We had the good fortune of connecting with Dylan Keawe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dylan, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
What inspires me most is the continual process of growth that every living thing is a part of. As a songwriter it’s easy to draw inspiration by allowing myself to feel comfortable in a state of observation. I find that when I’m most inspired is when I’m most aware of all the aspects of any given situation in my personal life. If I am able to take a minute and understand not only the physical situation, but the emotional and mental state I am in during that situation, then the causes of the feelings and urge to react that I have in that situation are much easier to understand and interpret. One of my favorite places to draw inspiration from is my earlier self. It may sound vain, but I never tire of appreciating how far I have come from where I used to be, mentally, to where I am today. And equally as inspiring is the thought of what is to come next for me in my process of growth. The feeling of willingness to accept the changes I will inevitably go through along this journey is exciting to such a degree that I believe as long as I retain that feeling, I will continue to be inspired.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a multi-instrumentalist, a singer, songwriter, producer, as well as a freelance keyboard player and guitarist. I am originally from Maui, but now live in California, and I write a mix of musical styles ranging from island/reggae, pop, and RnB/soul. I have toured as a keyboard/guitar player for established artists such as: KBong, Leilani Wolfgramm, Josh Heinrichs, Marlon Asher, etc. and have also gotten to open up for these artists on tour with my original music. I released my debut self-titled EP as a solo artist in June 2020, and followed that up with my first single in January 2021 called ‘Beautiful’ from my upcoming full-length album. Another single, ‘Never Ever’ was released on Friday, March 12, 2021, which was also my 27th birthday! I have plans to release one more single and then a full-length album in early summer 2021. I think what separates me is my willingness to learn and adapt to the role I am needed for. A lot of times when artists look for musicians to hire for tours and studio sessions, it’s less often about finding the most talented players, but more about finding the players who are most willing to do the homework and work within the group to produce the sound desired by the artist. I have been told that one of my better musical qualities is the preparation I do. Even before I meet the artist in person on the day of the first rehearsal before securing the gig, I do my best to acquire the music and charts that would be necessary for the job beforehand. This allows me to prepare the specific notes I need to make sure the material is all learned BEFORE showing up to rehearse with the band. This is also especially important to do as a keyboard player, because a lot of times I am required to do a lot of programming to get the right sounds for each song. Any given song may have anywhere from 2-4 or even more unique keyboard sounds that will require me to quickly cycle through the different sounds needed while still being able to perform the song. Since it wouldn’t be physically possible for me to program every sound during the course of the performance, it is then up to me to do all that prep work beforehand. I think artists recognize when you take the time to put in all that work before even meeting them at the first rehearsal/soundcheck. It shows them that you take your work seriously, but also that you care about preserving the integrity of their music as well. As I step on the other side into the role of the artist, I find that my experience having been a hired musician makes me much easier to work with as an artist. The amazing musicians I have been lucky enough to work with all receive all the treatment and necessary music and charts that I know would make my life much easier as a musician. I think this creates a much more relaxed environment where we can all be free to have our creative inputs heard while feeling like every other musician in the band will be on the same page.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I think there are so many amazing trails in Southern California, and this means endless possibilities for adventures outside in the fresh air. If someone was visiting from another area, especially those who live in less temperate areas, I would recommend they take full advantage of the beautiful year round weather we are so fortunate to have here. Outdoor activities are truly the best way to take it all in, whether it’s a visit to one of the many beautiful beaches, a hike or bike ride on a new trail, or even trying out some new experience. Recently I went to a site where we could go gem mining and my girlfriend and I loved the experience of finding beautiful gemstones of all different colors, shapes, and sizes!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This shoutout is dedicated to my wonderful girlfriend Lilia, who owns and operates her very own hand-crafted gemstone jewelry business called Abundant Earth Collective. You can find her amazing unisex jewelry at: abundantearthcollective.com Lilia Margarita Lopez I can not thank you enough, truly, for all the support, love, and encouragement you provide for me day in and day out. I love growing alongside you and watching you bloom into the self-starting, persistent, and determined individual you are becoming. I have never written so many songs with a specific person in mind as I have in the time we have been together, and I will always be grateful. I can’t wait to see your business continue to develop as you continue to learn more every day!
Justin Oltesvig (‘Never Ever’ and ‘Beautiful’ Album Art) David Nampi (EP Album Art) Jack Taylor (photographs)