Rising Musician Dane Hipolito on Chasing His Dreams and Why You Should Too
Finding success as a musician isn’t an easy task, but 24-year-old Dane Hipolito rose to the challenge and now steadily making waves in the music biz. From writing to recording to performing live to constantly being on the go, Dane serenades us with his presence and his music as he continues to craft his sound endlessly. “I write and create many types of music. I like being able to freely express myself as an artist. Music already has enough ‘limitations’ (tempo, key, dynamics, mixing frequencies, etc), and I don’t want to be locked up in a specific genre.”
An artist with a unique taste of music and a captivating style whenever he performs, Dane is kind enough to be with MNL Online News and we are pleased to introduce him today on our exclusive interview!
Below, here’s our long chat with Hipolito. As you will see, he had so many amusing stories to share, but also some great words of wisdom to impart. Anyway, just read the exchange and enjoy reading.
I feel it would be awesome to start this interview by asking you to think of the three very special people that you feel have inspired who you are today.
My mom, my dad and Sir Ron Capinding.
You just launched “DYLT.” You must be over the moon by the reception and probably relieved?
Yes definitely. I am so grateful right now. [Smiles.]
Tell us more about “DYLT.”
The song speaks about betrayal. I decided to use “scary” or “monster-y” themes to I guess signify the monstrosity of… well… cheating on your partner. So, even in the production and arrangement of the entire song, I used sounds that give off an eerie feel.
So it’s me walking down my “hallway of memories”. Imagine Inception x Twilight Zone? [Laughs.] I’m basically just opening up every prison cell to re-visit those memories that all lead to the time when my lover cheated on me. Basically, the memories are in prison cells because they are events/moments that I cannot be part of off or re-live any longer. The reason behind having the prison cells “closed” is to signify the suppressoin of the bad memories. Of course, my emotions and reactions varied depending on which prison cell I was peeking into. We decided to have an actor portray me in the story, to give it a different effect. Also, to somehow cloud in mystery the plot of the entire music video. Towards the end, I go in one of the prison cells which symbolizes “going back to reality”. Then my lover and I sit together and she apologizes to me. It ends there! [Laughs.] We wanted to make it open ended to keep the audience thinking!
When you decided that you were going to play music as your career, what was the force that said, “This is for me”? Was that always on the cards?
I don’t remember having a defining or deciding moment in my life that pushed me to pursue a music career. I mean, I grew up being so deeply in love and obsessed with playing basketball. I was in the varsity team from GS to HS and when I was in college I was in the fencing varsity. So, I guess it’s safe to say that I’m a late bloomer for a serious musician. Although, I’ve been writing songs since I was 12 and producing music since I was 16, it’s just always been on the side or, on and off? Honestly, looking back it feels like it just happened. I just fell in love with music and now I live and breathe it. [Smiles.]
How would you describe yourself as a musician in one sentence?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (It’s not even a sentence). [Laughs.]
Talking about your music, what reasons do you have for playing the type of music that you do?
It’s simple because it’s my way of creatively expressing myself? I find myself most comfortable doing it in this manner and, I guess it’s most efficient this way? My signature sound… I don’t know if I have one? I guess it’s easy to know it’s me because of my voice and my style of singing (alternative rnb)? Also, I don’t like limiting myself with one specific sound. I write and create many types of music. Right now, I’ve been creating a lot of alternative rnb sounds and I guess you can say that it’s alternative sounds with rnb vocals? It might change one day though. That’s what I love about it. [Smiles.]
Who would you cite as your key musical inspiration as an artist and performer?
This is a tough one. Frank Ocean, John Mayer, Jon Bellion, Childish Gambino, Chance The Rapper, Paramore, Chris Brown, The Civil Wars… I mean the list could just go on. But these are my top 8!
Singing or writing? Explain to us how you feel about each
WRITING. I love to sing for sure but, I started as a writer. I never really thought of becoming a singer. I just remember wanting to play the guitar and write songs when I was younger. Until now actually. Making music in the studio, writing songs in the bathroom, these are things that I wanna do all the time. It’s such a beautiful thing, creating music. I get lost in another dimension. Really, it’s like a drug. I feel like if everyone in the world played/created music, no one would really need illegal drugs. [Laughs.] I dunno, it’s just a theory. (I like theories by the way. I love Philosophy and Psychology).
