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Spot-lite on Dawn



As part of our celebrations for our 5th Birthday, I've been sitting down and asking the band a list of insightful questions so that you can find out more about what makes us, us.


The first interview I want to share with you is with our newest member, Dawn.

Dawn joined us just this year, first appearing in our line-up in April 2023.

She has transformed our sound, our atmosphere and our fun, and we can't imagine being without her now. From her flawless, 4-D harmonies to her beautiful and loving heart, this lady was destined to be part of the Reggufam.


And if you read this interview blog, you'll see why!

Helen: OK, so the first question is vague as hell... tell me a bit about yourself.


Dawn: Oh my God, that's so vague! It is vague, Helen! I'm a jack of all trades! I don't know where that's come from. I think I actually am, though. I've put my hands to quite a few different things in my life and I'm constantly trying new things. I just think that's what life is about. It's about having experiences and getting to know people and meeting different people. Because it's so vague a question, my answer is really vague! This is me, where I'm at now. I'm in a place where I'm actually really loving my life and I'm enjoying meeting new people all the time and getting to know them and I just think it's important for people to connect. And I love music and music is definitely a way for people to connect.

Helen: You're from a musical family. Do you want to tell me a bit about them?


Dawn: Yeah, actually when I was waiting for you to call me I was thinking 'I wonder what she's going to ask', and I thought this, so I do have a bit of an answer. I've been thinking about my childhood and how much music has been involved in that. It was everywhere. On my Mom's side of the family I had two uncles who played in bands, so we were often in band practices when we were children. They practiced in my Grandma's cellar and if we were there we would just be downstairs listening to the bands. It was absolutely amazing. In my other Grandparent's house I remember it being up in the attic. I think that side of the family my uncle might have been involved in a sound, so I used to hear a lot of new music up in that attic - music that stuck with me, because for me music reminds me of different times in my life. Yeah, music does loads of things - it's everything, because it can even go as small as focusing in on one beat that you're listening to, and it's actually created a whole memory for you and whole mood and feeling. I don't even know what your question was, Helen.

Helen: We were talking about your musical family.

Dawn: Oh yeah. So, I've got loads of cousins that make music. My brother and sisters. My son is actually dipping his toe in a little bit. He's recorded a tune and he's going to release it soon. I'm quite proud of him. But, yeah, everybody is into music, and the other thing about my family is that, and my other influence as far as music is concerned, is my growing up in the church. Both my Grandmothers were very religious - Christian. So we did go to church a lot. The thing that always made it for me, and the thing that still does, and is probably the only thing that would draw me back to church, is the music. It's music that stirs your spirit, and that's what music is about really. I used to sing on the Worship Team, I don't know if you knew that. For a time in my thirties I was actually a Baptised born-again Christian, and the thing is, if you'd have known me before that, you never would have thought that would happen. It was a bit of a strange thing that happened in my life. I learned a lot. I learned a lot about theology and a lot about music. As I say, I was in the Worship team, so I sang in church.

Helen: Is that what the worship team does? Sorry, you're talking to a fully-fledged atheist here!


Dawn: It's like a choir, but a bit more modern. It was a Pentacostal church I was in, so it was, you know, very happy clappy and all that. So that's a really strong part of me. My background as far as music goes is the spirituality of it, and I think that started in church, although admittedly I am far away from church now.

Helen: Well, technically you're never too far away from a church.


Dawn: Oh, I know that, but the lightning starts striking as soon as I'm near it now. Only joking.

Helen: So was it at church that you found out that you can sing?


Dawn: That's a really interesting question because I don't even know when I discovered it. I was in choir at school when I was very little and I think that's when I knew I could sing, but I didn't know I could sing as well as I can until much later. Probably in church actually. That was the time when I realised that I actually had a voice.

Helen: I asked Lloyd the same question and he was like 'I don't think I ever thought "Oh Lloyd, you've got a voice". Somebody told me'.


