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One of Australia’s greatest unknown music stars nominated for 2021 AIR AWARDS … and you will not believe her story!

August 5, 2021 Accolades No Comments

This is the story of one of Australian music’s greatest unknown shining lights. She lives in Brisbane. She has written almost 90 music singles, with 41 going straight to number one. She is an international award-winning composer and songwriter with her titles streaming daily on music platforms around the world. She collaborates with some of the biggest names in the business. When her music comes on, her fans go absolutely crazy.

Her name is Donna Dyson. She is also legally blind.

“When I lost my sight I gained my vision,” she said in 2012 when her sight faded.

She’s also had six strokes and TIA’s.

“After the first stroke I realised I couldn’t speak straight away, but I could sing, create and compose. It just connected me even more with the people for who I write music – kids.”

She is the genius behind the music phenomenon that is Spotty Kites, one of the most popular children’s music labels in the country, as well as Donna Dyson & Friends, the label that creates music adults love, and she is right now one of five finalists up for BEST INDEPENDENT CHILDREN’S ALBUM OR EP at the 2021 AIR (Australian Independent Recording ) AWARDS this week.

Known as the Golden Globes of the Australian music industry, the AIR AWARDS recognise and celebrate the success of Australia’s independent music sector and its music makers. Past winners include Vance Joy, SIA, Sheppard, Peking Duck and Violent Soho. The awards will be held on August 5 in Adelaide.

Donna Dyson, and her Spotty Kites album Have a Spotty Christmas, is the ONLY QUEENSLANDER in the field.

The four other finalists are The Wiggles’ Choo Choo Trains, Propeller Planes & Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car; Amber Lawrence’s Kids Gone Country 2-Fun for all the Family; Diver City’s Welcome to Diver City and Teeny Tiny Stevies’ Thoughtful Songs for Little People.

Donna has been writing the songs that children love for a long time, and she’s really really good at it – because she spent the first two plus decades of her life as a teacher, educator, university academic and lecturer and significantly published author. Specialising in pedagogy, literacy, literature and the arts, she has worked with many organisations as both advisor and advocate.

In 2012, she was suddenly diagnosed as legally blind, following her totally unexpected medical condition.

This was a pivotal point for her – she lost most of her sight, but gained her creative vision, which she now pours into music to produce fun songs with educational content for children.

By 2014, Donna started to receive recognition by her song writing peers at the APRA ASA annual awards and by 2016 was named Australian Songwriter of the Year.

In 2018, driven by her first love of helping children learn by focusing on music, she was signed to MGM with her children’s label Spotty Kites. This resulted in 47 #1iTunes hit single releases, 87 singles, two full albums with a third on the way and three EPs released over the past two plus years. MGM also signed her for two other labels – Donna Dyson & Friends as well as Dyson & Young.

“MGM’s support, encouragement and guidance has been the greatest pivotal gift to my music career. I’m indebted to their head, Sebastian Chase and his team for their ongoing faith and mentorship,” she said.

Fast forward to today and Donna is an international award-winning composer and songwriter with her titles globally streaming daily on all music platforms. She’s one of the country’s most unsung music heroes.

In short, she is unstoppable.

But,  life isn’t rainbows and lollipops.

Remember, Donna is legally blind and because of an inoperable brain tumour, she has had six strokes and expects more to come. Even this doesn’t faze her though, and she is currently collaborating and co-writing with her wonderful friends Damien LeithTyrone Noonan and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s Craig Allister Young (the Young of Dyson & Young).  Along with producers and engineers Wil Hughes, Garry Smith & Geoff McGahan.

The bulk of Donna’s original songs feature instrumentalists from the QSO and hand-picked elite vocal artists (Australian Opera, Singers from the Ten Tenor and Seven Sopranos, Musical theatre and recording stars), giving her catalogue a richness and quality in sound for teachable moments. On the odd occasion she sings on some tracks, though chooses to concentrate on the composition.

Her success and talent come from her research-based knowledge and deep understanding that children sing before they speak or read.

Her catalogue reflects this philosophy, with fun memorable songs which develop literacy, language and learning through extending Neuro-pathway development.

“The songs are much more than fun tunes. Spotty Kites’ is composed to focus upon LITERACY THROUGH MUSIC and STORIES THROUGH SONGS. Every track is developing language, forging neuro links and bringing extensive learning, early childhood literacy development and joy,” she said.

Donna is a keen child advocate, promoter of literacy and music along with being the National Ambassador for Vision Australia and is in high demand as an inspirational speaker.

Whether she wins the AIR AWARD in August is really non-consequential. Donna Dyson writes the sound tracks of our children’s lives. She is forging the foundation of how our kids learn, talk, sing and communicate as a well-educated custodian of childhood.  For that, we should all be very grateful.

Also, she is proof that you don’t have to see, to sing, because music really is the universal language.

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