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Art & Life with Drew Dolan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Drew Dolan.

Drew, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I have always had a connection with music, but it wasn’t until around the age of 27 that I decided to pursue playing music professionally. After losing my three closest friends over the span of a couple years (two I lost to Death, 1 I lost to Life), I got rid of almost all of my possessions, loaded my truck with what I would keep, and started driving North. I didn’t know where I was going or how long I’d be gone for, I just couldn’t stay wherever I was.

For the next three years, my dog and I were Travelers. We went from town to town, city to city, and everywhere in between. Tens of thousands of miles we traveled. Life consisted of meeting people, going on adventures and playing music. Sometimes it was glorious, sometimes it was the opposite. I’ve eaten crumbs with the bums and I’ve dined with kings and queens in mansions with millionaire’s views. I got bit in the neck and almost killed by a dog deep in the mountains, blades pulled on me more than once, rained on, snowed on, I’ve been hungry, gifted with infinite kindness from friends and strangers alike, felt down-trodden, I’ve laughed at the majesty of it all with the best of companions, drank straight from the stream, I’ve been chased out by the man, welcomed, hated, loved, questioned, admired, inspired, felt desperate and everything in between – pretty much everything that could make you feel human and alive.

I didn’t play music for almost a year due to the fact that it reminded me of everybody and everything that I’d never see again. One night, I came down from the mountain and my road-dog told me he found me a keyboard and signed me up for an open mic. I played it. And it made me happy. Later on back at the campsite, they showed me the video they took of me playing and for the first time, I could see on my face the joy I knew I felt inside when I played. That was the moment I realized that music is my purpose.

I began to busk in the towns that I cruised through and got gigs at clubs and bars by connecting with passersby. Los Angeles eventually called to me, so I cruised down in my ’96 Ford Aerostar that I got for $600 off an old hippie. I immediately connected with this city and have since planted roots. Since coming here four years ago, I have settled down, fallen in love, played some of the best rooms in this city, heard my music on the radio and am unbelievably excited about what the future holds.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am a believer in Joseph Campbell’s philosophy that we are all here to “follow [our] bliss.” It is through my own personal bliss state – the writing and performing of original music – that my offering is made. My songs, though not always happy songs, are true stories and can hopefully resonate with the listener. Happy or sad, we are not alone in our experience. Playing music is also just really fun…

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
We have to work hard, work smart and we have to gain inspiration from everything.

From everything I have heard, life for “artists” is generally a difficult one, Everybody has their challenges and obstacles in their life, I honestly do not put too much time or stock in thinking about how difficult things are anymore. I am fully invested in the journey, not solely focused on the destination. I think this takes some of the pressure and comparing and excuses and the thinking-about-how-difficult-it-is out of the equation. Once you find what you want to do, I don’t think it really matters how difficult it is anymore. You just do it.

We are all here to Create. That’s what playing of any kind is – Creating. When we are Creating, we are present – just like when we were kids. As we grow older, our imaginations often bring us visions of what could go wrong tomorrow, or we repeat the tales of what we thought went wrong yesterday. We can simultaneously get lost and found in a free space of Now when we invest in playing. This takes the difficult nature of anything out of the equation. It doesn’t happen every time and it can’t happen all the time, but whenever it does happen, it’s beautiful.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My music is available everywhere. Join and Follow my journey on Instagram and Facebook. Thank you for any and all support!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Joshua Shultz; Patrick Maguire; Kate Murch

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