Our meeting with Lucien Dante, artist extraordinaire, made us realize how people follow their dreams, make it their destiny and gain expertise in it. Lucien is an accomplished singer, song writer, skilled pianist, guitarist and a producer. His love for music started early – he created his first song when he was a fifth grader. He is into pop, alternative, R&B, and acoustic genres in music. His natural flair in music, ability to make everything sound unique and creativity to transform music to a whole new level with his voice makes him one of a kind. He believes in pulling inspiration from everything around him and filling life with positivity. Lucien’s discography features many soul searching numbers. His previous releases “Hookup Romance”, “Worldwise” and “Cradle me Germany” are widely popular for the purity of his voice and talent. He is now all set for the release of his LP “Our of We” which features a total of 14 tracks that is sure to captivate his audience. He also has his show “Club Nokia at L.A “planned at Los Angeles on the 7th of July. Lucien is a self-made artist with exceptional attention to detail when it comes to his music. Though, it hasn’t just been music – he has also been a stage actor & seeks to pursue a career in fashion. Lucien believes that his journey to find himself can help others to find theirs as well. Read on to find out more about Lucien and his musical endeavors.
Entertwine: Could you tell us about your musical background? Who or what inspired you to begin writing music in the first place?
I went to a Waldorf school from parent childhood until 10th grade. In case you’re unfamiliar with it, Waldorf school attendees must learn more than one instrument throughout their education there. That, combined with my life at home was very musically oriented, so I suppose my musical background started when I was born, with my father singing his own songs and my older siblings practicing their instruments. I began playing pentatonic flute, then piano and lyre and recorder and violin and eventually electronic music production and guitar. The only instrument I really stuck with intensely is piano, but even with piano I stopped taking lessons when I was eight or so. I began vocal training in 8th grade and continued with various styles and teachers up until last year. Now I’m my own coach!
I wrote my first song when I was in 5th grade but then stopped writing until I was 16, which is when I wrote my first album called First Breath. It was the product of me falling deeply in love and being deeply rejected haha. That love or lack there of, perhaps, was definitely the birth of me as a singer-songwriter-producer. It’s crazy how one event or one person can totally dictate the path your life takes!
What was it like growing up in Chicago, Illinois? What is the music scene of your hometown like? What can you tell us about the time you spent in Germany during your teenage years?
Luckily my parents made sure that my siblings and I had plenty of nature around us while I was growing up in Chicago. Going to a private school, I never really had much contact outside of that small community until I was in my late teens. Much of my experience of growing up was completely around my family and my classmates. In terms of music, it was very hard for me to find people to collaborate with and places to play at, so my first real show was at this bar about an hour and a half away from my house. There were about 15 people in the bar, about half of whom were my family members and the rest of whom just happened to be there haha. My second show was in London at The Regal Rooms pub and my third show was Berlin at a theatre called Wintergarten. I was a guest performer in a variety show. It was super fun and the audience was hundreds of people who intended to come rather than random people who happened to be at a bar! 😀
My time in Germany when I was sixteen was a very informative period in my life. It was the first time I lived away from home for an extended time and it was also the only time I’ve fallen in love, which I mentioned earlier. I was supposed to go to school as it was technically a foreign exchange to learn how to speak German, but I ended up staying home for at least half of the time so I could write music and express all of the overwhelming feelings I was experiencing for the first time. Germany is where it all began!
Could you tell us about a few of the most exciting or interesting live performances that you’ve been a part of?
I’ve only played one show so far that was really about me, which makes my upcoming opening in LA at Club Nokia so exciting and crazy! To make it even more intense, I’ve actually only performed three shows in my entire life haha, and they were all piano and voice. My opening will be my fourth show and the first time I perform my pop music, so it’s really going to be a precious moment in my life that I hope many people join me for! The most exciting performance I’ve done thus far is definitely when I was in Berlin and performed for the Teddy Awards at the Komische Oper. There were thousands of people there and it was also on TV in a few countries. The most interesting performance I’ve had was last October in a small town in Northern France. I shared the stage with a classic pianist and we alternated—she playing Schubert and Beethoven and Handel, and me singing my romantic love ballads with piano. It was titled Contrast. The audience was a cluster of very soft and curious looking French elderly, and at the end of the show, one of the men congratulating me lost his denture mid compliment haha! He didn’t notice as I think his face was falling off on a regular basis at this point. Lovely guy though.
What experiences and events influenced the writing and recording of your debut full-length album “Our Of We”? Could you tell us about each of the featured tracks? Is this your first release under DEG Records?
