King Dylan finds direction with new solo album
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 06:00 am
King Dylan CD Release Concert
Friday, Feb. 22. Doors at 8 p.m.
Haven Social Club
15120A Stony Plain Rd.
Tickets: $10 advance, $15 at door. Visit www.yeglive.ca
For the past two decades rockers and rappers have agreed to be frenemies, in part because the hip hop scene dishes out a dark vibe.
In this year that could potentially be King Dylan’s break-out season, the Calgary-based alternative hip hop/pop artist has welded the two distinct genres into a new musical hybrid.
The former St. Albert resident has pumped new life into the music scene with his fourth solo release Looking for the Sun. The seven track was released Tuesday just in time for his appearance at the Haven Social Club on Friday, Feb. 22.
“A lot of it is based on my life. There’s Forever is a Lie, a song about my band ending. And then there’s Nothing is Free. It’s about not having enough money. The Good Life talks about suicide. Queen is about the happy side of love and Insignificant is about the sad side of love,” explains Dylan.
While his interview answers are succinct, the music deftly blends pop and hip hop into intricate rhymes, catchy hooks and fun beats.
A Paul Kane graduate, King Dylan is known to school buddies as Dylan Roberts. He spent his formative years training for international level speedskating competitions. But in junior high, Dylan discovered rapping and traded in the dream of pro sports for a life wielding a microphone.
Since his move to Calgary more than a decade ago, the savvy technophile has self-produced seven full-length albums and numerous videos. He’s also spent time in the studio with Juno Award winners Moka Only of Swollen Members.
The hip hopper’s star began ascending after receiving $15,000 through Calgary’s AMP Radio Rockstar contest. He invested a chunk into producing Looking for the Sun and hopes the dividends will pay off at his showcase performance a the Canadian Music Fest 2013 in Toronto on March 20.
In the past couple of years, Dylan has seriously re-evaluated his choices and Looking for the Sun holds a mirror to them. One song, Blind Man, just released Tuesday on YouTube as the first single, acutely represents Dylan’s feelings for the whole album.
“You want to go in a certain direction, but you don’t know how to get there,” he said. “We all have goals, but don’t know the steps to get there – where to go with your music career, with family and happiness.”
Dylan, whose passionate musical foundation is built on rap and hip hop, also spent five years playing bass and piano with rock band Broken Ride. In that time he criss-crossed Canada several times, and worked with producers Dale Penner (Nickelback) and Chris Burke-Gaffney (Chantal Kreviazuk).
The band’s breakup proved to be a golden opportunity to focus on fresh creative enterprises including the 2012 release of Dinosaurs on Broadway, a 16-track CD featuring an interesting mix of influences.
“I borrowed the idea off a tattoo on my arm. It’s a dinosaur outside with a treble clef inside. I’ve had a thing for dinosaurs since elementary and junior high. It’s always been with me. When I started rapping my first song was about dinosaurs,” Dylan said.
“Music and art are a part of my life and dinosaurs help me get into it. When I’m on stage I feel different from anything else and when I’m on stage the dinosaur represents something wild and different.”
As the last decade has passed, the cocky, upstart rapper has matured into a confident polished pop rapper.
“When you get older you realize not everything is going to go your way,” he said.
Also performing with King Dylan on Friday is Vancouver’s Boombox Saints, delivering their own brand of hip hop and R&B infused pop, and Jaide, an Edmonton-based high energy rapper with chilling vocals.