The Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Dylan Dunlap developed a love for music at a very young age. At age 6, he taught himself piano to partake in a grade school talent show. At age 11, he picked up a copy of Pro Tools and crafted instrumental compositions “like time capsules.” As a teen, Dylan left the prestigious Berklee College of Music to get a head start on his music career and started busking in his hometown of Burbank, CA. Inspired by the likes of Coldplay and Mumford & Sons, he simultaneously fashioned a singular style, infusing cinematic scope and alternative eloquence into power pop. Over the last two years, he supported OneRepublic at the sold-out Stadium of Fire event in Provo, UT while releasing his first-ever original “Microphones & Lights,” toured across the US and the UK, dropped his debut EP Things I Can’t Explain and demonstrated a versatile songwriting prowess, writing with artists across country, hip-hop, pop and electronic genres. Most recently, Dylan released what would become his breakout single, “If That’s Alright.” Dylan has quietly amassed over 20 million streams and is currently recording new music for the follow up EP to be released via Nettwerk Records. On top of his artist pursuits, Dylan has put in countless hours of work to raise awareness around mental health. In this mission, Dylan received the “Fighting Stigma Rising Star” award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness and has partnered with Global Citizen, Autism Rocks, LA’s Children Hospital and many other organizations.
I got the chance to catch up with this aspiring singer and talk all things music….
Hi Dylan and welcome to OLC! It’s a pleasure to have you here. So for everyone out there in OLC! land tell us a bit about yourself and who you are as an artist?
Hi! Thanks so much for having me. I’m an avid lover of music, cinema, mental health awareness, and Chipotle.
So you started in music as a young age, what propelled you to learn playing the piano at age 6?
I always had the desire to perform and thought I’d take advantage of the upcoming 2nd grade talent show to teach myself something on one of my dad’s keyboards. It was the simplest motif on my right hand, but it felt so special to me because it was mine. After that, I just kept building off it until I could successfully use both of my hands at the same time.
You obviously started finding a passion for music after this, were there any artists as a kid you wanted to be like or that inspired you?
I’ll never forget the first time I heard “The Scientist” by Coldplay. It was so inviting and exactly the kind of wholesome inspiration that my mind and soul were missing. Almost two decades later and I still put their entire discography on shuffle when I need an escape. 🙂
You also started busking at one stage. What was that experience like for you?
Thanks for asking! You really have to leave your ego at the door to busk full-time. It was the most terrifying and rewarding experience I’ve ever had and I owe all of my passion & perseverance to those 12-hour days. I learned how to just play for myself out there and practice gratitude for whenever I gathered any sort of audience.
You’ve also supported One Republic, what was that experience like and how did the opportunity arise?
Looking at 65,000 people in front of me felt like a renaissance painting! It was a dream come true as well as the ultimate affirmation that I was born to do this, especially since I was able to perform original music. My core team and I work around the clock to make so much happen and I’m so thankful that we were all able to do that road trip to Utah together.
Let’s talk about the new song “Follow My Echo”, what inspired you to write this track?
‘Follow My Echo’ was the first song I wrote during the pandemic. I found myself recording around the clock in my girlfriend’s closet (the acoustics are incredible) and challenged myself to write about literally anything but COVID-19. I also saw it as an opportunity to express my obsession with Pixar and how influential their films were for me growing up.
Tell me about the music video, how challenging was it filming this and putting it together during these Covid times?
All hail my childhood best friend, Tim Toda!! He flipped the concept on its head and really helped support it visually.
Besides the goldish, I’m the only actor in the video (let’s be honest, he’s the star), so it was fairly easy to execute all in one December day. I always want to make sure that my team feels safe during this time as they help me pursue my dream.
Can we expect an EP to come? And if so is there anything you can tell us about it?
One last song will finalize the Soldier On EP in late February. It means the whole freaking world to me and I can’t wait for you guys and the rest of the world to hear it.
Who’s an artist, writer or producer you’d love to work with and why?
Paul Meany of MuteMath and Chris Martin of course. I can’t really explain it, it’s just their top-tier songwriting and soundscapes that I look up to so much.
You have over 18k followers on your Instagram, how essential do you think Social Media is this day and age for artists? And how often do you interact with fans?
Social media should be a tool, not a necessity. That’s something I have to tell myself every day as it’s incredibly easy to become addicted and depend on it too much. Maybe it’s because I’ll never forget the way things used to be, but I will always make sure to find time in my day to send a “thank you” to my beautiful supporters.
What does 2021 hold for Dylan Dunlap?
So much that I’m overwhelmed in the best of ways! My biggest priority this year is to release my favorite music, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Thanks again for your time and hope you like the new tunes!