Episode 28 - Dylan Reese: Following Your Heart For One Passion and Switching To Another

Dylan Ellis Reese // Photocredit - @Ryanmcasey 

Dylan Ellis Reese // Photocredit - @Ryanmcasey 

If there is one episode I've been eager to get to, its this one. All the way back to the childhood days of playing basketball, my father used to coach both Dylan & I on the same team. At the time I was putting up shots and projected to become the next Larry Bird (jk). Dylan on the other hand never lost sight of this passion.

He spent most of his childhood and late teens chasing after his love for the game. Towards the end of his junior year at Chicopee High School with me, he was talking about transferring to Holyoke Catholic, a private school nearby which he could thrive and hopefully get a better look for college ball and thats what he did.

By the time he made it to the collegiate level, Regis College, he was faced at a fork in the road. All of his life he had been waiting for this moment & now he had to choose between his love for the game, which he understood wasn't promising in the long-term, or follow his new passion for music which seemed impossible as well. The verdict - he choose the music. 

Over the past couple years he has completely transitioned from an artist who would only spit bars to one of the most versatile artists I think is out there today. You never know what to expect when playing a new Dylan Reese record & I believe that is what has gotten him to get to where he is today as well as allowed him to grow with different artists as well. 

For me this was a longtime coming episode that I had been waiting for. Along his journey with the music, I've been fortunate enough to see the growth and can remember the early days of doing shows with him in our hometown. It's been inspiring to someone go from making music in his basement to being able to travel the country and play it in front of his fans.

In this episode we talk about his childhood, finding a passion at such an early age, his first recorded song ever called "Yao Ming", rebranding to his current stage name, Vanilla EP, living with no regrets, being relentless and not taking "no" for an answer, why he has been completely sober all of his life, people focusing on what they aren't vs what they are and lastly the importance of love. 

Episode takeaway: Recognizing what you "want" in this very moment might not be what you want in the future.

Podcast Outline:

  • Childhood of Dylan Reese

    • Grew up middle class with 2 supportive parents

    • Mom raised him doing puzzles to help have him focus towards one goal

  • Basketball became one of his early passions that he focused on

    • Tried baseball & didn’t care for it

    • Collected sports cards & Pokemon cards

    • Was inspired by athletes like Kobe Bryant & enjoyed going to practice to get better.

  • Sophomore year of high school made “Same girl - R Kelly ft Usher” remix record about Yao Ming as a joke with his friend, TJ White

    • Got hold of a rockband mic & downloaded a program “Audacity” to his computer.

  • Was raised with a wide spectrum of music & researched about different artists to learn more

    • Emulated Big L when he first started because he admired his music as a rapper

  • Recorded his first actual record with Jon Efect

  • Met “Eskay”, episode 4 of the podcast, in high school & began working with him

    • 2009/2010 when Dylan started to recording with structure to his music

  • Sold 100+ tickets for his first show in Northampton, MA opening for hip-hop artist “Hendersin”

    • Opened for Chris Webby, Aer, Schoolboy Q & more

  • Started his basketball career at Regis College

    • Began getting contacted by club promoters & venues to perform which made him pick a choice between basketball or do music

    • Worked all of his life to get to this point & decided to chase the music passion  

      • His coach at the time “I don’t want you to be on the court debating if you should be in the studio instead, follow what you want to do”

  • Being relentless & not taking the answer “no” has allowed him to get to this point

    • Surrounded by a great team of people but at the end of the day… it's on him

    • He wants to be held accountable for the success & failures

  • One of the most important records to date for Dylan

    • “Back in the City” reflecting on his hometown

    • “Burn ft Outasight” reflecting on what he wants/doesn't want when getting out of a relationship at the time

  • Music is therapy & allows him to pour his emotions into a record

  • Rebranding his stage name to Dylan Reese after high school was a setback

    • Took time to get people onboard after the transition of name with a new style of music

  • Beginning of 2016 had 60k plays, Feb 12, 2017 has 1.2 Million

    • Put out a new record out every 10 days to help the growth

  • New EP released March 7, 2017 titled “Vanilla”

    • On a summer day a vanilla ice cream is refreshing & puts you in a good mood. It’s classic/timeless.

    • Wanted to make the same feeling in audio form

  • Completely sober 24 years of his life

    • He’s been able to occupy his mind with the bigger picture which has allowed him to stay constantly focused/working

    • Doesn’t waste time on things that don’t add value

  • If Dylan was to die today, would there be any regrets

    • Communicating how much his family & friends mean to him

    • Doesn’t live with regrets - part of the journey/process of life is learning along the way

  • Aside from the music, he couldn’t live without love

    • Everyone in this world needs love

    • Being grateful for the people around us

  • Picture frame on the wall 10 years from now, what/who do we see?

    • Someone in the same headspace, same outlook & continue to have that through his life

    • Be able to look back/forward with the same gratitude

    • “If you know what you’re capable of & where you’re supposed to fit in… you’ll on focus on that. People focus on what they aren’t vs what they are”

  • Ask Bobbbaaaay 1 Question:

    • What’s something you wish you were better at?

    • Do you think there will ever be a point in time where you’re completely satisfied with what you do, have & $ you make?

  • Where to find Dylan Reese on social media?

    • @DylanReeseMusic everywhere

  • What 2-3 pieces of advice would you give to someone trying to find their passion/purpose?

    • Self Awareness - find who you are & want to be

    • Work hard & work smart - don’t run circles around yourself. Be logical & realistic of what works & what doesn’t. Adapt along the way