.. I can now be 100% ME on stage and reveal what’s important to my heart.
How was it like when you first moved there? What were the biggest challenges?
When we arrived here we learned how expensive London can be; we had to share a house with other people, I used to cycle everywhere and I struggled to find my first day job.. We didn’t have much savings, so we would have tea and biscuits as regular meals. Then one day the wheel of fortune moved and we decided to stay and follow our dreams here.
Could you tell us about your latest record ‘Make Love’? Where did you get the inspiration?
“Make Love” was written by me, Joe Foresta and Mimí Out. The first idea was a quick demo recorded at my parent’s in Italy: Mimí created a beat and Joe started jamming on the piano; vocals followed. Sensuality doesn’t make me too comfortable and I wanted to scratch this shell and reveal a bit more about myself with a song of fantasised love making. This is how the lyrics were born. I love how my voice mingles with Joe’s in the backing vocals. It’s warm and embracing.
How is it like to work with your business/life partner Mimí Out? How did you guys meet? When did you start working together?
We met in 2009 on a cruise ship; he was the drummer in the jazz band, I was the singer in the theatre. I still remember those 3 months on board as the most beautiful period I ever lived. That’s where I met Joe Foresta as well; he was the male singer in the theatre. We had a great time. It was music, friendship, love, self discovery.. Mimí is now my husband, and it’s not always easy to separate work and private life, but we manage: we have a common goal and we understand each other’s drive. We’re dreamers and we love each other’s company.
How’s the music industry in Italy comparing to the UK?
In Italy the music business is a bit slower than here. The industry people feel safer when you offer something that is not new or different..which is the exact opposite of what an artist wants to do! In London it is difficult to get gigs, radio promotion..and the industry is mainly based on social media following and online streaming. But at least you’re given a field to fight for your dreams! I had to leave Italy because I could not believe that my dreams could not have a chance: people may not like what I do, but at least give me a stage to try! The latest idea I came up with is busking. London venues ask for a big gap between gigs to attract as many friends/fans as possible, but I wanted to make a strong impression on people and have a social media growth so I decided to have my own stage every day and now I sing in the street with my speaker and backing tracks; I hand my business card to people and hopefully they’ll reach out on social media.
What makes music so special?
Music is an universal language. It’s a feeling. Many times you can listen to a song, not understand a word..and still you get the exact message the artist wanted to spread. It’s magic.
The music industry can sometimes be difficult. What keeps you going?
The industry is a very complicated net. I try and keep my eyes and ears open to understand how to move around and get myself noticed, but it’s not an easy job.. Still, after many years, I’m still here fighting for my dreams. My passion keeps me going. I love singing and I love writing songs. I love sending out a message and I have the urge to send this message to as many people as possible! Every day I ask myself: “How can I reach one more person?” ..And I keep working on that.
Who helps and supports you the most?
I have the incredible support of Mimí Out and Joe Foresta; we work in the same direction and share experiences and knowledge to help each other. We write music together, we perform together, we push each other into new challenges.. They are my strength. Without them I don’t know how I would do music! My family has always supported me; they understand how important it is for me and they never underestimated my drive. Finally I have a lot of people from the borough where I grew up who saw me sing my first songs and never stopped following my career: they always have a word of encouragement for me!!
What inspires you?
I never know what could inspire me.. It could be a conversation with someone, a dancer on Instagram, a painting, a holiday, a movie.. I try and be always open to not miss signals from the universe; any occasion is good for a teaching and I want to be ready to catch it. And in turn I happily share it with my own words and music with other people.
How do you feel about making music at a time where the world is going through so much?
I used to think that I could be much more than a singer.. I mean: a singer..sings! What kind of public service is that? I wanted to be part of the community and help. But my passion was very strong and I had the example of my mom, who was a musician..so I was confused and I asked her the question. And she said “A musician does the most important service: he relieves the soul of people”. How true is that..! For every emotion, for every moment of our life..there’s a song. I’d love for my music to be in one of those memories for someone.
What are your hopes and dreams?
The question of all questions..!! I want to be a respected and known singer songwriter who tours Europe and the world with her own songs. A mom who makes her children proud. A daughter and sister who makes her family proud. A friend who believed in her dreams and fought hard. An example for my niece. A wife who’s also a colleague. It’s not just about “making it” and being “rich and famous”: this is my life journey and needs to make me complete.
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