Dionne Halsey is a song writer, event host and mental health/self care advocate. She’s also the co-founder of Heal Baltimore and Creativity and Conscious Sippin, Dionne currently co-creates events that bring people together to support art and to give back to their communities. Dionne also hosts a popular variety show in Baltimore called #ThursdayNightRealness and facilitates workshops that focus on mental health and self care. Let’s take a minute to get to know her a little better.
Sapphire: I was initially drawn to you because of your drive. I first noticed you as an event hostess. I was pleasantly surprised to find out you had much more to offer. In three sentences or less, how would you pitch yourself. Who are you?
DaHitWryter: First let me thank you for this interview. Alright so, I’m a motivator, team player and creator. I build, create and work with others to do the things that align with my purpose, and provide positive change.
Sapphire: You’re so diverse and I love it. You originally got your start in music. How did you get into song writing? Was writing always a hobby or passion for you?
DaHitWryter: Writing is so therapeutic for me. I wrote my first song for church when I was about 9. Then I got consumed with my first love, basketball. So I actually started writing consistently again when I was in high school. I actually would write for my peers and hang on my front porch and write and spit verses with the guys in my neighborhood.
Sapphire: You been lucky enough to work inside the music industry as well learning more about the industry. These days you even guest host and interview some cool people. What have you learned from working inside the music industry?
DaHitWryter: Working in the music industry, I learned about the business and most importantly I learned a lot about what’s for me, and what’s not for me. It’s important to be self aware when you are constantly around others and exchanging energy.
Sapphire: Do you prefer to be in the spotlight or more behind the scenes? Why
DaHitWryter: I actually prefer to be behind scenes because I love supporting others and seeing other people take my words and give them life when I write a song or some other piece for them.
Sapphire: You have many artistic talents, I love that you nurture them. How long have you been doing graphic arts? Was it hard to learn the craft?
I’ve been doing graphic arts, without realizing it, for over 10 years. I’ve always been the type to play around with gadgets and take things apart and put them together so once I taught myself the program, making flyers and all that, became easy. It definitely saves and creates additional income for me.
Sapphire: You are co-creator of Heal Baltimore and Creativity and Conscious Sippin, what can you tell us about these organizations and how you became involved?
DaHitWryter: Heal Baltimore came about after the riots that took place in Baltimore. It was actually an uprising as well. I kept saying the affirmation Heal Batimore so I reached out to my business partners and said, hey, would you be interested in putting together events that support and give back to our communities? And they were all in. We have artistic events, and we put together drives to collect things for those who need them. CCS is a mobile paint and sip company. We bring the sip and paint to your home, office, bar or wherever we are needed. Another business partner of mine was looking for ways to incorporate her artwork into her brand. So we did research and reached out to a company for her to work with. At the time they didn’t have any openings so I encouraged her to start her own company and ended up becoming a business partner. We also put together artistic events for the public too.
Sapphire: As someone diagnosed with mental illness Myself, I was extremely drawn to your need to share your story of battling depression. I’m glad that you got the help you needed. How has battling depression affected your life?
DaHitWryter: Battling depression would always have an effect on me being consistent with my career. There were times where I just wanted to sleep all day and let life pass by.
Sapphire: In the Black community, mental illness is generally overlooked or downplayed. We are told to Suck it up, pray and the like. How supportive was your family and inner circle when they found out You were battling with mental illness?
DaHitWryter: My inner circle really stepped up once I revealed that I was feeling depressed and suicidal. At the time, I had a partner who went to the end of the world for me, and I cherish her for that. My family didn’t really know because I shutdown after coming to a family member about it and it not being taken serious. That family member was depressed too.
Sapphire: What’s up next for you? What can fans expect to see from DaHitWryter?
DaHitWryter: Fans can expect more hosting, workshops about mental health and self care, motivational speaking, and new music! More businesses and merchandise too.
Sapphire: How can people keep up with your work? Drop them links on us.
DaHitWryter: I’m big on hashtags so if you’re on Twitter, IG or Facebook it’s @DH_DaHitwryter or just plug in #TheDHExperience. To hear music from me as a lyricist and also a songwriter, check me out at www.soundcloud.com/dhdahitwryter. My website will be returning soon. Thanks again Queen and to all those supporting.
