Trying to get to the next level? You need someone to help you get there! Duh. What do Spotify playlists and open mic nights have in common? Gatekeepers and Key masters. Let’s go find out where Zuul is.
When I was a kid, my parents asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said, “A blacksmith.”
My dad told me, “That’s dumb.”
I responded, “You want to see dumb?”
And then I got into music…
Biography: “What’s the point of doing this if you don’t break?” He leaned forward, messaging his neck. “What’s the point? Because I want to do this, what other reason is there?” Dean Nelson is a quicksilver Singer/Songwriter from Pheonix, Arizona. His music is played on late night road trips and before first dates. His music ranges from heartfelt lyrics recalling a night in with a soulmate to a stadium filled with screaming fans. Dean’s stream of conscious lyrics has a distinctive tone in storytelling. Much like his voice, he’s trying to convey something with tone. There is an intentional ambiguity to the music. It’s as if the music were religiously honed in, and in the moment of recording, a fresh take was added to give the songs a sense of unbridled interpretation.
Born and raised in Virginia, Dean released his first album Puzzles Vol. 2 in 2013 under the name Winchester with his cousin and longtime collaborator Spencer Jones. They found moderate success before disbanding the group in 2014 to pursue different genres and ends. They have kept their collaborative roots strong, producing and performing on each other’s subsequent albums. In late 2015 Dean revamped Winchester, collaborating writing duties with the lyrical savvy Danien Martin and inserting a new line up, he released the rock dressed Clever Girl. The album was a gateway to festivals and venues across the west coast. Including Kirkland Uncorked, Brewfest and Omaha’s Summerfest, even headlining at NICfest in Casper, WY. The fan-favorite Pom Pom championed Clever Girl; this marks the start of Dean’s spectrum in songwriting.
Before Pom Pom his music featured more conventional formats. Clever Girl added a sense of sensible levity to his craft. Songs like Lucky and Original Sin have a level of affable self-deprecation to them. At the end of 2016 Dean toured through Europe with Spencer Jones and his Group Redhill, the tour had them recording at the legendary Air Studios featured on fabled stages like the Bedford. 2017 brought the album Twist of Blue. The album came at a time of great change in Dean’s personal life. Shortly after the songs were written with partner Danien Martin, he passed away. The songs were laid down with a sense of loss and reverence which can be heard in the tracks. CJ Rudolph, Nick Kader, and Bob Lewis stepped in to fill the holes left by Martin’s passing. Fan’s quickly gravitated towards Songwriter’s Song.
The track Caramel opened a new vein of introspective instrumental music for the songwriter. In 2018 he released four singles. The songs vary from the uptempo, “uptown funk” esque Half-stack to the somber Not This Time, his most autobiographical song to date. Where Dean does not has a defining sound, his strokes are subject and tone are broad, yet engaging. Like catching up with an old friend. One you haven’t seen in years.
Dean has been hard at work in the studio on his next album tentatively named Kiss me first; the album has been co-written and produced by Spencer Jones and Rob Gardner. It is set to release February of 2020. A subsequent tour across the US will follow.