An Interview With The Alt Singer-Songwriter, Producer and Filmmaker, NICK DEAN!
Posted On 29 Sep 2017
Last month on August 18th, Nomad Group dropped Nick Dean’s new single, “How Did We?,” placing him in a class of contemporaries such as Harry Styles, Niall Horan, and Ed Sheeran. “How Did We?” is available now on all streaming platforms, including Apple Music, SoundCloud and Spotify.
Co-produced and co-written by Nick and longtime collaborator Mike Miller, Nick’s inspiration for the song is simple.
He says, “There’s ironically something memorable about the nights you don’t remember.” The recording’s Top 40 sound supports an infectious pop melody and Sheeran-esque lyrics like, “You’re trying to find a way out of here with me but we’re falling to our knees. If I could only find out what was in-between…”
The release of “How Did We?” presents Nick Dean embracing his tenure with X Factor and Global Entertainment while strongly asserting his new creative vision. That vision was partly molded by his adventures via motorcycles spanning the globe, photography and videography projects that led to vital content contributions to Audi, Away Travel and SubPac marketing campaigns, and recent video work with Ryan Riback’s “One Last Time” lyric video.
Nick Dean is an alternative-pop singer/songwriter/producer and filmmaker. His early years were unconventional—living and traveling abroad, creating music, and having the freedom to exist on a “road less traveled.” When he was 5, Nick’s family abandoned the typical American lifestyle for a simpler one in the South of France. The family settled in the small, rural farming village of Vernègues, where they immersed themselves in the local language and life. During their years abroad, Nick traveled extensively across North Africa, Central America and Asia, where his mother laid the foundation for a humanitarian organization she would later create. Discovering his passion for music early on, Nick capitalized on this wide range of audiences, finding his way onto small stages in local bars in Cuba and Costa Rica. When he was 8 years old, Nick became a lead soloist with a renowned, internationally touring boys choir in France, traveling around Europe and Guadeloupe/Martinique.
Nick’s parents eventually decided to move the family back to the United States, settling in Rochester, N.Y. Having grown up in a cozy, rural school of 100 pupils in Provence, the now 11-year-old, French-speaking boy found it difficult to adjust to public school life. Preferring a freer, foreign life of homeschooling on the road, he jumped at the chance to join his family on a four-month humanitarian journey through Southeast Asia. Back in his comfort zone, Nick taught himself to ride a motorcycle, strapped his guitar to his back, and played for audiences in orphanages, hill tribes, rural schools and bars in northern Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
Upon returning to the U.S., Nick continued to be home-schooled, committing himself fully to music. On weekends, the young teen could be found playing at the local public market. It was in Rochester that Nick met his current collaborator and co-producer, Mike Miller. At the age of 14, Nick auditioned for Season 1 for The X Factor USA, making it to the final 12 of the show. In 2013, Nick moved to Los Angeles, where he continued writing music and began learning the art of production so he could create his own sound. After brief stints in a few developing bands, and as the youngest signed producer/songwriter for Global Entertainment USA at age 18, he found his career going in the wrong direction. He decided to start again, from scratch. To earn money, he worked in the stock room at a clothing store in Santa Monica, where he began connecting with a band of innovative, local content creators. Nick took a page out of their books, widening his radius as a creator through video and photography.
Throughout those years, Nick craved a return to the nomadic life, no doubt born from his unconventional upbringing. He began spending his time exploring new places on his motorcycle, both in the U.S. and overseas, all the while growing as an artist, photographer, and videographer. In a short period of time, Nick found himself shooting content pieces for the likes of Audi, Away Travel, and SubPac. He reconnected with Mike Miller, and the two began working on a new musical sound, all co-written/produced.
Young and ambitious, Dean fell in love with his unique brand of 360 art form. Staying true to his ultimate goal, he began using his talents to launch his own career as a recording artist, funding his project via his work with brands and projects for other artists.
To keep up with Nick Dean on social media, visit:
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
Learn more about Nick Dean in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! How has 2017 been treating you?
Thank you for having me! 2017 has been a wild year so far. Jam packed, full of surprises. I can’t say I foresaw any of what’s happened so far.
Musically, did you approach this year any differently then you did last year?
Yeah, I’ve felt a shift in the way I’ve been approaching it this year. For the past three years I’ve dedicated myself to learning and perfecting my craft as a songwriter/producer. This year, I feel like I’ve approached music in a more relaxed way — which, I feel, made my songwriting process more organic and less forced.
