Dylan Charles is a New York City based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with a cool multi-genre, cross-continental sound. A diverse and nuanced talent, he has worked in Americana, Folk, Jazz, Soul and Indie-Pop. Dylan has toured the nation as a solo act and a bandleader and co-founded groups on both ends of the continent.
As was the case for artists around the world, the lockdown of 2020 provided the Brooklyn musician with plenty of free time to hit the recording studio. Last year he released his first widely distributed solo single in over a decade, the Indie-Pop love song “Captive.” Dylan is continuing that journey in 2021. His latest single and video “Decisions” dropped everywhere on April 16.
“Decisions” rides a bluesy guitar riff into a bit of low-key social commentary. Inspired by our modern world of fake news and misinformation, Dylan Charles shares an internal dialogue on the difficulty of knowing what and who to believe. Over a mellow organic groove marked by a chill electric piano, cool retro synths and airy vocal harmonies he asks, “How do you know which voices to kick out of your mind?”
This is not a political song, but was most certainly inspired by the turmoil of our modern age and the toll it has taken on our collective consciousness.Dylan Charles
“Decisions” is a smart and soulful tune of and for our time. Check out the video below. You can also hear the track on the Deep Indie Dive playlist. We had the chance to chat with Dylan about his music. Check out his answers to our 6 questions. And follow the links at the end of this article to connect with Dylan Charles. Get on his socials and get in the loop on all of the current and future projects from this talented and versatile artist.
6 Questions With Dylan Charles
Where are you from?
I grew up in Ann Arbor, MI. where I played a lot of jazz gigs and also performed a lot of original music with various bands I led or was part of in high school.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been writing songs pretty much my whole life and have been playing music professionally for almost 20 years.
Who are the musicians involved in your project?
I played all the instruments on this particular track except for the background vocals which were recorded by my friends John Rogers and Kate Sland in LA.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
I’m pretty old school with my influences. Stevie Wonder is probably my all-time favorite artist and I have a deep love for soul, R&B, blues, funk and Motown. I also have been inspired by songwriters like Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Tom Waits. I studied jazz in high school and college, so for a long time always leaned towards things that incorporated elements of jazz. I had a huge musical awakening though when I moved to Arizona.
I lived in a cool little town called Bisbee for a number of years and played a lot in Tucson, Phoenix and various other cities throughout the southwest. I started being exposed to a lot more Americana, Bluegrass and Country music and blending that in with my earlier influences. Artists like Gram Parsons, Townes Van Zandt and John Prine were particularly inspiring to me. Collaborating with artists in that scene really helped me find my voice as an artist.
What is your greatest non-musical influence?
I’m always most inspired when I’m traveling, meeting new people, hearing their stories and learning from their life experiences. Songwriting for me has always been a mechanism for processing the human condition, so the more people I meet, places I see and perspectives I come to understand, the better I think my music becomes. A long time ago a friend said to me, “you can’t write music about music, it has to be about life,” and that has really stuck with me.
What inspired you to create this project?
I put out a couple records under my own name in 2009-2011 when I was living in Arizona and was doing a lot of work as a solo artist during that time. Over the past 8 years or so I’ve been in NYC and have spent most of that time working with a soul band I co-founded called On The Sun. I wrote a lot for that group, we released two full length records and had an amazing time touring all over the country.
During that time I kind of let my solo stuff go by the wayside in terms of recording, but in the meantime have built up quite a large catalog of songs that never quite fit into the brand of On The Sun. Recently I’ve taken a step back from that band to get these songs out into the world. This is the second single I’ve released since December of 2020 and I plan to keep them coming every few months.