Can you talk about what happens in your head when you compose – the creative process before you write it down or put your hands on the guitar? (And) How does your persona play a role in that process?
Many, many things happen in my head when I compose. Again, it’s like I get lost in another dimension. I really forget what’s happening in “real life”. Once I start, it just keeps going and going until the next thing I know is that I’ve come up with a song or a beat. I become very vulnerable when I write. To me, writing and creating are both supposed to happen freely and naturally. Of course, there are frustrating and challenging moments where I have to force myself to come up with something and squeeze ideas out of me. But, as a whole, the creative process for me is like an overflow of ideas and concepts that I have in this “other dimension”. It’s like swimming in a sea of ideas and sound, and I just grab and put together anything/everything that I possibly could. It’s the best part about being a musician/artist. I’m happy and content to be creating and playing music alone in my room. I don’t expect anything else after that. The “music career” comes after.
What (cover or an original) songs are you working on now? What are your favorites?
I’m working on two tracks right now, “Coriolis Effect” and “Yet”. I think these are songs that my audience might like. [Smiles.] But, we’ll see! I might totally change the arrangements by the time it’s ready for release.
Share us your Top 3 songs that you cannot get enough of these days (and why).
“24K Magic” – Bruno Mars, “Bloom” – The Paper Kites and “No Problem” – Chance The Rapper
“24k” is the funkiest song right now in my opinion, “Bloom” has been my favorite since… 5 years ago? and the bounce of “No Problem” is sooo dope. I love these songs basically.
What kind of music did you hear the most growing up? How does it differ from what you listen to now?
Anything on the radio. [Laughs.] But, I don’t really get to listen much to the radio anymore since I don’t have one at home. I don’t even have TV in my condo. [Laughs.] I listen to different types of music now. I like discovering new artists and bands. It’s such a treat to find new good music! [Smiles.]
How will you describe the level of success coming your way, especially the support from people around you?
I honestly have no answer to that. I have no idea! But the support from people, I’d say that it’s very good. I have the greatest friends and family, they’re all so supportive. My following are also very sweet and supportive! A few important people have talked to me about plans and I just feel so honored and grateful for everything that’s been happening and will be happening. [Smiles.]
What have you learned about yourself lately? Has it been a discovery or a rediscovery process at all?
Many things! I dunno where to start… I feel like this might need another interview. [Laughs.] It’s always a rediscovery in my case? It seems to me that I forget… who I am. That sounds too cheesy, huh! For real though, when I commit to an idea or a goal, it swallows me entirely. When I was in pre-school till 7th grade I was drawing, sketching and painting all the time. I joined and (fortunately won) many art competitions. Then, at some point during 3rd grade.. BALL IS LIFE. [Laughs.] I’ve always been deeply so deeply in love with basketball since then. Reaching my sophomore year in highschool, I got obsessed with dancing and I’d dance in the middle of class in my seat. Just imagine how many times I was reprimanded for that. Finally, out of the blue I decided that music is what I wanna do for the rest of my life and it’s something that’s always been in me, I guess? Sorry, I dunno how else to better phrase that. Basically, If I commit to let’s say being a monk, MAYBE, no one will ever see me again and I’d be living in the mountains for the rest of my life.
What kind of adjustment did you have to go through back then when you were playing your first gig, as compared to doing gigs and shows today.
I was so nervous. I didn’t know what to say. I was thinking too much. I was too afraid to make a mistake.. It was uncomfortable actually. I can’t say that I enjoyed most of it. Or at least, I didn’t know that I wasn’t really enojoying back then. Especially now that when I get on stage my only goal is give myself and the audience a great time! I get all the time I need to prepare, I should be ready when it’s to perform. People, spend time, energy and sometimes money to see me. If I don’t enjoy what I do on stage, they see it and they feel the same way most of the time. I think I owe it to them. At the end of the day, yes they come to see me but, it’s a performance!
What is the greatest thing about working in the music industry? And what would you change if you had the opportunity?
