JON MORENO — Arts Editor
Q&A with Kristy Dillon, senior music major who sings country music and is heavily influenced by Miranda Lambert and many more as she studies for her degree at SCSU.
Q. Give us a bit of background information. What’s your major, year, and what do you feel separates you from other musicians?
A. My major is music. I am a senior probably going to be a super senior. I wouldn’t say that this separates me, but I feel like it’s rare to be from Connecticut trying to make it in the country industry. Personally, I feel like I don’t know any other people that go to Southern studying music, trying to make it in country music.
Q. How did it all start for you, what was the first moment that you realized music is a passion and what made you pursue it to this point?
A. When I was little I was diagnosed with anxiety and when I talked to a doctor about it, he asked my parents what I enjoy doing the most. They responded with something like “she sings all the time”, so they put me in lessons and the more I performed, the less anxious I got. I have had about four singing teachers and they have all told me that they think my voice suits country the best, so I just stuck to it and have really enjoyed it.
Q. Who are some of your favorite artists and how have they influenced you musically or personally?
A. When I was little I listened to Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes, Dixie Chicks, and Shania Twain. Now I love Miranda Lambert, Jessica Andrews, Carrie Underwood, The Band Perry and Martina McBride. Miranda Lambert would have to be my favorite and most influential because she doesn’t just sing about sappy love songs. Her songs usually involve guns, alcohol, cigarettes, and lighting stuff on fire. I feel like it’s hard to write songs that don’t involve some kind of romantic gestures, but she definitely pulls it off. It makes me want to write songs about crazy stuff like that. I love the whole country rock type of thing.
Q. Where would you like to take the music you do? Are you a solo artist or part of a band or group? Are you trying to get a deal somewhere or is this simply for the passion?
A. I made a demo that I am extremely proud of that include original songs written by myself and Frankie Vinci. I’ve always known that I wanted to do something serious with singing, but it wasn’t until I worked with a real producer who has collaborated with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, who told me that he thinks I have the goods and would like to keep working with me. Him, family members, and my vocal coach all wanted me to drop out of college and pursue this right now, but I wanted to finish college first. Now that I am almost done I’m ready to put myself out there, sending my demo anywhere I can. I’m definitely going to Nashville next year and I’m so excited to see what kind of world I want to live in. I would love to have a band and travel with band mates, but it’s really hard to find someone who is dedicated to playing country. No matter where I end up or who I end up singing with, this is my passion and I will love performing and singing until I can’t anymore.
Q. What is your advice to local artists trying to get their music heard or who just feel discouraged sometimes? What do you do to get yourself out of a rut if you are ever in one, musically?
A. It’s so easy to get discouraged and intimated by other musicians. I always remind myself that there is always going to be someone better than you out there. The best advice I can give is show your music off; give your demo to everyone and anyone who may or may not listen to it. It’s sad to say, but a lot of the time people know certain people and that’s how you can get a step closer to pursuing what you want to do. Though, if you’re determined enough, you can do anything.
Q. What is a way for people to go and listen to your music? Do you have any projects you’re currently working on and when can we expect that to be out?
A. I have my demo songs online at iheartradio.com. Type in Kristy Dillon or the song name “Broken” (it also works under Google). I really want to start a YouTube page soon and get a guitarist to travel around this summer. I also perform a lot through vocal showcases under my vocal coach, but it’s usually just a song or two. This summer will be the time for me to really get things going for myself, which is hard to do when you are in school full time.
Q. What is something about you that most people don’t know? It can be music-related or not.
A. Anyone can come up and talk to me. I’m very open to meeting new people and love making new friends. While most people would describe me as goofy, I also get very intimidated when it comes to other musicians. There are so many talented people at Southern that it’s hard not to!
Q. If it wasn’t for music, how do you think life would’ve turned out for you?
A. I honestly have no idea what my life would be like if it wasn’t for music. I would probably become a teacher because I love kids. That idea still may happen after a few years, but who knows what’s to come?
Q. What are your plans once you graduate from Southern?
A. After I graduate I want to record a lot whether they are covers or originals. I want to have a lot of experience in the studio and to be able to say that I have had that experience. Once my demo is finished I’m definitely sending it anywhere I can. I also plan on performing a lot and working with some songwriters who I just started to get to know this year.
Q. What is your fondest memory here and what would you like to tell the Southern body for those who don’t know you?
A. My fondest memory would have to be the music department in general. The people, the atmosphere, and the energy. There is nothing I don’t like about going to school now that my classes are basically all music. The students are like a big family and the staff is also very close to us. Everyone has a smile and is so welcoming to other people; it’s great to be able to remember my senior year like this.