One of the goals of this blog is to highlight some lesser known artists who I've discovered through iTunes or YouTube, like I did with Citizen Soldier last year. In doing so, I've learned a bit about how the music industry is changing with digital platforms becoming the way music is obtained and received. This does, however, make success as an artist more complicated, as I highlighted in my review of Mutiny Within. While putting new material out through social media is easier than ever, paying for the costs of recording music is becoming harder, seeing more releases of individual singles and EPs.
I recently discovered Brian Dalton's new single "Drown" on YouTube. It is a rock ballad that dances on the edge of genres with gritty, intense vocals backed by piano and electronic percussion. Even more interesting are the lyrics, which portray a sense of violence with the first part of the chorus, "The night's alive/I press, you writhe/In ecstasy/It's all that's meant to be/You make me drown". This makes the edge in Dalton's voice more appealing. The song speaks of a single moment of passion that is both burning love and aggression, as the second part of the chorus starts "And so we stand inside/This frame in time". The lyrics are very visual, and Dalton expressed that.
I reached out to him to get his thoughts on the writing of this single and his work in the music industry:
"‘Drown’ is unique to me in that it’s the first song that I’ve written where the lyrical meaning sort of evolved throughout it’s creation, largely in part due to the conceptualizing of the music video. It started out being a song focused on just raw physical attraction between two people and kind of matured into an homage to the darker side of that same aspect in relationships. Where it’s the only thing holding two people together, and the rest of themselves is almost harmful to the other. One of those situations where you know it’s terrible for you but it’s almost too good to let go. As far as if it’s personal to me, I always try to include a piece of myself in the songs write. So, yes, ‘Drown’ definitely reflects on some of those points in my life."
We also discussed the industry and approach to releasing music today:
"To me, the music industry is in a very different place right now. A kind of rebirth. So, therefore, the approach of a starting artist has to change as well. It’s no secret that the internet changed everything with how people buy (hopefully) or listen to music now. And honestly I think it’s great in that it’s easier than ever to get your material to online outlets such as Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, etc. The problem is how do you get people to listen to it. With ‘Drown’ I decided to take a different approach than I took with my 2014 EP, “Dalton: The Fall.” I decided to release ‘Drown’ as a single and, honestly, my main thought was to try to get it on a movie soundtrack. So, I focused on finding any legitimate opportunity that I could dig up online, and just sent it to them and hoped for the best. Luckily, for me, it worked out in that I was able to get a deal with Milwaukee Junction Records back in February and I could not be more excited about what the future holds.
I recorded both my first ep and ‘Drown’ along with its music video with Brothers Walker (NBC’s The Voice) and Jake Bond (guitarist of Adelaide) and that without them, none of this would’ve been possible. I submitted ‘Drown’ to Milwaukee Junction Records through a site called SubmitHub back in January of this year and was fortunate enough to get a response which resulted in me getting a nonexclusive marketing deal with them. Basically, MJR pushes my music to different outlets and opportunities to get it to the masses. They’re an amazing label with some amazingly talented artists and they’ve addressed any questions or concerns I’ve had along the way. This spring I will be back in the recording studio focusing on new songs that I’ll release as singles as well with the same approach. I plan to cut a full album next year."
I like the approach of releasing singles working toward an EP, which worked well for Citizen Soldier and numerous other bands. Dalton's presence on YouTube for "Drown" has also done fairly well. My favorite aspect to the song is the lyrical approach and I could totally see it being used in a film. It has not only the darker lyrics but a recognizable melody and tone that would also fit. I am greatly looking forward to the next singles he puts out.