Prior to this event, I had only heard his new single, ‘Run to the River‘ – which, by the way, is catchy AF.
An invitation to Warner Music Australia HQ in Sydney’s North this past Tuesday afternoon revealed that the Melbourne artist is much more than what Google claims him to be. Seriously, look up the name Dylan Joel in Google and the profile bar on the right side will tell you that he’s a hip-hop/rap artist.
After seeing him at the exclusive and very intimate showcase of songs he’s working on for the release of his new album, I feel like it wouldn’t be right to place him in just a broad
Yes, there were obvious influences of hip-hop and rap throughout the performance but there were also fragments of blues, R&B, perhaps a bit of jazz, too?
The stage set inside the Warner Music office for the exclusive showcase of Joel was a replica of his teenage bedroom (think: a Mighty Ducks jersey, posters of MJ, JT, Michael Jordan and Tracy Chapman). There was also the appearance of a few friends just hanging out on a double bed who later, turned out to be his backup vocalists and guitarist.
Prior to kicking off the show, Dylan Joel encouraged us to move in closer, to get relaxed and comfortable. Set amongst the cubicles of the office, the audience Joel is playing to is a mix of the Warner Music staff and a few special guests (Hello!) that they’ve invited along to enjoy the show.
The office space is intimate and welcoming as the Melbourne emcee relaxes in the setting and performs 4-5 songs. His quick-fire bars, rhythmic guitar riffs, and beatboxing on his loop pedal had all of us transfixed on such a talented artist as he continued to preview select songs that he’s been writing and working on, in preparation for his new record.
Joel effortlessly serenaded us with stripped-down, acoustic versions of his tracks and charmed us with his stories of how each song came about.
A personal highlight for me was his performance of ‘Snow’, a rather emotional song that he wrote for a friend who confided in him as they were dealing with anxiety and depression. Hearing the story and then listening to the lyrics of the song, it really touched me right in the feels, having dealt with similar things myself during the past few months. I may or may not have wiped a tear or two from my eye.. just quietly.
I’ve always wondered how an artist articulates and curates the setlist for their performances, and the setlist that Joel chose that afternoon perfectly complemented the bedroom decor of the stage setting. Picking up the energy after ‘Snow,’ Dylan introduced his new single, ‘Run to the River’ inviting his “roommates” to accompany him on stage.
Asking management if there’s room for one more song, Joel closes his set with the very fun and upbeat ‘Hola, Hola’ which has me wanting to sing along but also not wanting to ruin the audio on my recording of him performing – ha! 😛
After the set, I was able to meet and have a quick chat with the multitalented artist, letting him know how ‘Snow’ made me feel seeing and hearing him perform it live.
As well as being a super nice guy, Dylan Joel is – in every sense of the word – an entertainer. His performance was an abundance of warm energy showcased through soulful positivity and clever rap quips. Add in some guitar grooves with some boyish cheekiness and you have an artist that we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on.
*Special thanks to the staff of Warner Music Australia for the invitation.