If anyone knows a thing or two about writing songs it’s Donna Dyson.
The Brisbane songwriter has been recognised for her work with Damien Leith, being awarded the APRA-ASA Songwriter of the Year by the Australia Songwriters Association. Donna has also been the composer in residence for many years with the Brisbane Sings Festival.
This time last year, you may have heard Donna’s collaboration with Craig Allister Young (of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra) gracing the airwaves on 96five. ‘December Child’ featured the voices of jazz vocalist Renae Suttie as well as Gregory Moore, who is well known for his work with the Ten Tenors and the Queensland Pops Orchestra.
This Christmas, Donna’s focus has shifted to kids Christmas music, under the banner of her Spotty Kites label. She told 96five that writing for children stemmed from her time as an educator and education academic.
“I specialised in children’s literacy, and I really wanted to contribute back to that space. Children sing before they read, so it was an amalgamation of my passion and academic talent.”
Donna is quick to point out that the music of Spotty Kites is not just for kids though.
“The songs are written in such a way that they are for all the family. Parents won’t go crazy having an earworm in their head while they’re in the car!”
A Spotty Christmas
This year’s release is the Spotty Kites Christmas Volume 2, featuring the original songs Christmas Holiday, Santa Boogie Woogie and Santa’s Christmas Cake. Donna’s hope for these songs is that children can have a deeper involvement in the music.
“The music is for them to participate in as well as enjoy! Our vision is to provide children’s songs that are quality, but also safe and reliable. We’re passionate about sharing stories through songs, so children will have a lovely encounter of a story with each song.”
The song ‘Light Up The Christmas Tree’ has been used by a number of local councils, and is a song that brings back some special memories for Donna.
“I was the kid who was always dragging the big suitcase with the tree down from the cupboard earlier than the family would like!”
“I’ve always loved Christmas, and Spotty Kites really celebrates the whole essence of families gathering and Christmas traditions.”
Donna also sees the power of music in transporting the listener to a different time, place or purpose.
“Take songs like Silver Bells or White Christmas; the lyrics can take us to a shared experience, or the music will be deep seated in our memory. When we hear the music it can take us to a place in our own life, there are beautiful encounters that only music has the power to do. As a songwriter it’s an incredible privilege to provide that for others.”
Spotty Kites Christmas Volume 2 is out now. You can stream it (or any of the Spotty Kites back catalogue) on Spotify, Amazon and Apple Music. You can also purchase the songs and sheet music at the Spotty Kites website.