DYLYN

Story

“Rock’n’roll is not the easy way, but it’s a freeing way, and it’s the way I want to live my life,” says Dylyn. Talking about her unique career path, the Toronto artist says, “There is truth in where you started, and then you veer off the road and come back to it and then really find it. That’s cultivating your sound the hard way.”

Born Gwendolyn Lewis, Dylyn was once a minor pop star with top 10 dance hits on U.S. Billboard charts. She has a show-stopper of a voice, killer good looks, and had tracks produced by the likes of Cirkut (The Weeknd, Britney Spears)—everything you’d need for pop success. But she wasn’t happy as a dubstep diva—and not just because no one could spell her stage name, Guinevere. She eventually ditched her on-stage dancers and hired a live drummer, so she was free to roam the stage and rock out as she pleased. When she wasn’t touring with former teen idols or playing 4 a.m. electro parties in Germany, she’d be at home listening to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Blondie and the like.

One day before a photo shoot, her manager said, ‘Why don’t you just wear a band shirt? That’s all you wear every day anyway.’ Taking his advice, she started wearing her influences on her sleeve quite literally, with Black Sabbath and Queens of the Stone Age shirts taking centre stage. She picked up her guitar again. Guinevere was gone. Dylyn was in. It felt like a new direction.

Except it wasn’t a new direction. It was her original direction, growing up in a Chinese-British Canadian family in a northern suburb of Toronto, listening to her father’s record collection from the ’70s. In school she acted, played hockey, and listened to a steady diet of rock music made at least a decade before she was born. When she was 17, she started a rock band, which recorded an EP with Mike Turner of Our Lady Peace. But her bandmates clearly weren’t lifers like she was: they weren’t thrilled about cramming into a van and dodging moose en route to Thunder Bay to play for four people. Unsurprisingly, the band broke up and Gwendolyn Lewis took an easier path as Guinevere. In 2018, however, she realized that the things you love are worth fighting for, and she resurfaced with a live band and a new sound. “Now I’m writing the stuff that makes the most sense to me, the most real, the most true,” she says.

Though she rarely listens to modern music, Dylyn is not going down a retro path: this is not a Greta Van Fleet situation, far from it. She’s a 21st-century performer who sounds very much of her time, and is not trying to be anyone else. Aesthetics aside, her songwriting has been the through line through her entire career. “A song is a song,” says Dylyn. “If you can strip it down to guitar and have someone singing along by the second chorus, then you’ve got yourself a song. The format of my songwriting hasn’t changed, just the production.”

Dylyn debuted with the 2018 EP Sauvignon and a Kimono, which featured three singles, including ‘Secret.’ Written in 20 minutes, it’s an autobiographical account of a child witnessing her parents’ divorce. Released with very little marketing, it suddenly took off six months after release—neither Dylyn nor her management team know specifically why, but it’s now up to 100 million streams and has spawned dozens of fan videos in the anime community, particularly Gacha Life, where a Dylyn avatar has been created. “Secret” had a particular resonance for this community. “When these kids were starting to write me, I realized that they like darker music,” she says. “It seems the game is an escape. A lot of them feel like outcasts who are bullied at school. Kids feel helpless because they can’t fix the adults’ situation,” she says, “and maybe that’s why we connect. It’s tough to play that song live sometimes because I have to relive my own experience. But truth-seeking is very important to me now.”

That debut EP turned out to be a transition point. Her newer material took shape when she met L.A.-based Toronto producer Colin Munroe (Kendrick Lamar, Lights), who encouraged her new rock direction. “After that I had more confidence,” she says. “I was more clear about doing my own thing.” Ryan Guldemond of Vancouver hitmakers Mother Mother became another key collaborator. “After working with Ryan, I thought, ‘This is it. This is finally the stuff I’ve been wanting to write. The 18-year-old me has returned.’ I hadn’t felt that excited in a long time.” Perhaps not coincidentally, the first song they wrote together is called “Find Myself.”

“Everyone says just be yourself,” says Dylyn. “It’s the hardest thing to do. A lot of artists are natural pleasers. I struggled with that for a long time: making sure everyone in the room was okay and happy at the cost of my art and my truth. This is the first time where it’s more about the art and less about what other people think, going back to what I enjoyed doing about this in the first place. That’s why I couldn’t sleep after those sessions with Ryan.”

Tracks from both those sessions will be unveiled throughout 2020, culminating in a 2021 EP Make It Naked. The emotionally raw and slinky “Something to Lose” was released in April. Dylyn says it was “born from a romance that eventually bloomed into a relationship. At the time, my heart was healing so it was a safe, trusting space where love could flourish. You are capable of love, even if you feel damaged and broken.” In June 2020, Dylyn dropped the fiery riff-heavy rocker “Call Me What You Want,” which is “animalistic and loud in spirit,” she says, “about being wild, embracing your freedom—with no regard of other opinions or judgments. Turn a song up to eleven, let the wind hit your hair, and scream it at the top of your lungs.”

Each single sounds more monstrous than the last, unleashing a talent that’s only beginning to realize her true potential. Dylyn has finally found herself. The rest of the world is about to find her as well.

Photos

Media

Press

05-17-2018

Check out DYLYN’s chat with Guitar Girl Magazine!

04-06-2018

Girl Gang Music add DYLYN’s “American Nightmare” to their HAVE YOU HEARD… Spotify playlist!

04-06-2018

Read DYLYN’s essay on her love for music over at The Vinyl District!

