Wonderland.

NEW NOISE: DYLAN CONRIQUE

The artist unveils her touching new single, dedicated to her best friend who suffered the loss of her mum.

Dylan wears Puma. All photography taken by Lauren Dunn.

Dylan wears Puma. All photography taken by Lauren Dunn.

Despite the elation and joy often associated with “Birthday Cake”, Dylan Conrique’s single stretches far beyond the surface-level emotions of an annual celebration. Led by sombre piano keys that gently tug on the heartstrings, “Birthday Cake” is a sorrow-charged single that acts as a love letter to a friend who is in mourning. With tangible empathy pouring from her angelic vocals, it is clear to see that the track is a soulful tribute to Dylan’s best friend, whom she watched lose her mum to cervical cancer at just 12 years old.

During a triumphant chorus, Dylan laments all the things she thinks her friend’s mum would say to her if she was still alive — asking her to “live like the worlds on fire” and to “love like hearts don’t break”. Backed by soaring synths and Dylan’s artful storytelling, the track becomes the audial equivalent of a hug. Despite its poignant perspective, the track manages to uplift its listeners — allowing space for sorrow while navigating an optimistic narrative.

To celebrate the success of “Birthday Cake” since its release and ahead of the drop of her brand new single “I miss you (skin to skin)”, we sat with Dylan over an evening Zoom to discuss Dylan’s career so far, her experience moving to LA and her dream collaborators.

So to read the full interview and to stream “Birthday Cake” now, head below…

Dylan wears Puma. All photography taken by Lauren Dunn.

Hi Dylan, how are you doing?
I’m good. I’m good. What about you?

I’m good, thank you! We wanted to start by getting to know you a little bit better. So, what’s one interesting fact about you that I’m not able to find in a press release?
Probably that I grew up on a farm. I don’t know, when I tell people that it seems very surprising to people. But yeah, I grew up on ten acres with horses, pigs, cats and dogs and, you know, my family’s from that area. And I still have that in my heart.

Oh, wow. Did you enjoy it?
Living the life? I really did. I think I definitely took it for granted. Because, you know, coming here and moving into a one-bedroom apartment right away when I moved to LA, it was insane. Because I didn’t have 10 acres of a backyard, you know, I didn’t have ATVs to ride on. So, you know, I do like to go home and experience that again.

So you grew up in Loomis, California?
Yeah.

Would you say that impacted your sound, being in such a suburban area?
I think so, mainly because I didn’t grow up listening to really different types of music like I do now. I grew up listening to country music – country music is very much storytelling. And I do think that has benefited my writing process and how I write, but I also think, you know, going back home, and the experiences that I’ve got to experience have benefited me in a good way.

And then moving to LA, what was that experience? Was it a bit of a culture shock to you?
Oh, it was different. Mainly because I lived in a town with 6,000 people as a population, and you know, I come to LA and it’s like, something that is 11 miles away takes an hour to get there. So that is completely different. And I had back roads, we didn’t have streetlights. We had street lights in our little town, but not on the back roads, while in LA everything’s lit up. And I do think LA has very gorgeous spots, but I do miss nature and going back home.

Dylan wears Puma. All photography taken by Lauren Dunn.

And in terms of your creativity, where do you think you’re most inspired? Do you think it’s in LA? Or in your hometown?
I’ve only started writing music when I moved to LA so I do think that LA has definitely been the source of it. But I also do believe that because of the experiences that I had growing up, I do put that into my music as I’m still growing to be a songwriter.

And who would you say are your biggest influences and your biggest inspirations within your music?
Yeah, so I was a big Taylor Swift fan when I was really young. Also a big Justin Bieber fan, which like, Justin Bieber was pop and T-Swift was country. And then also, I like to say that I learned how to do my riffs from Rascal Flatts, which is a country band. They definitely taught me my ways of singing how to really identify my voice.

That’s so cool. And if you only had one word, how would you describe your sound?
That’s hard. I want to say authentic, mainly because, you know, with the new song that I have out, “Birthday Cake”, I’ve really noticed that music can make a huge impact. And so like that’s what I only want to do going further.

You released your debut EP “Baby Blue” while in lockdown. What was the process like, with writing it?
So I wrote “Baby Blue” before COVID started. And that was really one of the first songs that I wrote when I started songwriting, and it kind of just came easily to me. After that it was “Wasted Makeup” and “Not So Secretly” and “Homesick”, and it all came together so easily. And then, of course, COVID hit, and filming the music videos definitely took a little bit longer, but I definitely think it’s an accomplishment for sure.

I don’t think many people can say they did something like that during lockdown so huge congratulations! And how was it received? What did your friends and family think?
You know, I’ve been let down by a lot of people in the music industry. I was a very young girl and all I wanted to do was sing, so when any person told me “oh, we’re gonna make you a star” I immediately said yes, because that’s all I wanted then. And then I signed with my label at 14 years old. From there it has been a collaborative area, and they let me do what I want to do. They guide me and have helped me through all of it. I’m very blessed to have that support system. The music industry was very hard in the beginning, but I have a really good team backing me up.

And then you released “Birthday Cake”, it definitely feels very personal and intimate. It nearly had me in tears! So what prompted you to take a more personal direction with that track?
I kind of came to a little writer’s block before writing “Birthday Cake”. About two years ago, I was writing a song every single day. And I was writing about my experiences because that was the only way for me to actually finish a song. And I came into the studio one day and was like, I don’t want to write a song about me. I wanted to write a song about someone, for someone, just something to really challenge me. And it instantly clicked when I was talking about my life story. Things that happened to me and things that happened to my friends and so naturally “Birthday Cake” clicked. We made it within one day, which was crazy. But I originally wrote it just for her. I just wrote it for my best friend. I didn’t want to put it out because it was super specific to her story. It was a challenge for me but I accomplished it. And I wanted her to have something to lean on when I’m not there. And she immediately was like, you have to put it out.

Did she like it?
Loved it. I showed her the demo that day and she absolutely loved it. And was immediately like “when are you putting this out?” And I was like, oh, no, I wasn’t planning on putting this out. It took me two years to put it out.

What do you hope other people who aren’t within your social circle took away from the track?
When I put the song out, I didn’t realise how many other people have gone through this. I just never really thought about it. My mum lost her mum when I was one. But I never really experienced that in my life to be able to understand the feeling of it. And to see how many people related to this song was absolutely heartbreaking. But also, to hear that the song has brought them peace and has impacted them at all, I just hope that people can take this song in a positive way and know that the person they lost is watching over them and only wants what’s best for them.

And we heard you have an EP coming this summer. You don’t have to tell us everything, but is there anything that we can expect from it? Are there any little hints you can give us?
What is the one thing that every teenager goes through?

Do you have any goals for the near future within your musical career?
I want to be able to put a lot of songs out and then do a mini intimate tour with the songs and then just grow from there and really connect with people. But yeah, I would love to be on the road. That would be ideal.

And is there anyone that you would want on the road with you? Who’s your dream collaborator/guest?
Hmm. That’s a hard one. As a little girl I grew up wanting to sing a song with Rascal Flatts so badly, so I would love for them to come on stage and sing a song with me. That would be awesome.

Dylan wears Puma. All photography taken by Lauren Dunn.
Photography
Lauren Dunn - @laurenelizadunn
Art Director
Lily Pichon Flannery - @lilypf
Words and Interview
Ella West - @ellaxwest
Styling
Kat Typaldos - @kattypaldos
Glam
Alexandra French - @alexandraafrench
Hair
Laura Dudley - @alero.glow
NEW NOISE: DYLAN CONRIQUE

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