Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
Actually, my catalyst for music and book publishing was influenced by my mother. My mother insisted that I write everything I felt in a notebook. Overtime I became bored with merely writing sentences about how I feel; therefore, sentences turned into rhymes, rhymes turned into poems, and 30 second poems turned into 3 - 4 minute songs.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
Realization. Over time I found that music is very therapeutic and eye opening. To some extent, I am an emotionally reserved person; therefore, I use music to say how I feel and my mind to create what I feel. Furthermore, by constantly writing music, I feel it has opened up my mind to philosophy and spirituality due to the fact that I tell stories from what I observe. From these observations, I have to see every side to a story and unbiasedly express it through song.
What has been the high point of your music path?
Not to be cliche, but everyday is a high point while on my music path. Personally, I do not believe in peaking per se. I think that people should continuously better themselves no matter what occupation or endeavor they are involved in. By constantly pushing the limits in a creatively stimulating manner, that is how one becomes iconic.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
With music and art in general, I create with emotion. What emotion will I evoke from each piece? What story will I tell? How technical should my rhymes be? A lot of people ask me, “How do you write lyrics and how do you make beats?” I never have a concrete answer because music and art naturally come to me. Mike Tyson once said that he does not believe in talent. When I heard that statement, I understood what he was trying to say. To be great, one has to be honed in on their skills through practice, practice, and more practice. One cannot solely rely on talent to attain prosperity, especially when competition is at stake; however, I do believe that some people are naturally inclined to grasp certain “things” in this world as a way to fulfill some type of “calling”, if you will.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
If applicable, I can answer both questions. The biggest challenge indie artists face is getting recognized. Being the owner of independent record label, Boyz II Business Entertainment, indie artists and record labels are competing against a billion dollar industry. In this industry major record labels have and are able to continuously funnel money for their artists through promotion. Using ads, radio stations, billboards, and more indie artists are essentially competing against money.
Apart from this, if I could ask the music industry to change one thing, it would be to offer fair contracts that allow artists to own the majority of their art or split it 50/50. The music industry has a tendency to sell glamour and does it very well. With money advancements and putting specific artists on pedestals to further the glamour image, I feel it is imperative for artists to educate themselves on the business of entertainment and most importantly believe in themselves.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Lauryn Hill. Lauryn’s message and image of love, honesty, fearlessness to be a free-spirited individual, crafty lyricism, mixed with mental toughness, and advanced understanding of philosophy is extremely similar to mine. Lauryn Hill, Sam Cooke, Andre 3000, 2Pac, and many other artists alike, understand/understood the power we have as musicians. With this power, comes freedom of expression. If you are an artist reading this, how will you use your power?
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
When I prepare for a live show, I take into account the audience’s age range. The reason I take age range into account is because it lets me know what songs would be preferred based on the generation of music people grew up on. In addition, to prepare for a live show, I recite my lyrics over and over to ensure I know the words to my songs, as I have built a catalogue of 100 songs at age 19 in 6 years. Personally, body movement does not need to be rehearsed for me, unless specific dance moves are implemented into one of my songs, but once I hit the stage, pure adrenaline and instincts take over. A rush like you have never felt before. A rush that makes you appreciate the journey.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
The one song that was the hardest to write is actually a single that I have not released yet. The song is called, “The Celebrities Ballad”. To clarify, not to contradict myself from question #4, this song was not difficult to write in a sense of what I wanted to say, but how I should say it. Majority of people want to live the rich and famous lifestyle for various different reasons. One may feel as if fame can solve the problem of being lonely. Another person may feel like money erases all problems. Of course, I have my opinions on both subjects like how fame can make you feel even lonelier if you do not establish real connections on your path of success. Being liked by everywhere, but loved by no one is a nightmare. On the other hand, there is a popular saying that goes like this, “more money, more problems”. I would modify this saying by substituting one word that changes this phrase to, “more money, different problems”. If you do not love yourself before fame and wealth, will your feelings change with this recognition or material possession? Ultimately, this is what my song, “The Celebrities Ballad”, is all about. A kid who wonders what life is like with the world in his palm, attains this success, but still feels the same, if not, more trauma and insecurity than when he was struggling. I urge everyone to love yourself before pursuing any endeavors you may have.
What's coming up in the future?
I have a multitude of projects ready for release and to be heard by the public. At the time of this interview, music videos for my third album, Dana Burtin, are being released at a steady rate. In addition to acting and modeling opportunities knocking on my door, I am excited to see how this year and many more years unfold for me in entertainment and my businesses.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
All of LyricalGenes’ official music and social media profiles: https://smarturl.it/lyricalgenes
Dana Burtin is an author, poet, and award-winning musician performing under the moniker "LyricalGenes". At a young age, LyricalGenes (Dana Burtin) was always told that he could be anything in the world that he puts his mind to. He truly believes that statement and used that saying as a reminder to be his own independent person. Growing up, he has experienced many obstacles when it comes to relationships, finding his purpose in life, and emotional hurdles. Music has always been something Dana Burtin could rely on. Whenever he felt a certain way, he would always fall back to music.
Furthermore, Dana Burtin was often seen as an "outsider". Dana felt that he was looked upon as "different" because he was an introvert, at times isolating himself. However, as he grew older, it was always a challenge to express himself to others. Therefore, expressing himself in a talkative manner was difficult for him, so his mother encouraged him to write his emotions in a notebook. This was his introduction to music!
Over a span of about two years of constantly writing in journals, Dana felt what he was writing would relate to other people. At that moment he decided to create something that was long overdue, MUSIC! With practice, Dana Burtin began to put words together like puzzles and express himself in ways he didn't think possible. As he built his confidence through writing, he then pursued another goal, to publish his first song! Dana Burtin immediately went to YouTube to find a beat. As he searched the internet, he found a popular challenge called the SoGoneChallenge. Dana Burtin frantically wrote a rhyme in his notebook and expanded upon the topic to hopefully publish on YouTube. He quickly finished the song in 7 minutes and quickly recorded a video for YouTube. Since then the video has gone on to reach thousands of views.
Dana Burtin currently writes songs and produces beats to create music for all audiences. LyricalGenes created his own record label, Boyz II Business Entertainment, LLC. Now, Dana Burtin is an author for his company Boyz II Business Books and continues to publish music through Boyz II Business Entertainment LLC. Dana Burtin is now pursuing acting, lyricist, and songwriting roles in the industry.