Interview | Indie Music Monday | Lucien Dante
By Candice Anne Marshall
IMM – Hello Lucien! What an honor to have this interview with you! I myself am new to your music and am thankful to Walter at Indie Music Monday for opening this door to me. Wow! You are a true talent my friend! What were your thoughts when you found out you were being hosted on the front page of Indie Music Monday?
LD – Hello Candice, the honor is mine! I was ecstatic! Like you being new to my music, I was also new to Indie Music Monday and am now grateful and thankful that its door is open to me! I think it is a wonderful platform with a great concept and I’m thrilled to be acknowledged and supported by them! Hello to all the IMM readers out there! <3
IMM – I read that you are from Germany, and even one of your songs ‘Cradle Me Germany’ is a lovely ode to your country. Can you tell us where you are located now, your journey getting there, and about your music journey as well? New readers are always wanting to know these things…
LD – Ha ha, oh my! That is a lovely rumor but I am actually from Evanston, a suburb of Chicago. When I was 16, I went on a six-month foreign exchange trip to Germany. There, love and the country became an inspiration for Cradle Me Germany 🙂 Germany is also where I started to write and produce music and to post it online. Additionally, it is where I began to deeply and consciously invest myself in a more spiritual understanding of life. I recently moved to the LA area to focus on my career and to soak in the sun.
IMM – I saw that you call your fans ‘Lights’ – can you tell us a little about that?
LD – The concept behind ‘Lights’ comes from the meaning of my name, ‘Lucien’ which means ‘light.’ I say they are my ‘Lights’ because I believe it is through someone else’s support, exposure and sharing of you, that you are illuminated to the world beyond yourself! 🙂
IMM – I saw that you wrote a song about the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting called “Beowulf’. Can you tell us how this came about for you?
LD – I wrote Beowulf because I was in a moment in life where much of my interests were focused on things like expectation, child care, child rearing, and personality traits amongst different people. I was fed up with and saddened by the constant news of violence perpetrated by men and boys, and the story of Sandy Hook resonated with me on a very emotive level. It moved me in such a way that allowed me to write Beowulf, which is basically an abstract story of a boy who is dealing with a complex struggle that represents the detrimental ways in which males are raised throughout much of the world.
IMM – Your newest single ‘Brainheart’ is stunning! I watched a documentary on your YouTube channel about the songwriting process for you and I was wondering what that was like for this single. What is the theme behind this song?
LD – I’m glad you think it’s stunning! Thank you 🙂 I wrote Brainheart when I had already decided that I was going to be my own producer. Previous to Brainheart’s release, however, I was working with other producers and co-producers, and because of that, the process of writing Brainheart was different than the ones I described in my YouTube Documentary. I produce my music on Ableton, which is an amazing creative platform for music production. I started off a piano phrase, then wrote a rhythm over it and worked it into a pop song from there! The song was inspired by my relationship with my boyfriend and what I learned and continue to learn from it. Brainheart is about the wholeness of the human being, and how the only way to achieve that humanity is through the utilization of all our core qualities. I believe that we have three main forces as human beings and two of those are the brain and the heart. When both of these organs are utilized in marriage with each other, we experience a sense of spirituality, which is our third core force. I call it the “Brainheart Synthesis” and my single Brainheart is an exclamation of me living that and welcoming and encouraging others to live it as well!
IMM – What do the next 3 -6 months’ look like for you in terms of new music or an album release?
LD – The next 6 months are going to be so exciting! I’m going to be releasing another single and an EP. I’m also working on creating a series of fashion garments for the tour that I am in the beginning stages of planning, as well as some garments for some upcoming interviews and photo shoots!
IMM – Your back catalogue of music goes back to 2014. How do you feel your music has evolved since then?
LD – When I started out writing music in 2010, I was producing and writing everything by myself in Garageband. When my album Our Of We came around, I began to work with producers and co-producers. I have always written my own lyrics (except for two songs later on), but the productions of the songs were either directed or co-produced by me. About a year ago, I decided that I was going to become the sole creator of my music, which is where I am now! I think my music evolution has reflected that progression of work ethic. Brainheart and all my yet to be released music is the most honest and personally satisfying music I have made thus far, and I’m deeply excited and joyful that I can share it with the world.
IMM – I have seen on your Music Facebook page videos of you singing to your fans (lights), a ‘good morning’ or even ‘Happy Valentines Day’ and thought that was pretty fantastic. What has been the best method on social media in terms of reaching out to your fans?
