Following his breakthrough debut EP Nowhere Else, which was released in 2016 and championed by the likes of BBC Introducing, Sofar Sounds, Premier Radio, and Colourful Radio, among others. London-based British Nigerian singer and songwriter DIRE returns in 2020 after a brief hiatus to recalibrate, explore new sounds, and record his next project, with his brand-new track titled ‘OVERCOME’, serving as the lead single for his forthcoming debut album titled SEASONS. We caught up with Dire Pitan to find out more.
Hi Dire, welcome. What does your name mean and how do you pronounce it? My name is a Yoruba name from the South-western region of Nigeria and it means ‘the crown has turned into Favour’. It is pronounced as ‘Deeray’
Earliest memory? The day my younger sister was born I remember my dad rushing out to take my mum to the hospital in the middle of the night, It was so dramatic. I think she must have been early. It was a long wait until she arrived but she came home the next day.
When did you discover you could sing? The earliest memory I have of me singing is when I was aged five or six and we had been given an assignment to memorise and recite the poem ‘Who Killed Cock Robin’ and in order not to forget the words, I added a rhythm and actually sang it through rather than recite it. I can still sing the poem!
What inspires your writing? It would be difficult to pinpoint one thing. It’s always a combination of life, stories, Family, friends , old and new experiences. Sometimes it’s questions or problems that I have had to solve or a joyful moment. Overall it’s the desire to leave behind something meaningful which I feel will impact my listeners the way it’s impacted me.
What current issues resonate with you and how do they influence your music? The inequalities that we all face in the world in which ever way, shape or form. From the wealth divide in our societies which so many find themselves contending with to the issues of xenophobia being faced around the world. Music gave me a way to voice my own struggles and challenges of living in a strange land. I want my music to motivate and encourage others and maybe my stories will allow them to feel that they too are being heard and give them hope.
If you could duet with one Artist who would that be? At this point, if I had to choose one, it would be Jessie J. Her voice is amazing. I enjoy her energy, lyrics and I hope that our vocals would blend well together.
One of your Funniest musical moments.? I had prepared for weeks to perform at a festival and lost my voice five minutes into a thirty minute set. I didn’t find it funny at the time but now I know not to put too much pressure on myself and have a lot more fun with it.
Most romantic thing you’ve done? This is subjective and should really be answered by my wife but I guess proposing to my wife with a mini orchestra at a candle lit river bank in Richmond,London. I was filled with nervous excitement but helped by the grand sound of the orchestra, it obviously worked she said yes.
Do you have a favourite Instrument that you like to use to write your songs? Ever since I picked up an Acoustic Guitar in 2012, it has become the go to instrument when writing new songs. However, I would occasionally dabble with the keyboard. I guess my loyalty is questionable. Lol
Which famous song do you wish you wrote? You Say - Lauren Daigle She has such an expressive voice, Combined with it’s simplicity the chord progressions and groove It’s so powerful. The narrative of the lyrics embodies such strong affirmations that blends so perfectly with the pain the expectations and emotions neatly conveyed in her voice. This simplicity is one of things I like about ‘Seasons’ the title track of my fourth coming album, it would be amazing if others experience what I tried to convey and like it too.
Inspiration behind ‘Overcome’? From reflecting on some of the darker periods of my life, I was able to take stock and realise that I truly had ‘overcome’ those situations. When you lose your job, can’t pay rent, you end up homeless and sofa surfing, It can feel humiliating. Or you lose your mother or a dear loved one it can create mountains you feel you’ll never be able to Climb. I’ve worked multiple jobs to put myself through university it was all really hard. It was only With the support of friends and family, I was able to push through into hopefulness and find new ways to persevere. So it feels good to look back knowing that your stronger, you’ve Overcome.