Nafrini is a Conscious Hip Hop artist hailing from the Midwest, on a mission to bring back authentic storytelling and substance to the art form of Hip Hop. In the spring of 2015 she released ‘All Day (Promo)’, a freestyle over Kanye West’s track of the same name where she addressed the braggadocio nature of rap music. She followed that up in the winter of 2015 with her first official single ‘In My Hands’—a laid back hip hop record detailing the obstacles of her spiritual journey followed by the release of the ‘In My Hands’ music video in the spring of 2016.
In the Fall of 2016 she released her second single ‘Lovin’ Him (That Was That Bullshit)’ detailing a past relationship that ended in regret. 2017 promises the next chapter in that tale with new music & visuals, live performances and as always, a focus on telling true-to-life stories.
Sapphire: Your portfolio on Model Mayhem is stunning. Each photo more mesmerizing. I see you’ve been modeling for 11 years, what got you started in the modeling industry and how hard was it to find your niche?
Disney’s Frozen is headed to Broadway. Open casting calls for dancers and singers will be held in both Chicago and Los Angeles
Expected to hit the stage in spring 2018, Tony Award-winning scenic and costume designer Christopher Oram along with Tony Award-winning director Michael Grandage will both be working on the show.
Disney is looking for experienced dancers over the age of 18 to audition in either LA or Chicago January 12-14. Disney released the following statement
This Broadway-bound Frozen, a full-length stage work told in two acts, is the first and only incarnation of the tale that expands upon and deepens its indelible plot and themes through new songs and story material from the film’s creators. Like the Disney Theatrical Broadway musicals that have come before it, it is a full evening of theatre and is expected to run two and a half hours.
Written by a trio of Oscar® winners, Frozen features music and lyrics by the creators of the film score Kristen Anderson-Lopez (In Transit, Up Here) and EGOT-winner Robert Lopez (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, Up Here) and a book by Jennifer Lee (Wreck-It Ralph), the film’s screenwriter and director (with Chris Buck). Frozen won 2014 Oscars for Best Song (“Let It Go”) and Best Animated Feature.
Frozen’s director is Michael Grandage, a Tony Award® winner (Red) and director of three Olivier Award-winning Outstanding Musicals (Merrily We Roll Along, Grand Hotel and Guys & Dolls), and Tony winner Christopher Gattelli (Newsies, South Pacific, The King and I) is choreographer.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity of the lifetime to work with such an acclaimed director and costume designer as you travel the world with this amazing show. Grab your resume, sheet music, dance shoes and get your butt in gear to head to one of these open calls.
Nervous? As the words to the popular song from Frozen goes, “let it go.” Go get that part.
1.) You’re so multi-talented, a skilled model, dancer, singer, photographer and actress. How do you find balance and the time to pursue your passions?
Well as you may know that acting, modelling and singing is my main… rest are hobbies. However a lot of my focus goes in acting.. so when that’s gone a bit quiet, I then do more modelling and photography.. in between that I may have the odd singing or dance project to do or a film… Singing however has been on hold for a few months with me on the lookout for a producer.. So I started writing songs with my writer friend, Danny Wheelhouse, who also checks my film scripts etc as well. Since I’ve found producers so will be working with them very soon for my singing.
They maybe times where I’m doing a lot of one thing like for example filming and not much time to do others.. But I have a diary that helps me keep track when it gets crazy lol.
2.) You started your film career in 2011 and to date have appeared in over 20 short films, movies and video projects. Where do you see your acting career in 5 years. What is your ultimate goal as an actress?
I started out just doing short films and networking and slowly built up… It’s been tough years, on and off. However I like to think in 5 years time I’ll be more further than I am now.. with far more acting credits and TV credits to show that will eventually create into show reel and doing what I love.
My aim goal as an actress is to show people what I’m made of, work hard and constantly progress to active where I’d like to be. Working with talented people and being part of amazing features and TV programmes, that to me would be amazing.. I just work hard and see what comes out of it.. I can’t honestly say where I’ll be, only where I’d like to be. But whatever happens ill always work hard to get there in doing what I love.
