By Brielle Weber
LEXINGTON PARK, Md. — In a very real way, Dylan Galvin is living his dream of becoming a professional recording artist.
A recent graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Galvin spends much of his time performing and honing his craft. Right now, that means performing at restaurants and other venues in Maryland.
He covers popular songs at his shows and then posts them on YouTube.
Galvin says the best advice he has gotten came from Livingston Taylor, the brother of legendary musician James Taylor.
“Tenacity triumphs talent’ because tenacity helps you go the extra mile,” he says Taylor told him.
Galvin, 25, seems to see himself on the tenacity side of that advice. He says that he learned how to play guitar when he was 14, what he considers a surprisingly late age for a professional musician.
Motivated by his late start, Galvin began to teach himself how to play songs such as “Stairway to Heaven” and “Purple Haze.”
“I would work until I was bored, and then I would move on not really ever learning how to play [a song] — just a crappy version if it,” he admits.
Inspired by his father and his uncle, who were in a band together, Galvin has worked and gotten better at the guitar in a very short amount of time.
”I will only get better from this point now,” he says. “I can only go up from here.”
He said getting past the stage of learning chords and moving into creating his own music has helped him grow as a musician.
This mindset has led Galvin to the creation of music that is a different listening experience.
“I like to think of myself as a storyteller and my songs are stories,” Galvin says.
One song he has written is called “The Lass.” The song is a story about his grandmother. His grandmother was a performing artist from Ireland who had a beautiful voice, he says.
Galvin says she was exploited for money.
“But nothing will ever put out her fire,” Galvin sings in his ode to his grandmother.
When it comes to playing music live, Galvin says that there are “two types of musicians.” He says that one type of musician plays his music and has his eyes closed the whole time, just being into the music that he is playing.
The other type connects with his audience.
During a recent show at an Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar in southern Maryland, Galvin played as if he were the latter. He did not make his audience come to him; he came to his audience.
He constantly made eye contact with his audience and found ways to help them feel like they were a part of the show.
A hobby of Galvin’s is reading about string theory.
“A super nerdy science thing,” he admits.
He explains that he used to read books about string theory “non-stop” when he was in college. He says “the entire universe is made of music; everything has a vibration.”
Galvin says he dreams of singing his stories in front of thousands of people.
“In 10 years, I would like to be touring the world with my band, have a nationwide following, and be on my 10th or 14th album” he says.
“Money is not a dream, but I want my finances covered, like, if I want to go buy a Jet Ski one day, I’d like to be able to go out and buy that Jet Ski,” he adds.
To make this dream a reality, Galvin knows he needs to devote most of his time to promotion. He says that he works very hard, “24 hours, non-stop – just for the smallest return.”
Small returns such as comments on his YouTube videos or messages from fans about how his lyrics have touched them help Galvin stay focused on his music. He says that his job is “exciting” and “challenging” and “exactly” what he wants to do with his life.
“At this point in my life, I couldn’t do anything else,” Galvin says. “Well, I could, but I don’t feel like it.”