Great question! My response would be pages if I were to answer it fully, so I’ll respond in a more general way haha. My debut album Our Of We, is a 14 track album with three bonus tracks. It covers so many different subjects and so many different musical styles. I can’t even remember all of the tracks on the album because there are so many! In general I think my subject matter comes from a very intuitive understanding of the world and the ways people conduct themselves within it. Although there are definitely events I can remember that must have influenced certain tracks, I think each track is a product of a lot of emotions and ideas and realizations compacted into a lyrical poem. For example, Beowulf is a very poignant track for me on the album, because although it was inspired by the shooting in Sandy Hook, CT in 2012, it explores a much deeper and broader issue about the destructive ways through which we raise male youth in America. Similarly, Worldwise which was my second single, is a song that is essentially inspired by my general perception of the world and it gives broad tips on how to conduct oneself in what I view as a positive way. If we consider my three singles and my EP Lights, Our Of We is my 5th release under Deg Records. I can’t express how excited I am to share it with the world! 😀
You have over sixty recordings uploaded to your Soundcloud page; could you tell us about some of these other recordings? How does your new album “Our Of We” differ from or expand on the music you’ve previously released?
Again, a really great question I could answer in pages haha. Our Of We differs in many ways from my songs on Soundcloud. In terms of the basics, Our Of We is a “professionally” produced and recorded album that came into existence over the course of a year. My Soundcloud on the other hand, feels like a portfolio of many drafts of songs. Some are live recordings, some are experimental, some are really great, and some are less so. It kind of serves as an audio file of how I’ve grown as a musician over the course of many years. Our Of We is a fully produced, fully realized incredibly diverse family of specific tracks that were all written in about two months. They flow together, sometimes literally. They’re very carefully produced and mixed and ordered and they compile what I feel like is a precious representation of who I am. I feel like Our Of We is still only scratching the surface of what my music will evolve into, but it’s definitely a wonderful beginning of a wonderful career.
What does your writing and recording process look and sound like? What instruments, musical equipment and programs do you use to create and capture recorded music?
My writing process changed a bit for a good portion of Our Of We due to the fact that I worked closely with four producers rather than doing everything completely independently as 90% of my Soundcloud is. With each producer, I had a very different writing experience as well. The thing that never really changed was how long it took to write each song. Since all my songs come from an intuitive place, the lyrics, harmonies and melodies usually manifested within anywhere from two to ten hours. I think I wrote Worldwise in about two or three hours. When a song takes a long time to write, I feel like it becomes less and less truthful the longer it takes. Most of my lyrics are improvisation cleaned up a bit, or not at all. I always cry or laugh when I’m writing a song because the inspiration is very overwhelming and intense and clear when it comes.
Recording Our Of We was a process I will never forget. I was in the studio for about 10 hours a day for two weeks straight, standing and singing haha. There were definitely moments where I felt like the simplest riff was impossible for me to vocalize even though I could do it in a heart beat if I was recording in my room at home. The environment, the sound engineer and meal times all quickly became very defining elements that determined how I would record and sound on any given track. Luckily my sound engineer was extremely intuitive with what I needed so we quickly developed short code lingo to communicate quickly with each other haha. It was dope. The production on Our Of We is a combination of electronic and live instruments. Most tracks blend the two, which makes me think of my sound as fundamentally electro-acoustic.
How have you been able to remain so creative on such a consistent basis over such a long time?
The answer to that is quite simple 😀 I am an extremely sensitive person and I absorb my surroundings like a sponge. If I don’t regurgitate them in some transformative, creative way, I’d grow into a giant! Haha. I never think about the fact that I’m creating so much. It’s just a basic instinct I’ve always been absorbed by.
Do you have any plans to release an official music video?
YES YES and YES! Haha 😀 I plan to release one official music video this Summer and hopefully two. I love acting and directing and as I’m a visual artist as well as a musician, I think making an official music video will be a great way for me to utilize all of my assets. It’s one of the things in my life I look forward to most.
What activities and hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time outside of music?
As I mentioned, I’m a visual artist just as much as I’m a musician. I make sculpture and paintings and drawings and combinations of those. My time is pretty much totally occupied by music or art. I think my only true hobby is making clothes, but I hope that will turn into a fashion brand within the next few years. I also want two Afghan Hounds, which would probably become my hobby as well 😀 Oh, and I like shopping at thrift stores and art stores…unfortunately haha o.O
Tell us about your July 7 record release party at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. Aside from the release and promotion of your debut full-length album, what else does the remainder of 2015 hold in store for Lucien Dante?
My debut at Club Nokia in LA on July 7th is going to be a very important and special moment for me in a lot of ways. It’s the first time I’m going to be performing my pop music. It’s the first time I’ll have backup dancers, awesome lights and my main producer on stage with me. And it’s the first time I’ll get to share my live music with Americans! Haha. Heck, I might even pull a few dance moves myself! I think of my debut as me planting a seed for my future. It’s something I’ve never done before and also something I’ve been dreaming about doing for a long time. I feel very blessed and grateful that my executive producer, John has believed in me so tremendously and deeply throughout this whole process of making the album to preparing for my debut and planning my first music video, and the list goes on. He has done something that only my mom and dad have done, which is believe in me so much that he has really given me the most support and resources that he can possibly offer. He is so kind and generous; he really is an inspiring person to be close to. And he is definitely the kind of person I hope the world starts to reflect in the coming decades.