Dylan’s musical career did not start well. According to Notion Magazine, the Suffolk-born singer songwriter was just six years old when she ‘auditioned’ for The X Factor (well, really, her parents) in her family’s front room – a moment that ended badly, with Dylan crying in a cupboard. But it didn’t put our girl off, and now she’s managed by the same team as Ed Sheeran, getting airplay on Radio 1 and gracing many festival stages across the country. The 20-year-old describes her sound as ‘unapologetic, honest and dark’ and was inspired by AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses, who made her want to be a rock star. Oh, and she’s also a Virgin Money Emerging Star Link opens in a new window. Read on to find out about her before everyone else does…
Hi Dylan, when did you realise that a career in music was the one for you?
I think there’s never really been a plan B for me – it’s always been music. It’s the only thing I was half decent at. There’s never really been a point where I thought I’m going to do anything else, it’s just always been music.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t run before you can walk, by my manager. I’ve got an ambition that’s way too big for me and it means that I expect things to go a lot faster than they are going to, so to probably just chill out and have some patience.
What is the highlight of your career so far?
Good question…Maybe ‘Sour Milk’ getting BBC Radio 1’s track of the week because it was my second single and something like that was slightly ridiculous and out of reach at that point, but it happened!
Have you set yourself any career goals?
Many, but the big one is playing at Wembley because my Dad trained me to say, ‘Hello Wembley!’ at a really young age and I think once I get on that stage and get to say that, that will really be a moment.
If you could be on the line-up with any two artists in history, who would they be?
That’s a tough one. I’ve got to say Flume because I’m obsessed with him. And then maybe Nina Simone, as she was a massive part of my upbringing.
What is the best gig/festival you’ve ever been to and why?
AC/DC at the Olympic Stadium. It was wicked – I was stood next to a bunch of really old guys that had obviously been to all of the tours and they had me there like I was one of their own because I knew all of the words and was going as hard as they were.
What has your favourite live UK music venue or festival been to perform at?
Electrowerkz, because it was the first time that I heard anyone sing my songs back to me, plus we sold it out.
Best and hardest thing about being in the music industry?
The best is that you’re allowed to do what you love, and no one tries to charge you for it. Writing is the thing I love most in the world and for it to be a job is insane. The hardest is keeping going and not comparing yourself to every other artist out there. I struggle with that a lot, but I’ve just got to remember I am me and they are them.
How important is it to support emerging musicians, especially at the moment?
Extremely important, it’s one of the most important things, especially with lockdown and not being able to play live and not earn money because we’re not playing live. It helps us keep going and gives us something to work for. It gives us a glimpse of hope and I think the emerging artists are the next generation of musicians that hopefully one day are doing arena tours.
Do you have any advice on how we (general music fans) could help up and coming artists?
Don’t only listen to the same three artists that you like. Make sure that you’re always listening to new music. It would be like always eating pesto pasta; you’re never going to know if you like something else if you don’t try it. Some food isn’t for everyone but most of the time you’ll like it so yeah, expand your pallet!
Which emerging artists are you listening to at the moment?
There’s this girl called Lily Denning, who I’m friends with. She’s about to start releasing more music and her new sound is just incredible. Also, a girl called Naaz who is underrated…seriously underrated. She’s still really small but her music is just soul wrenching. Proper girl power.
How important do you think social media is when it comes to building your profile and audience?
Massively important, although I hate to admit it. It helps you reach people you wouldn’t normally reach and, also, it allows people to get a much deeper meaning to your music and to you as an artist. People are able to see the behind the scenes, what you like and what you don’t like, and can watch the music come to life, from writing a demo to an actual song.
What are your top three tips for how to connect with your followers on social media?
- Don’t try to be someone you’re not.
- Don’t be afraid to post something with personality, which is something that I’ve had to learn…for some reason I was convinced that my personality was horrible, and I shouldn’t go near anyone. I think I was hiding my personality, which was not a good thing, as it’s always going to come out.
- Black and white photos don’t do as well as colour photos, that’s a proper social media tip.
Do you follow lots of artists on Instagram/Twitter/TikTok? If so, who would you recommend we follow?
I think Dua Lipa is very colourful and all her Instagram posts look incredible, it’s just like “wow, wow, wow, wow”, so that’s fun to watch. What a woman…how she pulls off her hair colours I will never know. Maisy Peters has got a really good Instagram because she is constantly talking to her fans and putting up videos of her describing her lyrics, which gives a whole deeper meaning to her music.
Do you think lockdown had any positive impacts on your life?
Yes, I’m not going to sleep in anymore. Before, if I had a day off, I’d sleep until 12pm and then get up and write a song instead of actually going out and doing something fun. I’ve taken the whole ‘ah I can walk out of my front door in London and go for a bike ride’ for granted, so I’m definitely going to continue to get up a lot earlier than I was.
Has music helped you get through lockdown?
I’ve been writing a lot more and almost going further into my problems than I ever have – getting deep into them and writing more emotional, more vulnerable songs than I normally would. But then also I’ve been going into writing happy songs, which has never happened. I’ve written my first happy song that I actually like.
And now time for some quick-fire questions…
Early bird or night owl?
Netflix or Spotify?
Must-watch film on Netflix?
‘The Notebook’, I cry every time
Must-listen to song?
Hourglass by Catfish and the Bottlemen
Iona, a small island off the coast of Hull. It’s tiny and you can walk around it. It’s 3 miles from one end of the island to another. It’s beautiful, it’s incredible and there’s so much brain space there.
All-time favourite restaurant or take out?
Carluccio’s every time…I’m obsessed. Especially the spinach and ricotta ravioli with the butter and sage sauce. They shared one of my stories on Instagram once because I was bigging them up and it was the proudest moment ever. I thought, “I’ve made it, Carluccio’s have seen me”.