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.