Artist Select [August 2021] Presents: Dane Amar

Sarah Stukalin

While the music industry dominates pop culture, there is no question that with increased innovation and technology, it is an industry that is ever-changing. Artists must constantly adapt and teach themselves new elements of the industry every day, and the hustle is praised over anything else. Enter Dane Amar: a musical “every-man” hustling to make it big in an industry full of surprises. 

Completely self-taught, Dane Amar began his career at the young age of twelve scrolling through YouTube videos, Reddit threads, and blogs- teaching himself the skills he would need to have a career in music. It was through learning these skills his life completely changed, and he knew one day he would achieve his goal of having a career in music. He even discussed his career as a video editor, and how YouTube helped him learn to edit and create.

“I’ve just always been interested in music, and I’ve always tried to find a way to make stuff. Once I found out that you could just buy a mic and download programs illegally online, and just like, make them work for you, like really expensive programs, my life changed. “

Being able to teach himself valuable music skills has certainly paid off for Amar, as he discussed even recording a song in his car, stating that if you have the right equipment, you can create anywhere. He has a unique creative process: writing down exactly what he feels, and steering away from the process of re-writing lyrics. 

“I’m usually not the type of guy to rewrite. I feel like if that’s what’s meant to be, that’s what’s meant to be.” 

In terms of explicitly writing a song, Amar looks to put his own spin on classic tropes. On his latest single, “Green Tea and Honey,” he asked himself, “What’s the most cliché way I could say this but it’s still kind of player, you know like, kind of smooth?” He stated that anyone can write a cheesy pickup line in a song, but it’s how you turn that line into your own that really counts: it’s how you ultimately display your personality through your lyrics. 

Another aspect that makes Dane Amar so unique is his sound. When I asked him how he would describe his music, he stated that it was the hardest question for him to answer. As more and more emerging artists grow and navigate their way through the music industry, they have come to find that sticking to one cohesive genre is no longer a necessity. While Amar appreciates making pop music, he loves rap and R&B as well and doesn’t feel the need to choose just one in his music. Amar associates his genre with his identity of growing up in California and describes his music as a rap-pop-R&B hybrid. 

“The biggest song that I have right now is a pop song. And I know that and it’s dope and I love making pop, I’m not saying anything bad about it. But, you know, I kind of grew up in California, so like rap is where my heart lies.”

Amar discussed his latest album East Daygo Popstar, saying that while he has some typical poppy love songs, he also has some rap tracks and West Coast R&B style songs as well. And while he is yet to combine these sounds into one track, he knows that it is coming. Amar looks to Drake as one of his greatest inspirations, recalling in 2009 when everyone said Drake’s sound was too soft. Since 2009, Drake has explored a variety of different sounds, and Dane Amar looks to do the same. 

It hasn’t clicked yet, but I know if I keep going in this direction something’s gonna click where I’m gonna be able to combine all these sounds together and finally get to where I want to be. But just got to keep pushing forward.” 

Amar cites social media as one of the ways he has kept his career going, stating that he always tries to stay connected to fans, and to hear their feedback on his music. His fans are one of the driving forces in his career, and they keep him motivated and inspired every day. 

Amar sees potential in his fans as well. Oftentimes they will come to him saying he inspired them to start a music career, and he says that is one of the most fulfilling rewards of his success. He is a firm believer that everyone should start a music career because one good song can change your life. 

Amar has been working to make it in the industry for years and reflected on all that it took to make it to this point, stating that the industry is all about selling yourself and that you yourself are the product. 

“You need to sell yourself. You’re a product, you are everything you need to be. So if you’re trying to be like your own boss, you really need to be your own boss.”

A part of being your own boss is exploring your image as an artist, which Amar has explored through wearing chains and large jewelry. He explained how important it is to look the part and draw people in, but that when you truly make it, an artist’s appearance is not the most important thing. It was an interesting and honest take on the industry: that no matter how hard artists try to “organically” make it, there is an element of a game that has to be played. 

“Moving forward in life it’s not going to be the biggest thing, but to look important is super important right now.”

However, Amar admits that things have not always been easy. Right now he is struggling with his acoustic songs and breaking that barrier. Amar wants to cross genres and looks to break the genre wall in the future. 

Amar wants to make music based on what he is inspired by, and not just what the number one genre is. He wants to blend country and pop, pop and R&B, and R&B and country. He does not want to be confined to one box, making him a unique force. He explained that many people turn down working with him because they’re not looking for a pop artist, but he wants to make it known that pop is not his only sound. 

“Most stuff that I face is just a lot of people turning down wanting to work with me because they’re not looking for a pop artist… Which is cool, that’s cool but that’s not my only sound and that’s kind of what I’m trying to break through right now. And I will break through it. I know I will.”

In terms of his ambitions as a singer and songwriter from here, Amar just wants to get better, and getting better means being exposed to the greats. He discussed his interest in other artists’ creative processes, and how he would love to not even collaborate with an artist like Tyler, The Creator, but just see him at work in the studio. 

Dane Amar is not only a confident and bold artist, but an artist passionate about his craft and his music. While streams and sales are of course a mark of success, the true mark of success is making work you are proud of, and he has certainly achieved this feat. 

You can check out my full interview with Dane Amar here. Make sure to follow him on Instagram and Twitter, and check out his music on Spotify and Apple Music. Lastly, for more Artist Select news, check out last month’s article profiling Aryy. 

Listen to Dane Amar’s latest album “East Daygo Popstar” here!