The greatest thing about working in the industry has got be meeting all these artists. I listen to a lot of music and a lot of our local artists. So, meeting them is very special in a particular way! Not that they’re any better than someone who isn’t in the industry. What I’m trying to say is that I find more interest in getting to know them because I’m curious to find out the “person behind the artist”? I also always ask them about how and why they make music. Collaborating with them has got to be the next greatest thing! I’ve collaborated with Clara Benin, Kian Ransom (of The Ransom Collective) and Keiko. I’ve also been talking to Jensen (and the Flips), Reese Lansangan and Manila Magic about future collabs! It’s super exciting! We’re literally making musical babies! [Laughs.]
Can you recall the best advice in this business you actually followed, and one you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have?
“Just keep writing” and “Do what you want!” are the two best pieces of advice that I’ve gotten from people in the industry. “Know what you want!” is something that I believe is quite challenging to follow. Artists are usually very emotion-based when it comes to making decisions. So, you can just imagine how tough it is to decide on what we want sometimes. [Laughs.]
Are there any places or activities that make you feel the most grounded in who you are today?
Putting things in perspective. The people I see everyday. Just have a drive in EDSA and you’ll see many things/people that will make you see the things that you should be thankful for. I mean, waking up in the morning, really. Being healthy. Being able. I don’t think a lot of people understand how lucky they are to be ABLE to do things. There are cancer patients, mentally challenged people and citizens living in poverty, some aren’t even really “living” anymore. That’ why I’m content and happy with being able to create and play music. There are people who will never even own a guitar or be healthy enough to make their vocal chords vibrate. I dunno. We just have to open our eyes and hearts. Rational thinking and a bit of empathy would go a long, loooong way.
So far, what was the most memorable tour/show you’ve ever played (and attended)?
My music video launch I suppose? First of all it’s very memorable ’cause it happened last month. Secondly, it’s my first time performing with my band in a full band set up. Lastly, I was able to introduce my new sound/music to the people.
Any particularly memorably embarrassing and/or hilarious on-stage/show screw-ups that have stuck in your mind?
There’s this one time back in 2011/2012 when I performed in Marikina Sports Complex for this “Event for the Youth”. While I was performing, some teens from the audience went up on stage and started wiping my sweat with their hankys. At first, it was very confusing and I guess “bearable” but… suddenly this guy… licked his hanky… and… wiped it on my face. I was… uhm. I had no idea what to do. The show must go on, I guess? [Laughs.]
By the way, did you ever practice singing in front of a mirror?
I don’t think I’ve ever done that to practice! [Laughs.] I mean I’ve performed in front of the mirror for a short and brief moments but I don’t remember going in front of a mirror for the purpose of seeing myself sing. I like closing my eyes when I practice. I like getting lost in “another dimension”. Although when I have to rehearse for an acting role. Yes, mirror imaging is that way to go. P.S. I don’t have a mirror in my condo. [Laughs.]
What was the last thing that really made you laugh?
Do you sing in the shower? What song/s do you usually sing?
That’s my life. [Laughs.] Anything!! I have my best shows in the shower!
Choose between money, power, love or fame, which one will you go for and why?
LOVE. I don’t think I have to explain why? Shouldn’t we all go for what we love? What makes us feel love? I mean think about. What is love? Attraction. Intense and immense attraction. What holds our entire world together? Attraction. Intense and immense attraction. I know it sounds weird and funny, but come on. It’s the most natural thing in the world. It’s just as natural as gravity. Power, fame and money are all just social constructs and false ideaologies that shouldn’t really matter.
What do you hope people take away from your music and from your shows and performances?
A story I suppose… and hopefully some inspiration! I want to be able to inspire a lot of people. [Smiles.] But, really I just want them to enjoy the music and be happily in the moment! Let it out! Feel the music!
Share with us your proudest moment in your (very promising) career so far and what do you have your eyes set on next?
I guess… not choosing to let go of my dreams. There was a time in 2015 when I almost decided to stop pursuing this career. It wasn’t solely because of my lack in motivation or hope. I just thought that I could move to the states, (finally) live with my family and, live a simple and good life! Thankfully, giving up isn’t the easiest thing for me to do. [Smiles.]
What do you wish people think of when they hear Dane Hipolito?
Creativity and Great Music.
Finally, can you say or write something incredibly witty and interesting?
Just keep it breezy! Relax and enjoy life! Thanks so much MNL Online! [Smiles.]
What do you think of this interview? Let us know in the comments!