Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – Paul Diello

Photo courtesy of Heart Riot Agency.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

Whether it’s lead vocal duties in acoustic duo Under The Ivy, performances of his self-written show “Epicene” – a gender-blending celebration of iconic women in music at LGBTQ+ events/art festivals, or even his own solo music, British artist Paul Diello is used to the fit of many hats – literally.

With a unique and refreshing take on the singer-songwriter genre by way of powerful singles like “Heartbreak & Me,” “Into Springtime” and “Vitriol,” the fashionable musician recently dropped his new visual album ‘Make Heaven Motherland.’

Upon extensive tours across the United Kingdom, Europe and America, Diello has shared the stage with the likes of Texas, Jarvis Cocker and Nick Harper.

The Music Bugle had the opportunity to chat with Diello about ‘Make Heaven Motherland’ and more.

Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from? 

Paul Diello – I’m originally from a small town on the South Coast of England called Worthing, but I’ve lived in Brighton for 20 years, so I consider myself a Brightonian. It’s a very open-minded, forward-thinking, culturally rich, bohemian place to live. It’s full of interesting people and has a great music scene, plus it’s right on the coast, so it has lovely fresh sea air. I’m not a massively patriotic person, but I love where I live and I’m always happy to say I’m from Brighton.

Music Bugle – What is your favorite aspect of being a singer-songwriter? 

Paul Diello – I love it when I get lost in an idea, whether it’s writing a new song, thinking of a concept for a video or planning a live show. When the creative juices start flowing, I feel like a kid at Christmas. It’s such a special feeling. I enjoy the songwriting process, but I prefer the recording process. Being in the studio and turning the seedlings of my demos into full bloom is such fun for me!

Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?

Paul Diello – I’m not sure if I found any of my songs hard to write. They either come or they don’t. Usually when I’m feeling inspiration to write a song, it just flows right out of me. It can be hard when I feel like I want to write a song and there’s just nothing coming out of me, but I don’t really push it too hard. I’ll wait it out until the pen in my hand starts twitching!

Music Bugle – What was your goal for your new album ‘Make Heaven Motherland’?

Paul Diello – The goal really was to get this collection of songs down so I could move on to the next project! All the songs on this record except for “Concubine,” “Ride” and “Something, Nothing” were written many years ago and I’ve been performing them live for years, so I really wanted to have them down as a body of work. It took a really long time to record and there were some real struggles along the way, but I’m so happy with how it came out. It’s my favorite album I’ve made so far.

Music Bugle – What has been your proudest accomplishment? 

Paul Diello – I think this new album is my proudest accomplishment right now. I started recording it several years ago in Berlin, but lost all the recordings when the producer I was working with disappeared, so I had to start it all again from scratch and it was a big emotional upheaval. I almost scrapped the whole thing, but I’m so pleased I persevered, so that makes me feel proud. Also, winning Best Solo Artist at the Brighton Music Awards and being congratulated by Jimmy Page was a proud moment.

Music Bugle – What would you like to see more of in the LGBTQ+ community?

Paul Diello – I would love to see a more diverse representation of the LGBTQ+ community in mainstream media. It’s so great that there are more queer people on TV than there were when I was growing up, but it’s still predominantly cis gendered white people that are being given the airtime. There’s so much talent within our community, so I’d love to see my trans and BAME brothers and sisters getting the same chances.

Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Paul Diello – It’s been good and bad for me. I had the virus after Christmas last year and that wasn’t fun, although I got off pretty lightly. Obviously, the complete lack of gigging during lockdown was difficult, but it afforded me the time to turn my album into a visual album and for that, I’m really grateful.

Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?

Paul Diello – The bathtub! Nothing relaxes me more than a really long soak in the tub with some good music on and low lighting! I can spend hours in there. Walking does me good too. When it all gets a bit much and I’m feeling overwhelmed, I like a nice long walk, again with good music in my ears. It usually blows away the cobwebs!

Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise? 

Paul Diello – I tend to go through spates of listening to just one artist at a time and getting obsessed and trawling through their back catalogue, reading their biographies and rewatching all their videos. I have a few artists on rotation who I do this with. It’s currently Joni Mitchell and I’m particularly enjoying ‘The Hissing Of Summer Lawns’ and ‘Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter,’ which are two records I hadn’t paid much attention to before. Prior to the Joni obsession, I was listening only to Annie Lennox for a few weeks. I also love the new record by This Is The Kit, am very much enjoying PJ Harvey’s demo releases and am in love with Aldous Harding.

Music Bugle – What do you hope for by the end of 2021? 

Paul Diello – Well, I’ve written my next album and it’s ready to go, so I hope to have made a good start on it in the studio by the end of the year. I’m also recording the debut album with my acoustic duo side project Under The Ivy, so I hope to have that done by the end of 2021 and of course, I hope to see the back of Covid-19 and be free to pet people’s dogs in the park again! 

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