Dawn: That's it. I agree with what he's saying because sometimes I still think I can't sing. Because being able to say 'I can sing', you have to have that confidence to be able to say 'I believe that', and I know what he means because as a singer, and I suppose any musician really, you're striving to be better all the time.

Helen: Yeah, I suppose as human beings we don't generally get to the point where we're like 'I've nailed it'.


Dawn: Yeah, it's all part of the journey. But yeah, I think I knew I could sing a little bit in school. I've been in quite a few bands and shows. I've used my voice a lot in my work.

Helen: Can you remember the first time you performed in public?


Dawn: Define public! I can remember when we were growing up we, along with our older sister Marcia - she was director - we always used to do performances at home. We used to put on plays for Mom and Bob, our step dad, or Mom and Dad when they were together. We always used to put on shows and plays. Some of them, we still know the songs from them.

Helen: You know, me and Anna did exactly the same thing when we were little. We had a coffee table in the living room that was on caster wheels, so we used to wheel it under the living room window so that we could use the curtains to go around the table and then we could properly open the stage.


Dawn: We did that too! At my Grandma's house, because she had a little bit of a bay window and the curtain came straight across, so we did perform in front of the curtain as well.

Helen: We did this little play where we decided to have different names to our own. Mine was Pear, like the fruit, because it rhymed with Claire, which is my middle name. Anna's was Bobo. I don't even know why. So it was Bobo and Pear...and the adventures of.


Dawn: It's interesting, isn't it, when you look back and you were doing those things and it just means that, that thing is just in you.

Helen: Yeah! So when we have a gig and they open the curtains on us, that's going to take us right back and we're gonna be like 'Yep, this is what I was made for'.


Dawn: Definitely.


Helen: We've talked about your musical history in terms of church. What else have you been up to?


Dawn: Before church I was in a band with my brother and sister. It was an acid jazz band. Fiona and I did the backing, Craig played the bass and then we had all the other people. We had a great time, toured the country, it was brilliant. We were really young then. I was in my twenties. Fiona must have been in her early twenties as well. It was good fun. I think that's another stepping stone to me finding my voice. Even though you're performing, sometimes you still have an element of doubt, like imposter syndrome, which I'm trying to just get away from.

Helen: And did you or did you not have some theatre involvement?


Dawn: Oh, yeah, when I was young. This is how the story goes. My Mom was fed up with me answering her when she called me by going "YeAhHh" (note from Helen - that was the best I could do to try and emulate in writing how she said yeah!) so she sent me to elocution lessons to teach me to speak properly! She did! And then I started to do speech exams and I got more into drama. I used to perform monologues and have exams and it was really great. I used to have the day off from school and go into Birmingham city with my Mom and have these exams, and that thing that my Mom did for me really did boost my confidence, cause I was quite a shy little girl, a shy little thing.

Helen: I can't even imagine that.


Dawn: It's been quite a few years since then and life teaches you some lessons! But I think that's what boosted me and gave me the confidence to be up on the stage and just perform. I did really well in those exams and got really good grades and that just started me off on that road. When I was at school, we didn't do drama. Drama was not a thing. But because I was doing it outside of school, it was something I was really interested in. So I went to university and I did a Creative Arts degree and when that was finished I did quite a lot of work in theatre and education companies. Plays were written and you'd be hired as an actor. I'd also do workshops with the children afterwards. The first job I had was a show - you're gonna laugh at me - it was a show designed for secondary schools about smoking education. But the funny thing about that was that every single person on the cast smoked. And we were there preaching, well, educating about like, the amount of chemicals and what not in cigarettes -

Helen: - like only an insider would know?


Dawn: Exactly, and we'd do the show and we'd teach and give the information to make the right choices and then we'd all get back in the van and we'd all be -


Helen: making the wrong choices?


Dawn: Yeah, puffing away! That was my first professional job. We toured all over Staffordshire schools and some in Birmingham, too. It was great, I did it for a few years. I performed in a play called Mr and Mrs Tragedy at - what's that place in Newtown? - The Drum. I feel like I'm going back too far - Jesus Christ, I'm giving you about 50 years of history, but this is me! Although you've already done Sugar and I know he's older than me!

