Rhyme Report

Published on September 16th, 2021 | by Marilyn Reles


Dylan Owen Is Building Grassroots Momentum with “Young Skins”

Self-proclaimed nowhere kid from a nowhere town, Dylan Owen, is back to deliver a song of encouragement for independent artists and creatives everywhere. Sometimes, people are so busy chasing after the destination that they don’t embrace an open-ended journey in life — and “Young Skins” reminds fans to appreciate the process of making art and figuring yourself out at your own pace. Having maintained an incredibly successful career independent of record labels, Dylan reflects on the road bumps he has worked through and the platform that he has built as a beloved Hip Hop artist with a tight knit community of fans. Named after Colin Barrett’s short story collection of the same name (Young Skins, winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award), Dylan first posted his song as a poem on social media which the author then re-shared to his followers with praise. The characters in the book Young Skins inhabit a small rural town in Ireland run by the youth, and Dylan related to these stories, having grown up in a small town in upstate NY.

Art by: Victoria Paya

“We’re just old souls in young skins, We wait our whole lives to be something / And when our time comes we won’t run then, We don’t need to meet our heroes we become them” – Young Skins

As we grow older, our heroes become humanized. We realize that the people that we idolized or modeled our careers after are not us. “Young Skins” brilliantly puts the ball in the court of up-and-coming creatives to become their own heroes by remaining true to themselves despite the pressure of time. Ultimately, this leads people to where they were always meant to go. Staying true to his confessional, heart-on-sleeve storytelling in “Young Skins”, Dylan delivers poetic lyricism over simplified synths and subtle horns. Remaining vulnerable, he observes that all young people are just old souls struggling to stay present, because they are so focused on the future. Taking an off-the-grid approach to making music and building a grassroots fan base, Dylan doesn’t follow the standard industry model but rather follows the beat of his own drum. He offers listeners a certain amount of depth and wisdom that tends to lack in today’s saturated digital era. Dylan delivers a unique break from the norm by impressively pairing poetry with engaging narratives about real life experiences as well as an inner dialogue that many don’t realize they even have.

“Young Skins is for anybody who’s ever dreamed of becoming the people in the posters on their bedroom walls. We don’t need to meet our heroes. We become them. Let these be my words of encouragement to every independent artist out there.” – Dylan Owen

Out of the sleepy small towns of Orange County, NY Dylan has become a beacon of light for tens of thousands of ardent listeners who come from towns such as these and beyond; who turn to his songs of introspection, wonder and struggle as a soundtrack to their lives as well as a kind of navigation device. His vulnerable, poetic songwriting, influenced by the nature and open roads of his youth, has generated comparisons in the press to alternative icons like Conor Oberst and Elliott Smith. Dylan has shared stages with Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, Logic, Watsky, Yelawolf, and Skizzy Mars; his fans have streamed his songs more than 13MM times on Spotify and his music has been praised and featured by Revolt TV, PepsiCo, WWE Smackdown, MTV, For Folk’s Sake, and most recently, Paste Magazine. What sustains Dylan is his ongoing quest to carve out meaning from his journey for himself and others, and to give it away so that it might empower his listeners, who prove to him time and time again that there is more to life.

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