The Muse Revealed
Back when I was in the middle of my four year tour with the Navy, I was stationed in Virginia on an Aircraft Carrier that seemed to always be on deployment. Although there was always work to do out to sea, there was always some downtime where you could do things to relax and take your mind off the fact you were on a ship, in the middle of the ocean, away from family and the comforts of land for anywhere between two weeks to six months at a time. You could play some B-ball (if you weren’t scared of falling on non-skid and scraping up your knees, elbows, etc.), play Spades, pick out a song to murder on Karaoke Night or if you were lucky enough to find an open PC, surf the net. During some of that net surfing downtime I was introduced to Tom and MySpace. It seemed everyone on the ship had a profile but the world outside of the ship hadn’t begun to see the relevance of social networking sites just yet.
Of course that would soon change. I was still a noob to social sites but didn’t see any harm in creating a profile page, adding funny little Flash pictures to it and filling out the pre-requisite info blanks with personal things about myself and my life. At that time I still fostered a dream of landing a music production deal, so another one of the things I did add was my own original music to the embedded player to give anyone who would, a chance to listen and comment on the songs. A month after adding them one of the people that happened to listen and even write me was Tim Dillinger.
He was unknown to me as he may even be to you. Normally I don’t read or respond to messages from anyone I don’t know. To be honest, I don’t even answer the phone when I don’t recognize the number but for some reason, I opened Tim’s message to me. It wasn’t anything fancy or overdone like those lame Add Me As A Friend messages with all the glittery funny pictures that flash incessantly. It was a simple message of encouragement, stating that his life, love of music and beginnings in the Industry reminded him of my story. He did extend a friend invite to me but in a kindred sense, not just to see how many people he could add to his page as most on the site will do for some weird sort of status booster.
I appreciated it greatly. It gave me some much needed encouragement as my song listens were very few though the page views were high and I was beginning to wonder if the music was any good. It also prompted me to add my music to various sites around the net in an effort to be more heard. In the interim, I began to read his MySpace blogs about his music creation process on a regular basis and even did a Google on him. To my surprise, Tim has a vast amount of sites touting in-depth interviews, his performances and his discography to browse. As time went on I finished my four year enlistment but also kept up with Tim through MySpace and continued to read his blog and listen to his music. I also attempted to introduce more people to his sound by adding one of his tracks to a few of the Mix CD’s I would create for others that I knew would appreciate it. The conversation that would take place after they listened would almost always be like this or a variation of it;
Friend:” Hey man, thanks for that CD.”
Square: “No problem fam. Anytime. Were you feeling some of it?”
Friend: “Yea man, I was listening to it on my way to (insert destination here) and I haven’t changed CD’s yet!
Square: Cool, I thought you would jam to most of the tracks.”
Friend: “You know it but I gotta ask you though, WHO is that singing on (insert track # here)!? It really caught me. I must have played it like five times now.”
Square: Oh that’s Tim Dillinger and the name of the song is
“Til The Six Is Nine“.
Square: It’s a nice track right?”
Friend: Yea, I’m really feeling it and (insert spouse or significant others name here) is too. What’s the dude’s name again? I’m going to write it down cause I need more of that!”
Square: “No doubt, well I’m acquainted with Tim so if you need more I can point you to his sites and you can purchase it from there. I unfortunately only have the one song.”
I must have had that conversation numerous times over the past couple years but I don’t tire of having it because I believe that it’s a good reflection on Tim’s contribution to music. His sound and songwriting have been described as Earth, Wind & Fire meets Laura Nyro meets Stevie Wonder all wrapped in an insightful package. I agree but will also inject that his vocal style also reflects some of Donnie‘s material with overtones of Philip Bailey as well. Listen to his rendition of Reasons and you will see and hear what I mean!
As time has progressed these past two years, I eventually eschewed the now overrated MySpace for a Facebook account. After being a profile holder there for a couple of weeks I went back to check on Tim only to find that he had moved on to the greener pastures of an FB account as well. I quickly sent a request and have been in more contact with him now as I was then. One night recently, while making short work of my foes on Mob Wars, (I can’t help it I’m addicted to it now), I happened to notice that Tim had changed his status message saying he was soon to release a new book and a new album single from his upcoming Remixes LP called
“That’s What I Feel” (A Natural Remix)
I don’t know about you but that is mos def giving “Til The Six Is Nine” a run for the money in my book even if it still is my fav. Plus he just released a vid for it to his YouTube channel.
Since I had recently started TSR, I had an idea and left a comment about conducting an interview. Of course Tim graciously excepted and we hammered out the details for me to contact him over the weekend fully expecting our interview to be dry. Not because of his personality as he couldn’t be farther from it. It was stemming from my inexperience at actually conducting an interview. I admit that I have knowledge and experience in many things but asking pointed questions of this nature of someone that does this all the time with those who do it for a living to completely new to me. So I sat on my couch, took a deep breath and dialed his number. After the pre-requisite four rings it went to VM. I left one and two minutes later Tim called back. I answered and from there the conversation began to flow and it was like speaking with an old high school friend that just happened to create music, has two well received albums, another album to soon be released, a book under his belt and is currently in the process permanently moving to New York City. Here is some of how it went down:
Square: “So how is it going man? I know your in the middle of packing for your move to NY so I won’t keep you long.”
Tim: No, your fine man. I needed to take a break from the packing anyway plus I appreciate you wanting to do an interview on me.”
Square: “OK, cool. So exactly how did the plan to move come about?”
