Name: Dylan Dunlap
Style of Music: Singer/Songwriter
Instagram + Twitter: @iamdylandunlap
Bio: I was born and raised in Studio City. I then took a year to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston and came back to Los Angeles to pursue my solo career. Thankfully I had the opportunity to be a contestant on The Voice, but now I’m focusing on spreading as much love as I can in this world through my craft while keeping the utmost integrity.
1. What made you want to be a musician for a living?
Most of the people that I’ve met want to be musicians for a living so that they can show the ones that didn’t support them along the way that they could actually succeed. To be honest, it was never really a “want” for me. I hunger for it. Writing, producing, performing, and anything else that I do comes from the fact that most things in life don’t bring me the instant euphoria that music brings for me. For as long as I’m alive, I will never see myself doing anything else.
2. It’s common for musicians to be out of work for long periods of time. How can you supplement this time without work? How can you transition out of this period as quickly as possible?
Because I street perform for a living in Burbank and sometimes Santa Monica, there can never be a day that I can’t work on my craft! If my vocal chords could take it, I would be singing to people all night. That’s kind of what helps me through the rough times of not getting actual paid gigs and/or not finding production jobs. I go to bed every night telling myself (in a healthy way) that there is always something more that I could have done, which propels me forward into the next day.
3. As an independent artist, what have you done to successfully create music that competes with major label big budget artists? What would you have done differently? What advice would you give to other independent artists when budgeting funds?
As an independent artist, the most important thing that I’ve done is look at the resources that I HAVE. Big budget record deals can provide an artist with anything that they want in this world, but sometimes that doesn’t always necessarily result in a cohesive good-sounding product. From recording 75% of my debut album in my bedroom to randomly discovering Clear Lake to track some drums and mix everything for a good price, you wouldn’t believe the amount that I actually spent on “Thoughts Become Things”. I took the time to really figure it all out, and it also helps that I taught myself how to use ProTools in middle school. I absolutely loved producing my own record.
4. How important is the choice studio/engineer when it comes to recording the music that means the most to you?
Choosing the right studio engineer is one of the most important things. Without a doubt. As an artist, it is CRUCIAL to have a say in what you want your finished product to be, as well as how you want your engineers to go about executing that vision. I’m pretty sure Eric Milos at Clear Lake wanted to chuck that grand piano at me over a dozen times for how nitpicky I would get with the final mixes. Then again, all eleven songs were like my babies. I needed them to sound a certain way in the end, and he helped me do that perfectly.
5. How important is image? How has social media played a role in your image and your career? What advice would you give to other independent artists?
This is my favorite question. Image. Image is nothing. Image is everything.
On one hand, the music should absolutely speak for itself and it shouldn’t matter if you shop at Urban Outfitters at the Glendale Galleria or the local smelly Jewish thrift shop on Ventura Blvd. The music should be the only thing that people judge and not the fact that you have over 10k followers on your Instagram & Twitter.
On the other hand, social media has blossomed into such a beautiful outlet for independent artists to reach out to people that they wouldn’t ever normally reach out to. Because of Spotify’s existence and its “Discover Weekly” playlist, people all over the world are spinning my tunes and hearing my stories.
It’s important to focus on what truly matters most here. Yes, it sucks that I’m literally being sent checks of dimes and pennies with how often consumers stream music. Yes, I have a pretty number of followers and a consistent aesthetic throughout my Instagram page, which makes me look “cooler”. But in all honesty, the only reason I love doing all of that is because it allows me to open up conversations. I utilize almost every platform I can to simply be honest with my family of supporters. I give my thoughts on mental health, how difficult it can be to pursue music for a living in 2016, and so much more. It’s a beautiful thing to know that people actually listen and respond to it all. I can’t wait to move forward in this career solely to reach out to a bigger audience and let them know that they’re not alone in this world.
6. How do you go about making connections? What is the importance of the connections you make? How do you utilize them?
I make connections by street performing and actually talking to those that take the time to watch me and/or tip me. I also love to connect with people through my open mic that I started doing at Crave Cafe over in Studio City. Every Tuesday night, I have committed to getting singers and songwriters the opportunity to perform a couple songs for an audience. It may not be a big room (at all), but it’s something. I can tell it has now become a place where friends can come to and catch up on each others’ lives, as well as support one another when they play and sing. It all really melts my heart! Anyways, I utilize the connections I make by always being available and open-minded for any kind of collaboration. I respond to every Facebook comment, every DM on Instagram/Twitter, every YouTube message, and every e-mail I receive. I think that’s really important.