#ArtistTalk: A Dolphin’s Tale

Silky smooth R&B artist Dolphin takes a moment to sit down and talk to us about what it takes for him to be successful in the music industry.
Dolphin

Brennen Jones: Why the name Dolphin?

Dolphin: Around the time I decided to start pushing my own music, I was running around New York with folks like Ge-ology and in Baltimore with Spankrock and had put in some work with the camps of Jam Master Jay and Teddy Riley. After releasing a few records in Belgium, I found myself in the studio and on the road more and more and I realized I needed a name that would represent the music and define the intentions behind it. While in Atlantic City with the Temptations, I’d asked Melvin why they chose the name the Temptations. He answered point-blank, “We knew that name would define us even when we wanted to just be ourselves. That name would define us even when we didn’t have the strength to. It’s about the legacy.”

I thought about what he’d said and after much prayer and meditation the name Dolphin came to me in a dream. It felt strange at first but as I studied it the name, it started to make sense. As self-taught musicians dolphins flood the sea with harmony seeking to create order and peace. There is a fearlessness about them and they willingly fend off sharks.  They are healers and nurturers and some believe they can read minds. They are as ancient as they are futuristic and beam with energy and elation. They are intelligent and even with all their interaction with man and nature remain a mystery as to what inspires them.

Dolphin’s “Ovni” Music Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea4tovWjsT4

Brennen Jones: That’s one of the most insightful answers ever given to me when I ask someone that question.  (Both Laugh)  So when did you know that you wanted to become a performer? Dolphin: I grew up on the stage.  At around age 9 I started dancing professionally, serving as my own booking agent arranging gigs around town.   My mother would drive me to the venues and after a while I started getting noticed by newspapers and TV.  I even got the chance to perform for the USA Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team.   By 13, my musical interests were expanding and I formed three bands– a power trio that would perform anywhere we could get a gig (namely in nightclubs), a full 10 piece band complete with a horn section for larger gigs like proms and dances, and a rock ensemble that covered a lot of popular music and heavy metal/punk.

BJ: You were a busy young man.

Dolphin: I tried.  (laughs)

BJ: What’s your thought process when crafting out your songs?

Dolphin: I write a lot so it varies.  Songs can be directly inspired by a quote or a film.  Sometimes a person. Sometimes I just have a need to create.  Though I have been called ‘prolific’ I think I am fortunate because writing to me is just fun really. And therapeutic. I guess I’m making my therapy sessions public. One thing that does always seems to inspire me is emotion. What’s beautiful about writing music is that it introduces you to feelings you didn’t know you had. Creating music unlocks that.  Sometimes fully composed songs just fall in my head.  

Often times I can write, produce, play all the instruments, and do all the lead and backing vocals in one night.  For some reason my mind is constantly pulling from a belief system that there is very little time if any time at all – so that being said I try not to sleep or eat as much as possible just to continue creating.  Sometimes I go at it for days. I also write and release under various names depending on the music style which allows me the opportunity to do whatever I want.  

Generally Dolphin covers R&B/Soul/ElectroFunk etc. There is an underground Hip-hop series of international releases under Ocean Aquanaut, in addition to some harder electro rock music I have floating under the name Black Seka.  It depends really, the best part is I can be as free as I like. When I’m producing an artist or guest appearing on someone’s record there is a different approach.  For me it’s never about me on the record as much as it is about getting the best out of the record. You want to make sure that you exist within the borders of the artist’s palate, while at the same time supporting their vision as you bring your talents to the table.  

For example, when invited to play on The Anti Pop Consortium’s last album Flourescent Black, I was a bit apprehensive since they are global electronic underground legends. It was a great experience and it ended up working very well I think because they knew what they wanted and were able to clearly relate that information to me both sonically and lyrically. As a result I opened up the album with  Death Metal speed guitar solo on lead and bass.  Ended up playing on a few records on the album and it worked.  The critics dug it – but it took seeing and feeling their vision to make that happen and for me to believe it.

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