Helen: He wasn't as forthcoming as you are though! What kind of music do you feel you're influenced by and can you think of any particular artists or bands?


Dawn: I love all kinds of music. Obviously Reggae is my heart. Because Reggae, to me, it's about a struggle. It's about overcoming all sorts of things, and obviously to me it's personal because it's my ancestry. So I would say...Burning Spear. Culture. Sizzla is very important to me because I think he is very outspoken. There are some things I don't agree with, but I like his music and I like where he's coming from.

Helen: I think, even if you don't agree with everything somebody says, you've got to respect that having the balls to do it.


Dawn: Exactly and I think that's one thing we need to learn anyway in life; that you're not going to agree with everybody. You might as well get used to the fact that you're not going to agree with what everybody says and just make peace with that, because otherwise you just end up fighting forever...I'm a bit of a philosopher to be honest.

Helen: It's brilliant.

Dawn: Moving away from Reggae, there's a band that I absolutely adore and if I had to go to a desert island I would take all their records with me, as well as all my reggae favourites, and that's Steely Dan.

Helen: Really?


Dawn: Absolutely - they're absolutely my all time favourites and I love their lyrics.


Helen: Did you know there's a Steely Dan tribute band called Nearly Dan? That's all I know about Steely Dan.


Dawn: I was introduced to them by my brother, Craig, years and years ago when we still lived at home. I just fell in love with them. I spent hours in his bedroom because he had a record player, so I used to spend hours in Craig's bedroom when he was off out dancing. My brother, Craig, has introduced me to more music than anyone in my life, so I really love and respect him for that. I love and respect him for lots of other things but really for that I do. Because he did introduce me to so much stuff, and when he was out clubbing, I would be at home listening to music, becaue he's a bit older than me.

Helen: So you were getting prepared to go clubbing yourself when you'd be old enough by listening to all the music! That's amazing. I love and respect your brother, too! He's amazing and he's like 'Oh yeah I can play all these things, like really well, and I can sing and be a front man and whatever and then I'll do photography and be really good at that, too' and I'm just like...I can make the horn go toot. That's about as many skills as I've got! You know, he's just so cool.


Dawn: He is amazing, he is. I don't say that often enough.

Helen: Well we're gonna put it in writing now so I'll be like 'Hey Craig!'. Yeah, so cool. We've got lots of Reggae and Steely Dan. I'm gonna go and listen to Steely Dan.


Dawn: There's loads of bands I love. I like all kinds of music. It's just gotta touch me or move me.


Helen: Do you find it doesn't matter what kind of music it is, there's something in it that you'll like? It's something that you can take something from or learn from it?


Dawn: Definitely. I've got a Spotify and if I play my tunes they jump from one place to another. I could be listening to the deepest roots reggae and then the next thing is like...hardcore experimental jazz. I can find something to like in any genre of music.

Helen: That's very similar to what Teebs said. He was like 'I'll be listening to things in my car that no one would believe' and then this app I'm using transcribed it as 'I'll be listening to things in my car that no woman would believe' and I just have images of him listening to like...the Barbie movie soundtrack.


Dawn: I'll tell you what, that film was really good.


Helen: I haven't seen it!


Dawn: Fiona and I took the girls, but I think we enjoyed it more than they did!

Helen: In your own words, how did you get into The Reggulites?


Dawn: I just asked! I asked Helen if she knew of any bands that were looking for a vocalist. And Helen went away. And she came back to me the next day and said 'I haven't found anyone that's looking' and then she said 'Would you like to try joining us?' and I was like 'Yaaaaaay, result!'

Helen: I literally got that message from you and I got straight on the phone to Lloyd and Anna and was like 'Listen right. This is going on'.


Dawn: And you know what, it's been amazing ever since. I'm loving it.

Helen: It is a really really lovely vibe, isn't it?


Dawn: Yeah it is.


