Words by Music Editor, Dylan Bryant
Music Editor Dylan Bryant catches up with rising popstar Dylan about new music, tour and playing Wembley Stadium with Ed Sheeran.
Although this was a first – interviewing an artist with the same name as myself, Dylan addresses the elephant in the room early doors by confessing;
“It’s not actually my real name! Contrary to popular belief, Dylan was actually what my parents were going to call me if I was a boy.”
But names aside, 23-year-old Dylan is tipped as one of the UK’s most exciting new pop talents and has achieved a meteoric rise that has earnt her praise from the likes of BBC Introducing, NME, and MTV.
I had the opportunity to catch up with her and started by asking how she got into music;
“My dad brought me up on pure rock and roll. ACDC, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, Rainbow. As a kid, that was my jam. It was just dad rock and dancing on the kitchen table. And then I started writing songs very pretentiously when I was about 7, although they were absolutely awful and so was my voice. My voice didn’t actually get anywhere near good until I was probably about 20.”
Finding this hard to believe, with her distinctive style and catchy melodies – I challenged Dylan, to which she responded;
“Just trust me on this one. I’m so ashamed that I ever thought that I could be a singer. But really, I mainly wanted to be a writer until I was 18. And then one of my songs was sent off on a CD to a producer who decided that I wasn’t half bad and so I started working with him. And ever since then, it’s kind of taken off. He was like, you’re going to be an artist. And I was like, okay, fine. And here we are.”
And by “here we are” she means a sold-out UK headline tour, including two nights at Shepherd’s Bush Empire on the horizon, an ever-growing stream of impeccable pop anthems, a sold-out debut US headline at the iconic Mercury Lounge in New York, UK support slots with Yungblud, Bastille, Ed Sheeran and an EU run with Tate McRae; inspiring an incredibly loyal and passionate fan base to form around her.
My chat with Dylan comes off the back of the release of her mixtape The Greatest Thing I’ll Never Learn.
The mixtape sees the 22-year old’s magnetic pop hooks paired with the soaring, classic rock inspired guitars she was raised on. She delivers biting lyrics laced with undeniably infectious energy; adding yet another collection of stadium-worthy anthems to her ever growing discography.
Speaking on the title of the mixtape she says;
“So, my mum used to say something to me all the time, which was the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. And as a 22-year-old songwriter who makes mountains out of molehills with an incredibly chaotic personal life, that hasn’t quite worked out for me – the whole love and letting people like you and friendships and relationships and just the world of feeling in general. I’m just so all over the place with it. I feel at this point in my life that it’s probably one of the hardest lessons in life to learn and all of the songs sort of fit within it.”
This mixtape (a debut release for Island Records) packs a hefty wallop; an eight-track record that is undeniably catchy and filled to the brim with sing-along bangers.
A personal favourite track is Nothing Lasts Forever, and speaking on the songwriting process of the track, Dylan says;
“I went into the studio with two of my favourite people, King Ed and Martin Luke Brown. I was going through a bit of a weird phase in my personal life where I was just in complete denial that relationships should ever be a thing, or that people walk in and out of your lives as much as they please. And I was super cynical about life in general. And I was just like, guys, this is so ridiculous, nothing lasts forever, I hate it here. And they were like, Great title! And I was like, It’s a good point, actually. It was really, really quick. We all were sort of just jamming and I’ve got some great videos of it, just dancing around in the studio. And we’d sort of listen to Footloose as a reference because that’s my guilty pleasure. And it’s a classic Dylan track in the way that it’s very happy, but very cynical.”
Joking about her catchy, straight to-the-point lyricism she declares;
“I’m not holding back – that’s for sure!”
With the sold-out UK headline tour on the horizon, Dylan looks destined to continue hooking people into her world, rapidly expanding her fanbase and keeping her ambitions fittingly bold.
Speaking on her rise, she says;
“I have my aspirations but it’s still super surreal and terrifying, absolutely terrifying – all of the things that are happening. But, I mean, I wouldn’t say that I didn’t believe that I could do it, I could see it happening.”
Dylan’s undeniable talent has seen her perform at Wembley Stadium alongside music legend, Ed Sheeran – speaking on this experience she says;
“I think it was such a mixture of feelings. It’s like when you’re standing at the top of a really tall building and you’re scared of heights, and you’re like is this happening? That’s what it felt like before I got on stage. I’ve been dreaming about playing at Wembley for so long. That’s the one venue that’s been at the top of my bucket list forever. So, playing five nights in a row, I was spoiled with it. I definitely didn’t let one ounce of energy go to waste on those shows. I was knackered by the end of them because it’s just so much adrenaline, once you’re on the stage, it is the best thing ever.”
Although her dreams have come true, Dylan expresses her excitement for her headline tour and to be back in front of her own fans;
“I’m just so, so happy to be able to get back in front of my own crowd. Nothing beats that, because everyone is singing and no one’s thinking, who is this chick? So, I’m really, really, really excited and there’s a lot of fans I haven’t seen in so long that I just can’t wait to sing with.”
Speaking on what a Dylan show looks like she adds;
“I think if you hadn’t been to one of my shows, it would probably look quite embarrassing from the outside. I am a wannabe Rockstar stuck inside a pop star’s body. At the live shows there’s knee slides, guitar solos, and a cover of Paradise City by Guns N’ Roses. We go overboard with the guitars and all of the sexy guitar styles and big drum fills and it’s just not what anyone would expect. But that’s just completely tapping into my serious guilty pleasure of wanting to be Slash or Angus Young and being pretty upset that I wasn’t born like 30 years ago.”
Although a self-declared Rockstar wannabe, Dylan’s versatility sees her serve up a healthy dose of both delicately sombre tracks and upbeat bangers. On the topic of this versatility, Dylan says;
“My voice has changed a lot and I don’t really want to be a whiny moany sort of sad girl anymore. I’d much rather write 125 BPM bangers. People like the pop bombs we all love and then sometimes we can bring it down.”
Armed with her undoubted success, I asked – What advice would you give to other young musicians?
“I mean, I hate the fact that I’m saying this because I was so in denial of it, but social media is your best friend. I think the only reason that I’ve started to breakthrough is because it’s free marketing. You can reach a whole new audience on there that you can’t get to with live shows. And as much as a lot of us are in denial of it, it is probably one of the most important things. So, it’s not to be in denial of social media, because ultimately it will get you to where you want to be.”
It was great chatting to Dylan – an artist who I have no doubt will go on to achieve even greater things in the future and one who will be headlining festival stages in years to come. I finished by asking – what can we expect in 2023?
“I would expect to have written an album by the end of next year if I’m talented enough! Other than that, I’m taking it one day at a time otherwise I’ll get way too worked up and anxious.”
Stream Dylan’s mixtape ‘The Greatest Thing I’ll Never Learn’ Now.
Photo credit: BBC News