Thank you for giving your fans in Russia an opportunity to learn more about your life and your personality!
I’d like to offer a couple of questions for you.
MG: Dianne, what’s your musical education? How did you discover you talent of singing?
Dianne: First off thank you for your time and interest in myself and Xandria!
To answer your question: I have studied classical music for 7 years. I started of with my bachelor and then continued with a master education. Both I rounded off with distinction. For my master I researched the cross over between metal music and classical music from a vocal point of view.
My talent of singing was discovered at an early age by my parents who then gave me my first singing lessons as a gift for my 4th birthday.
MG: How did you become the new voice of Xandria?
Dianne: I was introduced to the band by producer Joost van den Broek. Xandria was already in the process of recording the first steps of the Sacrificum album when Manuela decided to leave. Joost thought I might be a good match for the band and as it turns out he was right!
MG: Which Xandria albums and songs do you like most? And which songs do you prefer to perform on the scene (except the Sacrificium songs, of course)?
Dianne: My personal taste has always been music that is bold and bombastic, therefore I have to say that I prefer Neverworld’s End. But that does not mean that I do not enjoy singing the older songs! They are really soothing for the voice to sing.
MG: As I know, in Xandria all the music (and almost all the lyrics) is composed by Marco Heubaum. Are you going to participate in creative process in future within Xandria? Perhaps, will you be able to compose your vocal lines?
Dianne: Yes I will, just as you wrote in your question actually. For the next album I will be more present during the time that Marco will be working with Joost (van den Broek). Not only in order to also make my mark, but also to get the best out of my voice and really let it blossom on the new album.
MG: You’re the author of the lyrics of two Xandria songs – ‘Sweet Atonement’ and ‘Little Red Relish’. I especially love the last one I guess it’s an unusual interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood’s story. Can you say a few words what this song is about?
Dianne: It is indeed an interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood. In fact it is more based on the true story which is about a young woman losing her virginity then the Disney version everyone knows. In our version Little Red Riding Hood is captured by the wolf and taken to his lair. When she wakes up the next morning and has the chance to escape she find herself wanting to stay and she chooses him over grandmother.
MG: Not long ago you performed on the scene a couple of wonderful duets with Marcela Bovio and Stream of Passion (including even singing Mozart!). Dianne, do you have any plans of collaboration with any other musicians? Who would you like to sing with?
Dianne: I always find it hard to answer this question because there are so many talented singers in the world!
MG: Dianne, you joined Xandria after Manuela had left the band. What do you think about her vocal work in Xandria? What are you impressions of this person?
Dianne: Manuela’s voice is very rich and colorful! I even was a bit disappointed when I first learned that she was leaving the band, loving the combination so much. I was and am following her solo career and hope she finds what she set out for.
MG: Dianne, you are also a front woman of Ex Libris. This band is less known than Xandria, so I’ve got a predictable question: tell a few words about your band and describe please Ex Libris music.
Dianne: Ex Libris is my Dutch band which focuses on the combination between progressive music and symphonic music. I founded the band over 10 years ago and to my it’s really my baby. For me as a vocalist Ex Libris offers more extreme vocal styles, the lyrics are all written by me and therefore the interpretation if from a different kind. Where in Xandria I am more a story teller, in Ex Libris I might be the person between the lines.
MG: You have a really impressive dramatic soprano voice. What do you do to support it in good condition? Do you practice your singing every day?
Dianne: My years of study have been when I was studying at the conservatorium. Now is the time of preserving and widening my vocal view. Of course I sing everyday to keep my level and condition up, but I do not have to make 8 hours a day anymore .
MG: What music (genres, certain singers or bands) do you prefer? Name some of your favorites, please.
Dianne: When I want to relax I tend to choose to listen to singer songwriters ensembles such as ‘Angus and Julia Stone’, ‘Eva Cassidy’ and ‘Kovacs’. But more within my own genre I love to listen to ‘Kristoffer Gildenlow’, ‘Orphaned Land’, ‘Devin Townsend’ and many more.