Helen: You've made it like...you know how people will talk about families. Obviously we're all a family, but then they have like another kid and it just completes the family? You're our most recent child! And it just makes it so...like everyone's so -


Dawn: In sync.


Helen: Exactly!


Dawn: I know what it is, it's just such a lovely vibe... A loving vibe. And I feel that. And I must say I have been in quite a few other bands.

Helen: And they don't always love each other.


Dawn: You don't always get that vibe. The band might be great on stage but then they don't speak to each other. But it's a totally different vibe that I get with The Reggulites and I do feel like I'm part of the family.

Helen: You definitely are.


Dawn: Aw thank you darling. I do, I just think for me, at this point in my life, it was the perfect thing to happen, because it just reinforced to me that I am a performer: this is what I'm meant to be doing, because regardless of anyone else, it's so damn good for me. It's a release to just get up there and let everything go. That's the beauty of it.

Helen: OK, what has your favourite gig with the band been so far?


Dawn: That's a really hard question because I've enjoyed every single one of them. I really enjoyed the wedding last week. Other than that, it probably always is the last one. Every single one of them's been the last one at some point, so they've all been great.

Helen: What do you think makes a good gig?


Dawn: It's about the vibe between the people on stage and the people off stage. It's all about that connection and the music connects people. And I think it's a vibe. Whatever that is.

Helen: That is almost word for word what Lloyd said.


Dawn: Oh my gosh, really?


Helen: Yeah, this is what I mean - we're all so perfect for each other. Let's all get married! OK, which song in the repertoire is your favourite? And obviously we've got to include "I went down to Burnham and I swam in the sea today"... ****ing banger!


Dawn: I loved that. I did go shopping in the Bullring yesterday. Last week I went to Glastonbury. But my knees have been so bad this week. I haven't told you about the song yet, just my knees.


Helen: That's important, too.


Dawn: I like all of them but...it's weird because there's some songs that you like but you don't like singing, or ones that you like singing but don't like that much. It's gotta be Tenement Yard - that's a banger for me. We've got so many tunes! My favourite to sing is Everything I Own, but it might be because I think I know the harmonies for that better than anything else.

Helen: I think your part in 'I need your love' is really lovely. What are you looking forward to the most with the band in the future?


Dawn: More and more gigs. More and more - I don't know if I want to do that much lead singing, but it's nice to have the chance. I'm looking forward to us doing a festival where I can get a free massage! Like that one we did.

Helen: Soul Medicine?


Dawn: Yeah, I really loved that gig. It's a shame it was raining and there weren't many people there when we played, but it was a beautiful atmosphere.

Helen: It was, wasn't it? They're definitely 'us' kinda people.


Dawn: Yeah.


Helen: Final question. You may have already answered it, but...What does The Reggulites mean to you?


Dawn: Aww.


Helen: Haha, good answer.


Dawn: The Reggulites to me means freedom, family and love.

Helen: Aww!


Dawn: And waiting around in places for hours, but it doesn't matter because we're all together. When we all get together, it's an event and it's lovely. And I like that. Like I said, I've been there before -

Helen: You've been around?


Dawn: I've been there with different people and it's not the same. I think The Reggulites have got something very special going on, and I'm very privileged to be a part of it.



 

We can't thank Dawn enough for changing up our thing once again and bringing new love and new light and new vibes to our band. As you can see from the interview, Dawn is an extremely caring and interesting person who brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and heart to The Reggulites. She's very quickly become an integral part of the team, and unfortunately she'll never get rid of us ever again!


We hope you enjoyed reading our Spot-lite on Dawn and we hope that you check out the interviews with the other band members when they are available.






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Leonie Kearns
Leonie Kearns
28. Sept. 2023

So glad that Dawn has joined the family. Hopefully catch up with you all soon XX

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Bless you Dawn and Helen. I’ve learned a thing or two about my little Sis.

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Fiona Faye
Fiona Faye
26. Sept. 2023

What a fantastic interview!! Big up Dawn

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