Versatility often fuels vision. Dylan Kelly, the Los Angeles native writes, sings, plays a multitude of instruments and produces his music. His musical ambidexterity belies a sharp wit, stylish inked aesthetic, and an intriguing personal history that includes learning how to record in a Venice Beach closet, religiously studying the production uniques of top producers, and getting banned for life (yes, for life) from a community college in The Valley.
Before all that, Dylan first picked up a guitar at 15-years-old inspired by everybody from Frank Sinatra and The Beatles to Kanye West, Weezer, and Backstreet Boys. He jumped between different local bands until he uncovered the power hidden within a MacBook Pro.
“It was a revelation,” he affirms. “I realized I could make music all by myself. I didn’t even need a band. I just started writing, and I didn’t stop.”
Through a friend, he met music industry executive and DrillDown Entertainment owner Paul Palmer (the man who co-founded Trauma Records original home to No Doubt and Bush, among others). Dylan signed to DrillDown and began working out of a Venice Beach studio in 2013, honing his chops in the process. However, he really hit a creative stride in 2015.
Coming home from a vacation in the Dominican Republic, Dylan went to the studio early one morning and wrote “All My Friends” from scratch in less than two hours. The woozy guitars, sunny production, confessional lyrics, and instantly chant able chorus “All my friends are high”. A Republic Records executive heard the song, and Dylan landed a deal with the label.
About the song, he explains, “I have a bunch of fun friends but it’s hard to get them to go out and do anything but hang”.
“All My Friends” shows just one side of this dynamic talent though. His music encompasses a diverse array of styles from pop and reggae to indie and alternative. “It’s representative of L.A.,” he says. “The city is such a melting pot so my music is like a melting pot of all those influences.”
Ultimately, Dylan’s own versatility will captivate anybody within earshot. “I want people to feel emotion,” he leaves off. “What else is the point of art? I hope they can relate and say, ‘Me too man. Me too!’”