Release Date: October 28, 2022
Genre: Alternative Pop, Pop Rock, Rock
Label: Island Records
The twenty-three-year-old British alternative pop and rock singer-songwriter and guitarist Natasha Woods -better known professionally as Dylan- was born in the small England town of Bures. Starting to write and perform music at the young age of ten, Dylan has been a force to be reckoned with since the moment she began learning to play both guitar and piano by ear. Fast forward to 2019, Dylan signed to AWAL Records and later that year released her first EP, Purple. In 2020, she followed up with her Red EP. Dylan was struggling to find herself on these efforts, and she was just embodying others in the songs. She wasn't being her genuine self, and because of it, she says nothing was really gaining traction from these EPs that she would have hoped they would have. "My project wasn't working, and I'm not afraid to say that. Nothing about my artistic project was going well [Laughs]. I think lockdown gave me the time to really get ahead and catch up," Dylan admits.
During the pandemic lockdowns, Dylan returned to her roots, and that brought everything she needed to the forefront to push her sound where she needed it to go. So she experimented, and earlier this year, she released the second follow-up, No Romeo EP. "Going into lockdown, it kind of changed everything. You were forced to go back to your roots. I spent a lot of time with my dad. He's the dude that had me on the kitchen table with my plywood guitar, singing to AC/DC and Aerosmith. And that kind of happened again in lockdown," she shares. The EP saw Dylan finally find the sound she was longing for, and she started incorporating little amounts of rock elements into her established pop structure. It led to levels of success that elevated her to new heights in her career, and Dylan was recruited to join several shows over the United Kingdom opening for the likes of Bastille, Tate McRae, and Ed Sheeran. Now, Dylan has recently released her second release of 2022, her brand new mixtape, The Greatest Thing I'll Never Learn, via Island Records. The mixtape was a quickly written effort for Dylan, something that wasn't necessarily easy for her on her past EPs. "It was actually quite a quick one for me. All of them but one were written in the first three months of this year. 'Blisters,' which came out with the mixtape was written this time last year, and that was the stamp where I was like, 'Okay, I'm less afraid to go where I want to now.' And that opened up a lot for me," Dylan recalls. The title of her brand new mixtape, The Greatest Thing I'll Never, is derived from something her mom used to tell her a lot and has since stuck with her. "It came from something that my mom would say to me a lot which is, 'the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return,'" she gleefully shares. The lyricism on The Greatest Thing I'll Never Learn features stories of heartbreak and loss, and of course, all taken from Dylan's personal experiences. As well as the overall feelings of dealing with all the various emotions associated with it. "The whole mixtape is about learning, or rather not learning how to deal with feelings and emotions. I had a bit of a shitty year last year. I went through a lot of loss, basically. And that switched my feelings off, and I've been really struggling with, you know, boys, and relationships, and friendships, and the way people can just leave and enter your life whenever they feel like it. I did that in a slightly sort of sarcastic, chaotic, humorous way that still has those hugely deep emotions in there," Dylan confesses. Something that Dylan also hardly struggles with is writer's block. "My answer to this is a bit alternative. I don't think writer's block is not a thing. I think it's just lack of inspiration. If you're someone who writes from the heart and likes to write about experiences you have, that is something that is imperative to my writing. It has to be something that has happened to me, even if it's the smallest thing. And If I feel like I have nothing to write about, I just go out and 'cause absolute chaos. I go out and look for trouble," Dylan reveals. Pulling from personal experiences as always something that has always given her inspiration in her songwriting. For example, "Girl Of Your Dreams" -the mixtape's lead single- is about wanting someone who doesn't want you back. It was written shortly after Dylan went on a date that didn't go well. Which mainly occurred because she had eyes on someone who had zero interest in her. "Nothing Lasts Forever" is a tune that tackles how badly Dylan handles her feelings and the way people can walk in and out of your life as they please. "Blisters," tells a story of someone wearing you down so slowly that you don't recognize how much pain you're in. The penultimate track, "The Greatest Thing," is another with quite the sombre lyrics. This is the track Dylan shares how some of her previous relationships have filled her with doubt. The mixtape's final track, "Home Is Where The Heart Is," is one of the most personal on the entire project and was one of the songs she was most hesitant to put out into the world. "'Home Is Where The Heart Is,' which is the last one, that one really was super, super personal to me. That's coming from different points in my heart, that song coming together. I was really, really nervous to have something that was more stripped back and something that was way more raw, in fear of it making me look weak. But I think, it's weirdly given me a bit more confidence in being able to have stuff a little bit stripped back and more personal," Dylan admits.
Sonically, The Greatest Thing I'll Never Learn is a powerhouse across the board. It showcases Dylan's maturity as a songwriter. Finally embodying the rock side of her to its fullest extent, the eight tracks see Dylan pull from her pop roots and execute that side of her with components from various rock genres. The mixtape opening, "Girl Of Your Dreams," is a full-blown pop-rock anthem. It's got the pop flare Dylan has established herself on, with these light notes of heavier drum production and heavy use of guitars. "Nothing Last Forever" has this almost throwback style to it. Dylan's breathy vocals shine over top the track's bass guitar-driven instrumental. The song also showcases Dylan's synthpop roots at the forefront. Tracks like "Blue" and "Blisters" epitomize the style of Olivia Rodrigo with her own take on it. While the song "The Greatest Thing" gives off strong Catfish and the Bottlemen vibes, with a stellar-sounding synth line that hits at the end of the track's choruses. The closing track, "Home Is Where The Heart Is," is a completely stripped-down acoustic tune, and showcases Dylan's powerful vocals with a minimalist instrumental, that doesn't let her voice feel contained in any way.
Behind the scenes of The Greatest Thing I'll Never Learn, a lot of collaboration occurred in the writing and recording of the mixtape. Collaborators in both writing and production came from the likes of Jake Gosling (Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga), King Ed (Baby Queen, Years & Years, beaux), Martin Sjølie (Sigrid, Maria Mena and Dotan), and Henrik Michelsen (Little Mix, Jess Glynne). In the future, Dylan has a few producers and artists she'd love to get to work with in the studio, and those two names are Max Martin -known for so many massive pop hits over the last few decades- and the frontman of Coldplay Chris Martin. "Chris Martin because after sort of slightly coming out of my classic rock phase at 16, I became horrifically obsessed with Coldplay. To the point where I managed to find a connection with someone who knew Guy Berryman -the bassist- and I put together a CD of my Garage Band demos with a big long letter," Dylan remembers.
Dylan just came off a completely sold-out, nine-date solo tour of the United Kingdom. She'll tour the UK once again -as well as a string of European dates- throughout February 2023, which dates are already selling out -so get your tickets now! In May of 2023, Dylan will fly across the globe and touch down in America on the first seven dates of Ed Sheeran's +-=÷× Tour [pronounced The Mathematics Tour], where she will also be joined by Khalid. "I feel like it's going to be a real great thing. I'm going to win some people over, and then I can hopefully come back a lot... If you guys will have me," she laughs.
Be sure to stream Dylan's The Greatest Thing I'll Never Learn now on your preferred music streaming service and purchase tickets to her forthcoming tours here.
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