3.) Can you tell is about appearing at Dance Academy?
When I was younger I joined a dance class Academy spent about 5/6 years there… Learning different dance styles.. such as street dance, hip-hop, cheerleading, break-dance, bit of salsa, contemporary and more etc.. the last two years of my dancing there… I was then in a team called ‘Villians’ doing dance competitions came 3rd place once. I then got more older moved onto a group called ‘Fusion’ (adult team) Doing competitions, competition against other teams coming 3rd the first time and 2nd on a different occasion and 5th solo, earning medals and group trophy’s.. also did live shows to where we performed dances we learnt each year… then things moved on I went college which then had not a lot of time to do it anymore there.
4.) You’ve done a lot of musical theater. Tell us about your training and if you can remember, what performance was the most significant to you?
I studied Musical Theatre level 3 at college and did two main musical shows… one being ‘A slice of a Saturday Night’ & ‘Our House’ and other musical shows at college.. The main one for me that I really loved and most challenging was ‘Our House’ The dancing was fast and energetic all way through, none stop. found it the hardest I’ve done as well, but loved it and the music. outside of college I did ‘grease’ play when I was younger at school and started be in ‘Mamma Mia’ musical when I was attending Dance Academy.
5.) You have an affinity for horror movies and had makeup done for that genre as well. How did your love for horror movies come about? What horror projects have you worked on ?
I’ve always been an huge fan of horror, I find a lot of work goes into them, love all the SFX makeup too.. I remember watching a film Called ‘The Ring’ that set my love of, since I’ve been constantly watching them… I’ve learnt a lot from them as well. Most recent horror features I’ve done where: ‘Lead me to the Dark, under my skin’ .
6.) Giving back is beautiful. I loved finding out that you work with a company to help youth develop their creative talents. Tell us about that.
I spent few years in youth work sessions, volunteering, Its great experience helping young people, gain a better future by inspiring them to do well in what they love to do. doing activities with them and passing on what I know onto them in projects, youth was really awarding and enjoyed my time there, I’ve also presented award on awards night for some of the young people. I did youth work course level 2 and passed just before I left the groups.
7.) What is it about modelling that interests you? How did you start modelling?
When I was younger I could never see myself modelling, down to low confidence about myself, however I did a one off shoot, I really enjoyed it, after that I had six months out and I then saw a casting of a group shoot, I went to it and it kicked off from there. Think most thing I love about modelling is seeing what different looks I can pull off trying different themes, I can’t stick to one theme I get bored, Like to experience different styles far more fun and interesting, plus makes your portfolio more versatile. I also love modelling because I’ve meet some amazing talented photographers, models and Artists and pleasure working with different people… one the reasons I carried on in modelling was to improve my confidence as an actress too.
8.) Do you do photo shoots only or are you a runway model as well? What’s your dream modelling gig?
I’m however under the height limit for cat walking, but it’s never been style I really wanted to be honest. I would love to aim doing international modelling, featuring on stuff, commercials, Beauty looks, photo shoots, Magazines and Catalogues etc mainly what I’m interested in as a model.
9.) Being so multi-talented and diverse I have to ask, if you could narrow it down to just one of your talents, which one would you focus on?
As much as I love Singing and Modelling and the rest, for me has to be acting, I love being on set and escaping into different characters… I find it more challenging and awarding. My acting really grow in passion once I started getting into the odd features, was great experience.
10.) Where can people find out more about you?
So I’m working hard to continue to build this site. We just celebrated our one year anniversary and while it’s not quite where I want it to be it’s getting there. I’m happy to announce that I’ve partnered with an international magazine, London LeBlanc Magazine to offer you even more exposure.
I am steadily looking for people to interview for this site but now once a month I can also highlight 2 individuals or groups in an international print and digital magazine. The first issue with My writing and interviews in it came out yesterday. Check it out https://www.joomag.com/magazine/london-leblanc-magazine-volume-12/0313334001450038793
I interviewed a plus sized model/designer from Ohio and a Emcee/Producer group from Baltimore. They came out great. If you’re interested in being featured here on the site or possibly in the magazine feel free to email Me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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