There is a touching, piercing beauty to Siobhan Dillon’s solo album One Voice, released last month. Dillon rose to public prominence in 2006, competing in TV’s How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? and from there has gone on to leading roles in musical theatre on both sides of the Atlantic. Away from the greasepaint and spotlights however, recent years have seen the singer win her own very private and personal battle with cancer. Dillon has thus directed that the album's proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Haven charity as a mark of her own personal reflection upon her journey.
There is of course a poignant timeliness to the album too, for as theatres around the world lie dark amidst the lockdown, the haunting resonance of Dillon’s beautiful interpretations speaks to us all. Comprising 11 ballads, Dillon’s is an eclectic choice drawn from the greats of recent decades. The album carries only a modest nod to her musical theatre heritage, although her take on Sara Bareilles’ She Used To Be Mine from Waitress offers a spine-tingling interpretation of the number, revealing an even richer nuance to this showstopping heartbreaker.
Above all, it is Dillon’s interpretation of some of the most exquisite ballads of recent decades that gives her album such polish. Her cover of Ewan MacColl’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face lifts the song away from the timelessness of Roberta Flack’s original, imbuing a new and haunting charm on the number. Likewise, Roxette’s It Must Have Been Love, which Dillon refreshingly claims is a song that takes her straight back to her childhood, is makes for another treat.
Hearing Dillon rework Tears For Fears’ Mad World brings not only another burst of musical and vocal excellence, but as much, an almost sagelike sadness as a comment upon the world in which we find ourselves today. It is however in her final number Promise Me that Dillon dials down Beverley Craven’s passionate power, leaving instead a sweet and delicate performance that leaves one almost as if discovering the song for the first time.
Don’t just grab this album because it is raising funds for such a worthy cause. Rather, buy it as a work of beauty. Dillon’s melding of melody and voice is an album for today and for the future, while offering a stunning lookback at our musical past - simply gorgeous.