Tim: “I took some time and went to NY to visit some friends and something took place spiritually for me. I had several spirits minister to me about moving there. It hadn’t crossed my mind before then. Plus I’ve been through a few things this year so I also made the decision based on my feelings about my music career lately.”
Square: “So the move is lead spiritually and career wise? OK, I can understand that. So with that said, is Nashville just not the place for you anymore?”
Tim: “No, let me back track. I love Nashville. The city, state and the people here have definitely been good to me while I have been here. I’m making this move because of what the spirit said to me and because I have ambitions to be more than a local artist. I started my career in music with most of my recognition and buzz beginning overseas on International Radio. I feel that it’s a new year approaching with a new President and change on the horizon and it’s time for me to progress my music to a larger venue. I appreciate all that Nashville has done for me from the amazing attendance at my performances to the support of any venture I associated myself with. But even with the love and support of those different projects I felt like I was in a box. I really believe I need to be in more of an area where I have a bigger box to play in. The move to New York just feels right.”
Square: “I wasn’t even aware of the “Out The Box with Tim Dillinger” pod cast on MySpace and all the interviews you have done there with artists and writers of today until I read your Press Release. Now I get connection ; you felt like you were in a box and the show is called Out The Box. OK, I follow you more now.”
Tim: “Exactly, that’s the common thread there and the show is going to be coming back soon. We have to get some things in place to make it happen but that’s on my plate when I get to NY.”
Square: “Good and that brings me to another question. With all this going on; from the new book to new music and promotion and even this move, how do you keep yourself sane? What does Tim Dillinger have to do to keep track of it all and not let anything fall through the cracks?”
Tim: “Taking time for me. That is what it has been about this last year. Taking time for me. I still have things to do and accomplish but I’m human and to be honest about it , I really limited my stage performances and my on-line presence this past year to the point where I have been virtually silent. So with the limitations I have put on myself, the attendance at shows has dropped off a good bit. That’s another reason I am completely ready for the move. I’m not saying I have out grown Nashville or the surrounding areas or that I’m not appreciative but realistically, as an indie artist, when you start to get pegged as a local and become comfortable with that your audience can tend to take or leave weather you perform or not. I don’t want my career or life to be that way. So the move is another step towards my goals.”
Square: “So along with your new book you going to be releasing a new album of Remixes correct? Are they going to be songs from just one album or both of your previous releases?”
Tim: “Both albums. There are songs on those albums that still have a lot of life in them. So I gave the the acapellas to a few DJ’s and Producers I know and asked them to do what they do best; create. The production they came back to me with is incredible and was exactly what I was looking for.”
I could keep going here but I won’t continue with more of the interview because after I asked the few questions I did, the conversation became more of a long overdue meeting of the minds and though you weren’t privy to it, you just really had to be there. Tim should add speaking at Music Summits or the like to his list of things to do because in all aspects of our talk Tim as was open, up front and honest as you would hope someone on a Summit panel would be with you about the topic at hand.
The hour we spent in discussion with topics ranging from how the Internet has changed the face of the Industry with downloading (paid and pirated), the election of Obama and how it will influence music from now on was refreshing and enlightening to say the least. Tim and I also talked in depth about his upcoming projects and how he hopes they will affect his listeners and readers. Just this week he officially released his autobiographical (with a twist) book entitled:
a collection of journal entries,
epistles & other prosaic introspections
Tim sent me the link to an advance copy of the manuscript which I read devoured within a two-day span. At first glance I was just merely interested in what he had to say but I was immediately engrossed once I read the first few pages. I expected some long drawn out explanation of why he is the man he has become or something that seemed too far fetched to even be remotely believable. I couldn’t have been further from the truth and quickly got rid of those thoughts. His stream of consciousness approach allows his writing to remain loose but to the point all in one breath. The prose that he has created in this publication is truly insightful. It will draw you in as he recounts his experiences from childhood to now with splashes of poetry, journal entries and musings about his hopes, dreams, other artists and life mentors in between to make it all gel.
One of the passages that embodies this most is when Tim speaks about one of those life mentors that inspired him from a young age to share his gift of song with the world, Reba Rambo. I had never heard of her, her family or their contributions to Gospel music before reading Tim’s experiences but now I mos def have to research, find out and above all listen in an attempt to gain a similar revelation as he describes they had for him. Those are the types of pieces that really hold this book together and give it depth as without them it could easily be just some sort of short story or novel that would get lost on your bookshelf between MS Office for Dummies and M.C. Higgins the Great (and that’s only if you don’t have OCD like I do and alphabetize your bookshelf).
TD also gave me some info about his next musical project. For those who may not have bought and read the book yet or have the pleasure of knowing him personally, Tim’s vocal training and roots began in church and with Gospel music so it’s almost a no-brainer that after the Remixes LP he has a Gospel album in the works.
He told me that he has already written and recorded the majority of it and once a few finishing touches are added it should be released sometime next year. As far as the album’s sound, Tim says that we shouldn’t be surprised to get his own distinct brand of Gospel infused with a blend of Andrae Crouch, The Singing Rambo’s (especially Reba) and a little bit of The Clark Sisters with this recording. He went even further to tell me that the album is his way of bringing closure to some issues in his past that he expounds on in his book, which is why he has titled the future release “Dawning Of A New Day“.
If Tim Dillinger has anything to do with it, it certainly will be.
If you have read any of my past postings, you should be well aware of my affinity to give away anything for Free 99.
Not this though.
I am putting my official “Cause Square Said So” stamp of approval on it so make sure to click Tim’s Lulu Storefront link here.
Wanna reach out to Tim? You can contact him in these ways: