Interview with Dylan Owen
Dylan Owen is a rap artist from upstate New York, the songs Dylan puts out are not only personal but also form this connection between the listener and him. The stories he tells express the ups and downs of life and the whirlwind of emotions that come along with growing up and seeing the world. As a fellow New Yorker, it was important to reach out to an artist who is impacting the lives of many and experiencing the world one step at a time.
Please introduce yourself and tell us a fun fact about you.
I’m Dylan Owen, an artist from New York. For a little while I lived in a town with 400 people in it, it was Circleville, NY.
What’s the local scene like there?
There wasn’t a lot of hip-hop music there. There wasn’t much of a scene in general. I would play open mics and travel around; cafes, coffee shops, etc. It encouraged me to dig for stuff on the internet that I wanted to be included on. This was like the MySpace era. Local scenes are important, and they still form but the internet also plays a role. It let me pave my own path.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a musician?
I’d probably be writing in a more formal way. I’d try to be an author; I’ve always loved English and writing.
What is your favorite lyric you’ve ever written?
It’s on my song “The Book Report.” “‘Cause we’ve all got higher hills to climb regardless of our depths.” I use it on a lot of my merch since the lyric is so meaningful.
What’s your writing process like?
I’m normally alone in my bedroom with a keyboard or an acoustic guitar to make my demos. Key lines and lyrics may have been previously written. When an idea sticks there are a lot of steps. I love to write deeply personal music, music has to start in a deeply personal place.
What are you currently listening to?
Bright Eyes, Phoebe Bridges, a lot of under-ground hip-hop. I really like the rapper, Eyedea. I grew up listening to the Beastie Boys, Eminem. The common thread is good writing.
Describe your sound in three words.
Auto-biographical, heart-felt and emotional.
It’s my real-life stories so I try not to hold back my emotion.
Tell us about your new song, “We Were Only Kids Then.”
It’s not about looking back, it’s about being an adult and taking on new identities. It’s about not forgetting where you came from and being wide-eyed and innocent. There are new identities around us, and I wanted to write this song in the moment. Normally it takes me months to write a song.
What is your favorite song to perform live?
Definitely “Ghosts.” Live it has so much energy. We have someone who plays the synth parts on violin. Plus, there is a chant part in person that wasn’t on the original recording. I like intimate recordings since it is a personal experience to record a song. [This song] is about the group experience.
What is your favorite venue?
Arlene’s Grocery in NYC. I was here for my album launch. I love the people at the venue, they were so kind, and they got us a cake before the show to celebrate.
My favorite show would have had to have been at Ithaca State Theatre. I opened for Mac Miller when he was starting to blow up on a national level. The fire alarm went off and they had to shut down the show halfway through.
What’s your favorite state you’ve been to?
Colorado, it’s a beautiful place and has such a different vibe than the east coast.
What is one thing you would change about the music industry as it is today?
I wish there were no barriers and that it was possible to listen without a big company behind it. The power of the company to promote is huge. It is getting better.
Okay we have some spitfire questions for you! What is your favorite book?
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton or Siddhartha by Hermann Hess
Three songs to play in the car?
“Something Vague” by Bright Eyes
“Welcome Home” by Radical Face
“Respiration” by Blackstar
Plans for 2020?
To release way more music and go on tour!
Follow Dylan on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook
Check out his music here!
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