Award winning songwriter, Jared Dylan has something to say. A voice that cuts through the noise is hard to come by these days but all you need to do is listen to this prolific artist to realize he simply does not fit in. On an endless pursuit of truth and meaning, Dylan has scored the soundtrack to his own life. The sick part is that every song is so relatable. JD brings us all together by sharing his own individuality. “Being honest and genuine is all that really matters when I’m working a lyric. I love when I can listen back years later and that one special line feels more real than ever.” “Every bit of inspiration comes from an experience. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to tell a story better than the truth.”
After working as a cast member on season 3 of The Voice, Jared decided to step back and attend the University of Miami; where he graduated with four degrees. As if that wasn’t enough, it was during this time that Jared began working with Hollywood Records (DMG). Before graduating Jared had earned his first single, Symphony, on Radio Disney. “I wrote Symphony for this girl I was trying to impress when I was 16. I think that’s why they liked it. There was some kind of childlike innocence about it. It was definitely difficult to be ‘that guy’ when I was 20 but business is business. It will always be a part of me.” Dylan says with a shrug. It is fitting that Symphony can be heard on the Man Behind The Mask EP.
After working overtime to make it into regular rotation on Radio Disney, Jared felt like he needed to get back in touch with why he began making music in the first place. So he packed a bag and toured Ireland for a year. “Ireland is the Motherland of the songwriter. There is so much amazing history and it’s all been passed down through songwriting and storytelling.” “I got to write and perform with some of the best of the best. It was exactly what I needed; plus a whole lot more that maybe I didn’t need...” before I could investigate his implication, Jared continued, “Here I Am’ was the song that brought me back to life as a writer. It was the first song I wrote when I got to Ireland and the whole experience, from airport to studio and back felt so surreal. I was only in the country for three days on my initial visit and I left with three songs. I was living my dream to travel the world making music.”
It has been almost a decade since Jared Dylan wrote his first song and he now has an archive of close to 300 original compositions. “At first I felt like every song was helping me understand who I was. I couldn’t stop writing! I needed to make sure I covered all my bases. After, like, 50 songs I was like, ok, now what?” Genre bending is the name of the game. “What is pop music? I call everything ‘pop.’ I’m just taking my favorite bits of what I hear with the only goal being to make good music.” Dylan has studied everything from classical to jazz to Latin to blues, folk, punk, funk, rock, disco, the list goes on! “I think that’s the secret. How are you gonna see the future if you don’t know where you came from?” Wise words from a young man looking to write his own story.
“I’m going to change the world.” Jared casually shares and in the back of my mind, I kind of believe him. It has been a long time since I’ve heard a vocalist put so much intention behind every word they sing; and with such a vast catalogue, the melodic and lyrical creativity cannot be overstated. No two songs sound alike. And with a published library of more than 20 songs, Jared Dylan is like an iceberg with more than 90% of his body of work to be discovered. “Music is the universal language and I intend to reach as many people as I can.”
If I could go back and give myself some advice, the first thing I would say is, “DO NOT listen to anyone who tells you how to make your own art; especially when their reasoning is because ‘they’ve been doing this longer and they know better.’ Be honest. Be genuine. And follow your vision.” “I’m glad I realized that sooner rather than later. Now, I just trust the process. It’s a lot of self discovery and happy accidents; but those unplanned moments are filled with the most magic.” If I could accidentally write a song a day, I’d believe in magic too... “Honestly, I really don’t know where the music comes from. I spent a long time stressing over tapping the source and understanding whatever that even is. It’s a lot easier just to let it happen and not question it. I’m pretty sure there’s a lesson to be learned in there; somewhere.”
Something not many people know about Jared Dylan is the role his family has played in his music career. “Yea. I still live at home with my parents...” the first time I’ve seen Jared show any sort of insecurity. “The truth is, I wouldn’t be able to pursue this dream without the support of my family. But, you know, it’s also very motivating. I just keep visioning the success and how much sweeter it will be to say ‘we did it’ instead of ‘I did it.” “I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way; but the first, and maybe most important, was that I can’t do this alone.” Feeling the weight of this statement, Jared stops to absorb his emotions. “I should have been an architect.”
Everything happens for a reason. Or maybe what defines us as an individual is our ability to adapt. Lyme disease is still a medical mystery and something Jared struggles with on a daily basis. “I’m just pretty much tired all the time. But if I didn’t get bit by that fucking tick I would never have started writing music.” A former Varsity sprinter, Jared noticed himself getting slower and slower with every race. “I was pushing myself so hard. I was training like a dog and would literally be a millisecond slower every race. Finally, I got to a point where I was sleeping, like, 20 hours a day. Straight through school. I was a mess; but mentally I was completely there.” It was in his darkest moments that he began writing poetry and eventually put those lyrics to melodies.
“The first songs I ever wrote were all about being in the hospital or just being sad ALL THE TIME. I honestly thought I was never going to get better. I created a cartoon character that I drew in every notebook. He never showed his face. He was always looking down. I remember one drawing in particular my algebra teacher scanned and sent to my parents. I had an A in the class so they were really just like, ‘wow that’s a pretty good sketch;’ but the drawing was of a kid standing on a rooftop wearing a hospital gown with a single tear falling over the edge of the building... Art was always a coping mechanism for me. I’m pretty sure everyone knew that. I always thought that math teacher was kind of a bitch; but in hindsight, yea, she was a good woman.”
Jared has been winning awards for his artwork since the age of 5 and most recently has put this talent to work for him. Freelance artist for hire, Jared Dylan works with other musicians to make their visions a reality. “It’s refreshing and fuels my own creativity. Practically every dime goes back into my music.” Self taught animator and graphic designer, Jared has worked with independent artists as well as major labels as the director, producer, and head of creation for Broken Planet Media. “I don’t think of my self as a musician. I’m a creator. I have ideas for fashion, film, furniture. I’ve redesigned the chair. Yea, this shit is uncomfortable. Could be better... I’m just working to create the opportunity for myself to realize all these dreams. That’s all I’ve ever really done; chase opportunity.” The first step for this artist seems to be scoring the soundtrack to our future. “Every song has a silver lining. That’s one thing I’ve never lost touch with.” So here’s to the future and what it may hold for this emerging artist.