TFT Exclusive Interview and Track: Dylan Nichols is Self-Made and Soul-Filled
When so many young singers choose to go the sexed-up Ke$ha route or remain teen-like to appease the Disney Channel audience, this generation needs an authentic, down-to-earth artist pointing the way to calmer, more soulful times. That voice is Dylan Nichols. This 20-year-old’s songs are centered on intimacy and a lack thereof. She tells personal love stories sans Taylor Swiftian simplicity. Her lyrics don’t reveal a plot. Instead, they are filled with sensuous detail and complex emotion accurately conveyed.
A Los Angeles native, Nichols began playing guitar at eight and composed her first song, a tribute to the late Jeff Buckley, at 12. In May 2010, she released her first EP, Acclimating. The title track, produced by Bill Lefler (who has also worked with Ingrid Michaelson and Laura Jansen) will carry over to her new EP, Anything But Scared.
Where Acclimating is delicately produced, showcasing Nichols’ breathy voice, Anything But Scared lifts her louder with soaring strings and layered choruses. This EP is the beginning of a new era for Nichols, both sonically and lyrically. Acclimating is an album of missing and coming-of-age, identifying emotions and then elaborating; Anything But Scared is more specifically nostalgic—this set of tracks seems to look both back and forward simultaneously. Nichols has found more of her voice.
This Monday, she sat down with TFT to discuss her transition, influences, and to gift us with an exclusive track from Anything But Scared:
The Faster Times: What influences your musical style?
Dylan Nichols: In terms of songwriting, Joni Mitchell was my first influence. Her careful attention to lyricism and poetry has always inspired me. Jeff Buckley and Fiona Apple are also longtime inspirations. In terms of production, I love that electronic elements are being incorporated into every genre of music.
TFT: What are your ultimate goals?
DN:I would really like to record a full album, go on tour, and have a song in a film.
TFT: What would you say this new album is about? Go song by song, if you want.
DN: Anything But Scared is definitely about a relationship, as much as it is hard to admit that! Porcelain is probably the most personal. It’s about overcoming physical and emotional fragility. Acclimating is about the beginning of a relationship. Kitchen is… it’s a long distance phone call. Run Away is reminiscing stability. It’s about meeting, coming home, and leaving. But this is all somewhat self-explanatory if you listen to the words.
Overall, Anything but Scared is a move across the country; it’s about finding stability in a new place.
TFT: What makes you different from other up-and-coming artists?
DN: I have never collaborated with anyone to write my songs–which is not to say I don’t admire collaboration! I just experience something, write a song, and it is what it is. So [my tracks] are extremely personal. In terms of instrumentation I am beyond thankful for the people I work with. My hope is always just that people can find something to connect with, either lyrically or musically. I want both elements to be there.
Check out Dylan’s TFT Exclusive Pre-released single, “Kitchen,” below:
Kitchen by Dylan Nichols
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