Conversations With Dylan Dunlap: Discussing “Follow My Echo,” His Support System, and &#
With COVID shutting down so many beloved places, it’s no surprise we all struggle with quarantine differently. But LA-based singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Dylan Dunlap found a way to cope. His new song “Follow My Echo” is a beautiful tune focused around the theme of trust. With the lyrics emulating pleas of love and counsel, the tune provides a sense of solace, especially during these challenging and uncertain times. Dunlap shares:
“I used to go to the movies every few days and really struggled when quarantine began. I didn’t want to write about COVID, so I decided to write about Finding Nemo. It holds such a special place in my heart as I resonate with the message of learning to let go of somebody, but never giving up on them. I often think that I can solve other people’s problems for them, sometimes at my expense. We’re all going to make mistakes along the way and it’s up to us to encourage one another to try our best.”
We were able to talk to Dylan about his latest single “Follow My Echo,” as well as his career, what it’s been like to make music in quarantine, and how he’s been keeping busy. Check it out below:
RDFO: When you first started making music did you ever imagine getting to the level you are at now? Was there ever a time when you thought about bailing on music and choosing a different path?
DD: I used to be scared about imagining the future and getting it wrong. Instead of the specifics, I’ve always told myself that my hard work would pay off, the sleepless nights would make sense, and every single odd against me would never discourage me from continuing to choose this path. I love it way more than I’m insecure about it.
RDFO: Your new song “Follow My Echo” beautifully plays on the Finding Nemo theme of putting trust in others on our journey through life. With this message in mind, what do you hope people learn about themselves while listening to the song?
DD: A couple things! I hope that people can remember the importance of practicing self-care in their own lives before encouraging others to do so as it’s easier to give your own advice than to take it. I also hope that we can all learn to find the balance between taking the utmost precaution during this pandemic and finding ways to grow through what we go through together. I wrote all of this from the perspective of things I wish my father told my younger self. How much he should have cared about my health & safety, all the mistakes he should have tried to prevent me from making, but then realized I’d have to make on my own. As a kid, I used to be so annoyed by Marlin’s parenting behavior in Finding Nemo only to grow up and realize that it’s actually perfectly understandable to care about your kid that much.
RDFO: How has writing and creating music during quarantine been for you? Do you feel like you struggle creatively?
DD: I feel rejuvenated! I’m so much more patient with myself these days and because there’s less pressure, I’ve ended up writing more than I ever have. Haha so much that I need to make sure I slow down and be present for each release as it comes. There was a time (March 2020) when “Follow My Echo” was my favorite song in the world and I look forward to honoring that by celebrating its release this week 🙂
Photo credit: Brandon Espeleta
RDFO: To date, what has been your favorite live performance and what cities have become favorites to visit on the road?
DD: Every show in LA will always hold a dear place in my heart as I got my start here in the streets of Downtown Burbank and Santa Monica. Full-band sets at The Troubadour and The Hi Hat are definitely in my top 5, but there is nothing like being alone and traveling the UK streets. I’ve only visited London a couple times, but it’s basically a tradition now to spend my afternoons in local coffee shops before soundcheck and read Harry Potter. Can’t wait to get back out there!
RDFO: Has there been a moment in your career that stands out to you that almost felt too good to be true?
DD: Opening for OneRepublic in a sold out stadium still feels like it didn’t happen.
RDFO: In your personal opinion, what has been the single most satisfying, important or reaffirming moment of your career?
DD: I originally thought it would be some sort of stream count or film/TV placement, but I think it’s the fact that I have my girlfriend by my side every day. It’s so reaffirming to work as hard as I do and be acknowledged, loved, and respected for it the way she does. Marisa makes every “yes” and “no” from the industry satisfying because she encourages me so much to just keep going.
RDFO: It’s great to see you use your platform to shed light on Black Lives Matter and mental health. What’s your advice to artists who are still struggling to take that step and talk to fans about causes that matter to them?
DD: It’s as simple as this. If I’m going to claim to practice the utmost transparency on (and off) the internet, my actions will always speak louder than my words. I’d rather lose racist and misogynistic fans and make room for a more loving and welcoming community for my listeners. The absolute least any of us can do is utilize our platforms and amplify voices that have been silenced for far too long.
RDFO: Out of all of your tattoos, which one has the most significance to you? Can you tell us why?
DD: My sister (effortlessly amazing singer and maker of delicious jams) once got a tattoo of me playing a grand piano on her arm and I wanted to do something in return. We used to play music together all the time and fantasized about starting a band, and since we’re siblings and our names are Dylan and Alexis, “D&A” seemed fitting! Haha BUT instead of getting her face on me, I hired the same guy that worked on her to draw two DNA double helix strands on my left arm.
RDFO: Have you finished Gilmore Girls yet? And if so, what character do you relate to the most?
DD: Wow I’m so happy you asked this. As of right now, we have about 8 or 9 episodes left until the series finale and I can safely say that Emily Gilmore is an absolute standout. I just love how much she cares, almost to her detriment, about practicing professionalism. I have no idea what I’m going to do when we finish, but MAN this show is addictive.
RDFO: Are you actually mad that “Low” by Flo Rida was #1 on your 12th birthday instead of “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay?
DD: Hahaha no. Although I do feel like Coldplay will always deserve way more recognition for being the best band of all time.
Inspired by the likes of Coldplay and Mumford & Sons, Dylan Dunlap simultaneously fashioned a singular style, infusing cinematic scope and alternative eloquence into power pop. Dylan released what would become his breakout single “If That’s Alright” and went on to quietly amass over 20 million streams while 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.