Dylan Cunniffe, also known as Dilly on social media, began his career in music after recording his single “Sunday Morning” in his living room using only an iPhone 4 back in 2017. Without any idea of what was to come, the song uploaded to Soundcloud blew up and began the journey he’s currently on.
I sat down with Dylan to see if I could get his insight on what this experience has taught him about the importance of creating and releasing art without the concern of having top tier equipment. What he shared with me can apply to anyone looking to find success in what they are passionate about.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people have been taking notice of your progress in getting your name out there. What’s the biggest tip you’ve been giving to other artists?
“A lot of musicians message me and ask where I record at and how I got my start. What I believe most artists need to hear is that your art should be created for you, but shared with the world so that those who vibe with it can continue listening. There’s a sound for everybody and if you like your music then there’s a good chance other people will too. I previously was hesitant to release the music that I knew I truly wanted to because I wasn’t sure if my friends would like it themselves. This is where most artists go wrong, for hesitation is the biggest killer of dreams. It starts with putting everything into your music with no expectations. Just trust in your sound however it comes as naturally. Being influenced is one thing but pushing to sound like someone else or something that you aren’t won’t bring out your purest and most honest music.”
“Why do artists have more of an advantage with distribution today than 10 years ago? And how do you see people act on it?”
With so many platforms for an artist to share work on today, there really isn’t an excuse for not having music out. What I’ve noticed a lot recently, and especially out here in LA, is that a lot of young artists are steering more towards being independent, or even getting together with people they like and taking a more entrepreneurial approach such as starting their own music groups/labels. The biggest fear that I have as a musician, and I think the majority of artists would agree with me, is to one day find yourself in a spot where you don’t own the rights to your art and all of a sudden are face to face with limitations to what you can or can’t do with your music. I remember the second week that I moved to LA someone asked me if I would be interested in joining their label and I told them no simply because I know that with social media these days and a smart marketing strategy, any artists can get their music heard.
So from what I can see, more and more artists are going to continue distributing their music in whatever ways they can without losing the rights to their music or their energy and passion for the art. As long as you are working with people that you trust and who truly know you outside of the music, everything you should be smooth sailing.
Take advantage of the fact that you can put a song on your own, anytime, for free.
“Is it important for an artist to focus on metrics such as the number of plays a song gets or how many followers they have?”
Yes and no. It’s definitely cool to track growth and progress, however, to focus on it too much and have your followers count be any form of motivation for you means you’ve found yourself in a spot where you aren’t making art for you anymore. Instead, you are doing it to please others. As long as you stay true to your sound and start to develop an audience, it will only continue to grow naturally.
However, if you notice that a particular sound of yours is more attractive to your listeners, and it feels good creating it, then keep giving that a run. Tt’s always fun to experiment and put out songs with that sound just to see how well they perform. Just remember to continue experimenting by stepping out of your comfort zone and releasing something that may sound a bit different. This will bring a new crowd in and grow your followers without you even having to think about it.
Tracking growth is fun and can be very exciting when you start to see consistency but just remember to always be thankful for those who’ve been supporting you up to this current moment, for they’ve been the ones experiencing the gifts you’ve been giving to the world.
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