There are very few new artists who can say that they have signed a major-label record deal partnership, turned down a spot in internationally recognized boy band, and are currently being personally mentored by their biggest musical inspiration… but 20 year old singer/songwriter Dylan Brady can – and he’s just getting started.
Dylan called heirwaves to talk about his journey as an artist, the major decisions that shaped him, and finding a home in country music.
Though, while growing up on Long Island, country music wasn’t exactly in heavy rotation – Dylan credits his mom, who grew up down south, for his introduction to the genre. “She was the one that introduced me to country,” he explains, “Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Dixie Chicks… My heart’s always been in country music.”
In true Music City fashion, the dream of moving to Nashville in 2016 to be closer to the creative songwriting community was just the beginning for Dylan, who since signed to Barry Weiss’ RECORDS in partnership with Riser House/Columbia, and has found a home within the country music family. “It’s such a community, it’s like a high school where people don’t bully each other,” he jokes, “It’s not a competition, it’s a support system.” He adds that for him, there is no greater place in the world than Nashville.
That support system he found has played a significant role in Dylan’s career very early on – when one of his biggest musical influences took him under his wing. “Flatts are my favorite band ever. Ever Ever Ever Ever,” Dylan exclaims, “Ever since I was two years old, Flatts have been the reason I do country music.” Rascal Flatts’ own Joe-Don Rooney not only co-produced Dylan’s new music, but became somewhat of a mentor to him in navigating the music industry.
The night they first met at a private event two years ago really struck a chord with Dylan, not only because he got to share the stage with Rooney for “Life is a Highway,” but for a piece of advice that he never forgot. “When Joe Don was like 9, he went to a Vince Gil show,” Dylan explains, “and Vince Gil wrote on his ticket – ‘Keep on Tickin‘ and Joe Don texted me that night, ‘Keep on Tickin’.” The line has since stuck with Dylan, who uses it as a metaphor to keep going when life gets hard. “I don’t know if he knows that that’s resonated so well with me, but it always has,” he says.
“It’s a really cool feeling when somebody you’ve looked up to your entire life is in your corner, and is wanting you to succeed as much as you do,” he says. Especially in an industry that is constantly changing and evolving, those supportive relationships are imperative in a tight-knit community of artists… but even then, the industry has a way of throwing immense curve balls.
Dylan admits that one of the biggest challenges he’s faced in his career early on, is the weight of the decisions that lead him to stand on his own and trust his own heart. “There’s big decisions you’ve gotta make. It’s like a fork in the road – left and right,” he says. The night before we spoke, Dylan was hanging out at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater for his friend’s show – the boy band Why Don’t We – where he got a first-hand look at the ‘what-if‘ factor on the other side of that decision.
“4 years ago, it was supposed to be Dylan, Jack, Corbyn, and Zach in Why Don’t We,” he reveals, “I said no to being in Why Don’t We. Now they’re doing it. Everything is huge for them right now.” While that choice was a major decision for Dylan, he makes it clear that at the end of the day, he feels nothing but proud for his friends. “I didn’t feel envious, because I decided that what I wanted to do, is that I wanted to be in country music,” he states.
Dylan acknowledges that being a part of the band would have been fun – but in his heart he know that it was not the path he wanted to take. With an incredible label partnership behind him, and working with his favorite band of all time, he says that right now, he is where he’s supposed to be.
While accepting that he is where he is meant to be, he has ultimately discovered who he is, and who he is within his music. “I know my music is very different,” he admits, “but it’s Dylan… and that’s what I’ve always wanted to find.”
With the release of his second single “Over Us” in May, Dylan says that not only did that song represent exactly who he is as an artist, but that it was the perfect entry into the country scene. “I think a lot of my songs push bounds a little bit more than a lot of other people in country right now,” he says, “I think ‘Over Us‘ was the right first step into that, to show what ‘Dylan’ is, and give them a taste of what’s to come.”
“My heart’s always been in country music, and the stories it tells, and the feelings it leaves,” he says. While he’s been working for years to find his sound and discover who he is, he’s happy that he’s found it – and he’s not letting it go. With his EP coming out in the fall, Dylan concludes that he has really big things in the works, and if his journey so far is any indication, big things are definitely on the horizon.
Dylan Brady’s single “I Hate California” his available for streaming and download on all platforms now.