LD – I love singing to my Lights and sharing my little mantras and randoms ha ha. Although most of my Lights are most active on Facebook, I usually post to Facebook from Instagram! I’ve found that sharing photos and videos that are either beautiful or informative is the best way to connect via the internet. I try to be who I am and allow that to shine through in the most effective ways. I often get comments and messages that let me know my Lights really get a sense of who I am, and to be seen and loved in that way is truly a special gift. It certainly gives me the energy I need to succeed and to help others succeed. <3
IMM – I feel that your image has a very ethereal and spiritual-like look. How do you feel about media or fans saying this about you? What are your thoughts on spirituality in general and how it transcends through your music?
LD – This is a very interesting question and one that I’ve never gotten before ha ha! Even though some of the spiritually descriptive comments I get are a little outrageous, it does make me laugh and feel a sense of joy. Although, I don’t religiously reference any spiritual figures in my imagery, I am definitely aware that my aesthetic is angelic in some ways. I think that spirituality and what it does for me is such a huge part of who I am and why I am, and my image is simply an honest representation of that! For me, spiritual engagement means engaging with the wholeness of myself. When one is active in their wholeness, they achieve their present, pure individuality. Brainheart is totally about that! My relationship with my spirituality is always evident in my music, intuitively within the production and more consciously in the lyricism and vocal melodies. Sometimes it inspires my music very literally, like when a melody is composed in such a way that parallels its spiritual or lyrical meaning. Sometimes it inspires me in very subconscious ways as well. In every situation, it’s always very active and real!
IMM – Can you tell us five things that your fans don’t know about you?
LD – I have six full siblings! ‘Dante’ is my middle name, I am half Russian/Jewish and half lots of European ha ha, I trained as a circus artist for seven years until I was in 8th grade, my favorite animals are birds, fish and sheep.
IMM – Was there a moment in your career so far where you felt most proud?
LD – Releasing Brainheart has been my proudest moment! Personally, it symbolizes my growth as a human being and the success and love that I feel within.
IMM – Who is most supportive of your work aside from fans? Is there anyone you would like to give a shout out to?
LD – Apart from my parent’s love, I would have to say my manager and close friend John. He…he is everything! Ha ha. He is truly the most giving, encouraging and supportive person I’ve known. He’s also incredibly good at his job. I love him dearly!
IMM – In terms of live performances, where is a venue that was most memorable to you and why?
LD – Club NOVO formerly known as Club Nokia was definitely a super memorable experience! It was my Our Of We album release party and I was joined by my incredible backup dancers and choreographer. Shout out to Maggie and my Boomboom Lights!
IMM – Have you received radio play?
LD – So far, only internet based radio in the USA.
IMM – Which media platform has been most supportive of your music?
LD – My Lights are most active on Facebook. Instagram is steadily building as well, which I love! If you’re wondering about which music platforms are most supportive, I’d say Spotify and Pandora. Pandora might be in the lead on that one but I’m not sure!
IMM – Are you open to working or collaborating with other Producers or Artists?
LD – Yes, I am very open to that! It just has to be the right producer or artist. Right now, because I just started releasing music that is entirely created by me, I am prioritizing getting music out there that is completely my own. I feel that it is important both personally and interpersonally that I establish myself as a full-fledged artist before anything else!
IMM – You spoke about the songwriting process in your documentary and it was mentioned that you simultaneously write your lyrics along with the instrumentation. Is it like that with all your music?
LD – As a rule of thumb, yes. With electronic production, however, it is becoming more and more natural for me to compose a minimal production, write the song over it, and then flesh it out to completion. Mostly, I produce a draft of the first verse and chorus, then work on some lyrics and melodies, and then continue with the progression of the song in the same way. On my upcoming EP, the songs were and will be written over the course of many varying time frames. Brainheart was originally created around June, 2016 and then revisited and intensely revised come October, November, December and January. Another upcoming song is being written in a completely different way over a much shorter period of time. Although it is not 100% whether or not it will make the final cut for the EP, I’m working on an a cappella song that I write as I sing it. It is very improvisational but also very specific. The process varies widely!
IMM – What does success as a Musician mean to you?
LD – Well, it means a whole lot! Ha ha. It means that I’ve accomplished my purpose and have shared my gifts in an honorable and responsible way.
IMM – What is the most important message you would like to get out to your fans or even the general public in terms of your music?
LD – I would love for people to make sure they know the lyrics of my songs. I hope my songs are seen and felt by others as emblems of self-confidence, love, freedom, self-empowerment and self-consciousness. And last but not least, I hope that people understand my music as a direct, true and honest manifestation of who I am, what I believe in and how I exist.
IMM – Okay, final question: if you had any advice that you would like to give to new Artists in the industry about the industry, what would that be?
LD – Trust your gut instincts, keep the people who love and support you around and get rid of those who do anything otherwise. Allow yourself to create what is honest and genuine for who you are and always make sure you are doing what you love.
IMM – Thank you Lucien!
LD – The pleasure was mine! Thank you Candice!
Lucien Dante’s Social Media (click to view):