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Life & Work with Rowan Dowdall

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rowan Dowdall.

Hi Rowan, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Well, I grew up in a very musical family. My mom sings and plays guitar and bass and runs a music summer camp, my uncle produces music for a living, and my grandpa was in a band for a long time, so I always grew up around music. There were always guitars in the house and a piano. Funny enough, I never took to it. I tried violin, guitar, and ukulele and was in fact so uninterested in it that I was kicked out of ukulele and guitar lessons because I was too distracted. Skip forward to about six years after and our close friends and my mom’s music producer died. This is really what sparked me to pick up one of the guitars in my house and play. I had nothing that really piqued my interest at that point, sports were not my thing, and I remember feeling really bored a lot. During this time frame, I was about to graduate from 8th grade and go into high school, and the ending project for my 8th grade English class, you had to give a presentation to the whole school on a topic or person of your choice. I chose to do mine on Freddie Mercury and Queen. During my presentation, there was a part where I played a clip of “We Will Rock You” and the whole school started to sing along to it and I remember thinking “this is what I want to do. I want to feel this feeling all the time.” I knew then that music was it, no question. Over my freshman year of high school, I hyper-focused on learning every instrument possible. I learned a little of everything, bass, guitar, drums, piano, and music production. When COVID-19 hit, I dove way deeper into music production and started to write my own music. The first month of me producing music, I remember almost wanting to quit because of how terrible my music was sounding. Flash forward past my mental breakdown and mid-teen crisis, and I am working on my first song that I feel proud of with the amazing Devin Grae Davis. That song is out now and was just on the radio, and that’s essentially where I am now.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I’d say it’s been a pretty bumpy dirt road if anything for me. I struggle with anxiety, depression, and OCD so every time I’d make something that would seem to be semi good I would trash it and say “it’s not the best”. This cycle would go on with most songs, of just this constant perfectionism. I remember walking around my high school a lot between classes and lunch and just thinking “what am I doing here?” I would see everyone with their friends and laughing and just feel crushed.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I mainly do music. I’m a student at Santa Barbara High School and take some classes at Santa Barbara City College. I’m also starting my own clothing line called Mezzanine Soleil to feature some of my visual art as well! I learned to screen print it all myself, and drew all the designs and learned how to design the website and do product photography for it.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
For me, finding mentors came pretty naturally. I would just send lots of emails to lots of people I thought were really cool and hope for the best. Most didn’t get back to me, but one or two did, and that’s all I needed. I worked with my uncle a lot who produces music, and my mom’s friend who helped teach me music production and instrumentation. Instagram DM’s also are great.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Jen Baron, Rowan Dowdall.

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