MG: Dianne, I’ve read that you and some other Dutch vocalists are going to join forces for the project called ‘Countermove’. Can you unveil a little information about it? What’s gonna be?
Dianne: At the moment I am writing this - the organization just revealed a new statement in which they tell that On the 8th of December the Dutch organisation 'Countermove' will release a cover version of the song 'The Power of Love' from 'Franky Goes to Hollywood'. For this single all well-known Dutch metal singers, including myself, came together to participate in this unique project. The proceeds of the download will go to the Red Cross.
MG: What do you think about crowdfunding as a source of the musical projects financing?
Dianne: With Ex Libris we also chose to finance our album partly with a crowd funding campaign. I say partly because we also invested a lot ourselves, as I think it should be when you want to realize your dream.
When done in a fair way that works for both fan and band I thinks this is a good approach.
MG: How do you prefer to spend your leisure time? Do you have any hobbies?
Dianne: In my free time I love to create jewelry made out of guitar and bass guitar strings! But when I am not busy creating something for this side business I love reading, watching movies and enjoying some time in the beautiful nature landscapes of the Netherlands.
MG: I can’t miss an opportunity to express my admiration of your ‘Precious Metal Jewelry’. Dianne, how did you get the idea of making exclusive jewelry based on guitar strings? How much time do you devote to this hobby?
Dianne: Since a very long time I have been making jewelry but at a certain point this got out of hands, finding myself with over 200 pairs of earrings. I chose to start selling my creations and found that many people were looking for something specific they could not find in stores but could be made by me.
After a while I felt the need to intertwine my music activities with my jewelry activities and then the idea was born of using the guitar strings musicians would normally throw away after using them. By re-using them in jewelry they get a second life and I get to make a customer happy with a unique jewel that tells a tale.
MG: As a musician you use to travel a lot. What places in the world have impressed you most? What cities perhaps? And what are you impressions of North America, where you’ve been on tour recently?
Dianne: I think every part of the world is very unique and worth a visit. Every culture offers different habits and believes and I enjoy every moment of visiting! That's sad I must also say that we cannot always find the time for sightseeing. Sometimes our schedule doesn’t allow it, other times I have to choose resting over sightseeing to keep my voice condition up (as was the case during our North American tour).
MG: How do you see Dianne van Giersbergen after 10-15 years? =) Are you going to continue creating music or would you like to concentrate on your family?
Dianne: Difficult question! I don’t know to be honest. I am more a person that choses to live day by day. In this way I do not skip over the little things in life that are also worth treasuring.
MG: If you weren’t a singer, what other profession would you choose?
Dianne: Probably jewelry designer
MG: Describe please your day.
Dianne: I am very lucky to have a versatile life that differs so much from day to day that I cannot give you one answer.
MG: Dianne, as I know you are from Netherlands. Can you name a couple of reasons why people from all over the world should visit your home land?
Dianne: Haha well this might not be your typical ‘go see the wind mills’ answer, but I think that when people visit the Netherlands they should really take a look at our water works. We are pioneers in this area and in my eyes they are a piece of art, battling with the forces of nature and keeping our homes safe.
MG: Do you have a female singer who is a kind of idol for you? Who of the famous vocalists have influenced you most?
Dianne: When I was young I was a big fan of Whitney Houston. This woman was incredibly gifted and the world lost a real star when she died. More in our scene I have great admiration for Tarja Turunen, Floor Jansen and Skin from Skunk Anansie.
MG: And the last question is… could you say a few words to your Russian fans?
Dianne: I wish to thank everyone for their support for Xandria over the years. I cannot wait to meet you all when we come over in January, hope to meet you there!!
Dianne, thank you for answering and wish you good luck and great success! Hope to see and hear you in January on Xandria’s Russian gigs!