Where does this interview find you today?
I am currently in London.
Is there music playing in the background?
Actually no! Which is rare for me. It’s dead quiet and there’s a clock ticking in the corner. Now that you’ve reminded me, I’m going to throw some music on!
If so, what is it? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood?
Just put on Anderson .Paak, “The Bird.” Great song, love his music. When it comes to getting me out of a bad mood, any music playing tends to distract me from what I’m dwelling on. No matter what it is, it somehow seems to pull me out of it.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician?
Yes, I learned guitar when I was 5 and was the biggest Beatles fan ever. I wanted to be Paul McCartney.
Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I was growing up in France, and the entire town I lived in had this big “talent show.” Like, 400 people came, and I played a Beatles song in front of them. I was 5 and it was my first time on a stage.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown or your nomadic-like upbringing has affected who you are as a musician and the art that you create?
Growing up and moving around so much has for sure affected the way I create. Always moving around, over time, makes you feel like you don’t have a home. Yet, it makes you find an unconditional one wherever you are. I never get “homesick.” I was never in the same house, but I had my family. That upbringing influences the way I create and go about my art in a way where I don’t feel tied down to a specific “corner” in music or art, in general. I am consistently moving, seeking, and growing. It made me less afraid to go places I had never gone before.
What do you think have been the biggest experiences in your life that have really inspired your music career?
My mom runs a humanitarian organization, GoPhilanthropic. I got the chance to go all around Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia for four months to visit all of the organizations, and I would play music for all of them. I was 14, and it changed my life. When I came back to the U.S., I left normal high school and started independent studies. Two weeks after I came home, I auditioned for the X-Factor. Wound up being the rest of my year.
Was it always something you considered doing eventually?
Yes, music was something I always set out to do since I was a kid.
What was the inspiration for your recently released single “How Did We”?
I don’t usually drink, and I had my first night out about a year ago at Halloween where I didn’t remember anything the next day. I had never experienced something like that before, and it bugged me not knowing what happened the night before. I had this huge scrape on my face and no one knew where it was from. It was such a mixture of emotions I hadn’t experienced before and it inspired me.
What was it like working with your longtime collaborator Mike Miller on it?
It feels like home working with Mike. We have such great chemistry when we create. We are both producers, but we somehow have polar opposite ears that seem to work together. We really do complement one another.
Do you hope to release more new music soon and/or a full length album of songs?
We are currently wrapping up a new single and an EP for you guys. More on that soon!
How do you think “How Did We” prepares listeners for more music from you?
It breaks the ice. I didn’t want to throw everyone into the deep end of my music too early. I wanted to release something universally fun to eventually follow up with pieces that allow people to feel like they know me.
With the summer being just about over, what was your favorite part about it?
Traveling and experiencing new things. I’ve been on the road for the past two months, in a new place every day, doing something completely different. Three weeks ago, I was skydiving in California. Then, I was in Vegas, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, New York, Massachusetts, the U.K., France, and Italy. It’s been a crazy few months of adventures.
What was something fun that you did or tried for the first time? Did you get to play out live at all?
I conquered my longtime fear of heights. It all started when I was shooting this lifestyle campaign for Audi and I had to do a 40-ft cliff jump into a waterfall. It then gave me to courage to do more to eliminate my fear. I ended up linking up with Rory Kramer back in LA and he taught me how to do backflips at his cliff-jumping spot. Then, three weeks ago, I sealed the deal skydiving, which was incredible. No shows yet! Coming soon.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today?
It does. It shifts my focus. I feel like it’s really easy to be sucked into the craziness of this world. Even though there is a lot of hatred and violence in the world there is also a lot of beauty and love. Music helps me keep that awareness.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music?
My favorite artists are Anderson .Paak and Kendrick Lamar. Very different genres compared to mine. I can’t say I get my inspiration from other recording artists, though. I learn from them, but I can’t say I aspire to be any of them in particular, or even try and go off of what they’ve done. I get inspired by my own emotions. Most of all, I get inspired by visuals — a movie, a video, or a photo. It’s like inspiration with a blank canvas ready for me to make whatever I want, musically, over it.
What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Anderson .Paak and Coldplay.
What do you hope is the message of your music and what do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I feel like my music is going to be perceived differently for a lot of different people. I hope it makes them forget about what’s bugging them, or moves them to do something that makes them happy in life.
What advice would you give to someone just getting started on this music path?
Let go of fear. Don’t look at the numbers. Don’t look at the odds.