03-19-2018

Listen to Discover’s #FridayFinds Spotify playlist features Frankiie, The Crowleys, Kira May, Dom Fricot, Ellevator, DYLYN, Nuela Charles, Deanna Petcoff!

03-17-2018

Lemonade Magazine share ‘Sauvignon and a Kimono,’ DYLYN’s debut EP. Stream it now over at the site!

03-16-2018

Canadian Beats delivers a very kind review of ‘Sauvignon and a Kimono,’ the new album from DYLYN!

03-14-2018

Spotify Canada adds new tracks from Young Galaxy, Ty Senoj & DYLYN on #NewMusicFriday!

03-14-2018

Check out this great interview and feature with DYLYN over at Popdust!

03-13-2018

The GATE say that “Wolf” ‘smoulders with DYLYN’s smoky vocals, and the beat is a cross between the rock hits of the 80s, and pure, electric synth-pop.’

03-09-2018

Ones To Watch showcase DYLYN and her latest track “Wolf” on their New Artist Discovery feature!

02-06-2018

Silverstein, NO LIARS, Scenic Route to Alaska, and DYLYN are all featured in Halifax Bloggers’ Friday Night Soundtrack!

02-04-2018

DYLYN’s ‘Wolf’ is on I Heart Moosiq, listen to the 80s inspired track now!

02-03-2018

B-Sides & Badlands shares new single ‘Wolf’ by DYLYN!

01-26-2018

Oblivious Pop is highlighting DYLYN’s new single ‘Wolf’ today!

01-26-2018

DYLYN is up on Popmuzik with new track entitled ‘Wolf’. Listen now!

01-26-2018

She Does The City spends 15 Minutes with the amazing DYLYN!

01-26-2018

RED MUSIC adds DYLYN’s new single ‘Wolf’ to their awesome Spotify playlist!

01-26-2018

DYLYN featured at Wonky Sensitive with ‘Wolf’ single!

01-26-2018

idobi Radio’s Inbox Jukebox features HILL & DYLYN this week!

01-20-2018

DYLYN getting some love over on The Daily Listening with song called ‘Wolf’.

01-20-2018

New DYLYN is featured on Indie Shuffle. Check out ‘Wolf’ now!

01-20-2018

Clash Magazine premieres DYLYN’s new single ‘Wolf’. Listen to the alt-pop track now!

06-23-2017

New DYLYN single ‘American Nightmare’ up on PaigeBackstage’s Summer Playlist.

06-18-2017

New DYLYN single ‘American Nightmare’ up on Wolf in a suit!

06-12-2017

The new DYLYN track seems to be everyone. KMS music blog let’s you know why!

06-08-2017

Going Solo features the new single from DYLYN!

06-08-2017

The new DYLYN single in pretty great company at FRINGE MUSIC FIX!

06-08-2017

New DYLYN single ‘American Nightmare’ is up on Ride the Tempo!

06-08-2017

New DYLYN single appears on Popmuzik’s Spotify playlist!

06-08-2017

The new DYLYN single ‘American Nightmare’ is up on Indie Shuffle!

06-02-2017

The new DYLYN single ‘American Nightmare’ premiered at The Line of Best Fit today!

05-03-2017

Galore profiles DYLYN and her new single ‘Secret’.

04-07-2017

Different Kitchen dives into DYLYN’s new single!

04-07-2017

The new DYLYN single up on GroundSounds!

04-07-2017

DYLYN has a new single out. Listen to ‘Secret’ at FAMEmagazine!

04-07-2017

Indie Shuffle showing the new DYLYN single some love.

04-07-2017

New DYLYN single is out now. Find out all the details at Ultimate Music

04-07-2017

DYLYN up on The Line Of Best Fit again

04-07-2017

DYLYN has a new single. Hear it at Wonky Sensitive!

04-07-2017

The Daily Listening wants you to check out the new DYLYN single!

03-31-2017

Popdust premieres the new DYLYN single ‘Secret’ today + in depth interview about her new direction.

02-28-2017

New music from CHANCES, DYLYN, VACAY, Morgan Cameron Ross, Mad Ones, and Calcedon on Music For Lunch!

02-27-2017

New DYLYN single part of a pretty awesome roundup of new music at The Von Pip Musical Express!

02-27-2017

New DYLYN single featured on Indiemono’s new Electro Indie Party Spotify playlist!

02-27-2017

New DYLYN single ‘Mimosa’ on Going Solo’s new roundup!

02-27-2017

Listen to the new DYLYN single at I Heart Moosiq!

02-27-2017

New DYLYN track in good company in IX Daily’s THEFIX!

02-27-2017

GrungeCake reviews the new DYLYN single ‘Mimosa’.

02-21-2017

Listen to the new DYLYN single at ColoRising!

02-21-2017

The Line Of Best Fit features the new single from DYLYN!

02-21-2017

Disco Naïveté has a great new Spotify playlist featuring DYLYN!

02-21-2017

Hear the new DYLYN single ‘Mimosa’ at Wonky Sensitive!

02-19-2017

Hear the debut from DYLYN at Girl Underground Music!

02-19-2017

“…pulsating pop thumper embracing Diplo styled production, a punk edge, and DYLYN’s sultry vocals.” DYLYN up on Indie Shuffle!

02-19-2017

The debut DYLYN single leads off Kick Kick Snare’s new Spotify playlist!

02-19-2017

New DYLYN single ‘MIMOSA’ was featured on Ultimate Music!

02-19-2017

The new DYLYN single ‘Mimosa’ premiered at NYLON today!