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article imageImagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds talks 'Origins,' LoveLoud, success Special

By Markos Papadatos     Dec 4, 2018 in Music
Dan Reynolds, the lead singer and songwriter of the Grammy-winning rock group Imagine Dragons, chatted with Digital Journal about their new studio album "Origins," as well as the LoveLoud Festival, and the impact of technology on the music business.
Regarding the song selection of their new album, Origins, Reynolds said, "The album kind of just selected itself. It was such a tumultuous year, that it wrote itself. It was pretty obvious at the end what it needed to say and how it needed to feel, and what the values were."
While Reynolds admitted that his favorite song on Origins is always a revolving song, at the moment he claimed "West Coast" as his personal favorite tune. "My favorite song changes from day to day since it all depends on what mood I am in. I really enjoy 'West Coast' because it feels so light but also has this juxtaposition with the lyrics where it feels emotional still and not frivolous," he explained. Reynolds shared that he also loves the songs "Real Life" and "Bad Liar."
On recording in the studio vs. performing live, Reynolds said, "I try to keep them as close as I can. In the studio, I try to really bring my emotions to the microphone and I try to really capture how I am feeling so there is life in the records, and people can hear the heartbreak and the happiness in the voice. Then, when I play live, it is pretty easy to channel that. Singing live is a healing and cathartic experience for me since I get to relive important moments in happy and sad times."
"I think it's healthy as an artist, and a necessary part of living, to express yourself. You have to express yourself, otherwise, you feel that you will explode. That has always been the truth for me," Reynolds added.
Each day, the Imagine Dragons front-man acknowledged that he is motivated by his "passion for life for real emotions, real human connections, and learning." "I enjoy waking up every day and feeding my mind and heart with as much knowledge as I possibly can," he said. "Life is this never-ending classroom and there is so much to learn and see and connect with. That's my motivation."
Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragons
Eliot Lee Hazel
A proud moment for Reynolds and his band involved headlining the "World's Most Famous Arena" Madison Square Garden in New York City this past June as part of their 2018 "Evolve World Tour." "I loved it. Madison Square Garden was definitely a moment for us as a band. My parents flew out for it, and my mother could not believe that I was playing there. It was a celebration, where we were all able to sit backstage and say 'wow, we are playing Madison Square Garden. We've really made it. This is incredible.' It was one of my favorite shows," Reynolds said.
He added, "The energy in the room was just magical since so many legends have graced that Madison Square Garden stage, so you feel the presence of so much art, emotion, and passion."
LoveLoud Festival
This summer, his LoveLoud Festival was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, on July 18, for the second year in a row. The festival was a success, especially since it broke attendance records and it raised over one million dollars for the LGBTQ community, in order to spread its message of love and acceptance.
The LoveLoud Festival also benefited such nonprofit organizations as The Trevor Project, Encircle, and the Tegan and Sara Foundation. "It has probably been my most passionate and the important thing that I have been a part of in my life as an artist and as a human being," he said. "It has been so beautiful to see so many people from so many walks of life come together and agree that we need change, especially in the world of Orthodox religion. These children are so at risk, and they need us, and they need everyone to come together and support them and rally behind them and really truly love and accept them."
Reynolds continued, "LoveLoud is a place for everybody to get together and talk about what that really means, and what that looks like and how you can still come from different backgrounds (safe and unsafe), and be a true ally. That has been the goal of LoveLoud and it has been incredible to see how everybody has come together behind it."
When asked to look back in a rearview mirror and reflect over the past decade, Reynolds said, "I see an absolute whirlwind. I see chaotic highs and lows, and peaks and valleys. I've dealt with a lot of depression and a lot of super-happy and explosive moments and love, and then, reigniting love. It was followed by the birth of my girls that I love so much, and seeing this fan-base grow all around the world."
"At the end of the day, I see something incredible and wild, and an untangled jungle of life, love, and passion. I am just so happy and I have zero regrets," he said, effusively.
Reynolds would give the following reassuring advice to his 18-year-old self: "It's going to be okay. Just continue and follow your heart. Don't listen to what anybody has to say and just channel all the love and positivity. Keep your head down, stay humble and do what you love."
Speaking of advice, Reynolds encouraged young and aspiring musicians to not listen to anybody except for their intuition and their artistic drive and their passion. "If you really feel that it's your calling, then pursue it continuously," he said. "You need to dedicate years and years to your craft. Just enjoy the journey of it and the process."
Dream collaboration and alternate career choice
A native of Las Vegas, Reynolds listed Paul Simon as his dream collaboration choice in music. "I love Paul Simon. I listened to a lot of his albums, and I was always inspired by Graceland. "Paul Simon is an incredible lyricist and to work with him would be quite a dream," he said.
If he weren't in the music business, Reynolds noted that he would have been a "homicide detective" as his alternate career choice. "I've always been interested in true crime and understanding the minds of those who commit the crime. I've always wanted to help people out of difficult situations," he said.
Digital transformation of the music industry
On the impact of technology on the music business, Reynolds said, "It is what it is. Things in technology happen whether we want them to or not. Whether or not people want the Internet to happen, it happened. You are not going to stop a train from moving and people will consume their music any way they want. I spend my time and efforts on creating the best music I can, but I can't control how people consume music."
Reynolds admitted that he uses technology regularly in his daily life as a musician. "I use technology like crazy. I love it. I am kind of a geek on keeping up with the new things that come out. I am reading a book, Homo Deus, that is so fascinating to me. It is the sequel to this other book I finished, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, and it just speaks to where we are today, and where we are moving towards, as far as technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and other inevitable things that are coming our way," he elaborated.
The 31-year-old rocker noted that he is not a very nostalgic person, and he is excited about the future and the new technology. He also shared that he records song ideas as Voice Memos on his phone every day. "I always pick up my phone and hum something or I just talk about a lyrical idea, and I am always using my phone," he said.
For the dedicated Imagine Dragons fans, he said, "Thank you so much for all the incredible feedback, and for believing this band and following us over the last decade. There is a lot of heartbreak and a lot of love on this record. It ends in a beautiful place. I hope people can listen to it and feel inspired."
Reynolds defined the word success as "being able to do what you love and supporting yourself doing it." "Then, be honest about it and don't compromise your moral character and don't compromise your art to appease anyone but yourself. If you are able to do that for a living, that's true success," he concluded.
Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragons
Eric Ray Davidson
Origins by Imagine Dragons is available on iTunes and on Spotify.
To learn more about Dan Reynolds and Imagine Dragons, check out their official website.
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