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INTERVIEW: Y. Dan Rubinstein

What’s in the works for you right now?

My single “Farewell, Farewell Adieu” just released on July 26. It was premiered by CelebMix and, as of today, has 25k streams on Spotify! I’m very grateful for the way it’s been received and looking forward to releasing my next single on Aug. 30 – the title track to my album, “Stolen Moments.”

How would you classify your music?

My music has a strong emphasis on meaningful lyrics and memorable melodies, with a jazzy-folk-rock vibe. 

Who are some of your top 5 musical influences? 

Leonard Cohen

Sting

Damien Rice

Ed Sheeran

Paul Simon

What do you want fans to take from your music? What is your overall message? 

I want my music to get people to think about their lives and our world – how it is, how it could be, how the decisions we make and don’t make take us down very different paths. These are themes that thread throughout my songs – whether they focus on personal relationships or the broader social/political gestalt.

In love, what are the paths taken and not taken? What could have been? And what happens when we get an opportunity to try again? These are the questions at the core of “Farewell, Farewell Adieu”.

What is the best concert you have been to? 

One that stands out in my mind was the Paul Simon & Sting concert in February 2014 at the SAP Center in San Jose, CA. 

These are both outstanding songwriters and performers whose appeal has had staying power for decades, across generations.  I grew up with their music, and seeing them together on the same stage supporting each other, trading off and performing each other’s songs was a real inspiration. One can only hope and dream to be able to touch so many people for so many years with such moving songs.

What has been the highlight of your career thus far, as an artist? 

The release of “Don’t Break What You Cannot Fix” really energized me – both the positive reviews as well as getting over 10K plays in the first few weeks. It’s a song with a strong political message, but framed as a dialogue between two lovers: One is a narcissist bent on destruction, the other is attracted to the display of strength. But ultimately, when you break what you can not fix, everyone suffers. When I first wrote it, I had no idea that Brexit, climate change treaties, border problems etc would become such big issues and that we would be handling them in ways that are making them worse. So it’s message to “not break what you cannot fix” really resonates currently, but it’s also a timeless universal message.

Is there a song on your soon-to-be-released album that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?  

“Stolen Moments”, the title song for the album.  It was one of the first songs I wrote and examines the joy and pain of first loves. Everything is new and special and magical because like all first experiences there is nothing to compare them to. We open ourselves, and become vulnerable. Do we regret that vulnerability or does it become part of who we are? Knowing how things turned out, should we have stolen those moments, or borrowed them instead? What would we tell our younger selves if we could?

I also collaborated with a Venezuelan artist, Jose Hernandez, to create a music video to accompany the song and he did a truly outstanding job with a very sensual video that captures the sense of desire, loss and regret.

How have you evolved as an artist over the last year? 

I am exploring different rhythmic structures and also learning Flamenco guitar with a teacher based in Spain (over videochat).  Learning new techniques and studying new songs in depth opens your mind up to creative possibilities. I think it’s so important, regardless of your field, whether it’s music, art, science/engineering, medicine or business to never stop learning – it keeps you fresh and inspired.

If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?  

Leonard Cohen. The breadth of his work, both as a poet and a songwriter, is awe inspiring. The Contemporary Art Museum of Montreal featured an exhibit on his life and work and said it best: “Leonard Cohen’s thinking, writing and music are a thing of beauty and despair. […] His interweaving of the sacred and the profane, of mystery and accessibility, is such a compelling combination that it becomes seared into memory”.

It would have been such an honor and privilege to be able to co-write a song with him.

What’s on your favorite Spotify playlist right now? 

It’s a playlist titled, “Mellow Thoughts” and includes songs by Cat Stevens (“The Wind”), Jose Gonzalez (“Heartbeats”), Damien Rice (“9 Crimes”), Leonard Cohen (“Famous Blue Raincoat”), as well as some of my recent releases (“Like Galaxies Colliding” and “Don’t Break What You Cannot Fix”).

What’s next for you, Dan?

I am excited about my upcoming releases planned for the rest of this year – 9 songs in total, leading up to my first album, “Stolen Moments”. I am hoping to touch as many people as possible with my music, to build community and bring positive change to the world through my songs and the questions they ask us to think about and act upon.

How can fans get in touch with you?

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6PjVGRmN2aFEB3zcDomQn6

Website: https://ydanrubinstein.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ydanrubinstein/  (@ydanrubinstein)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/troubadan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/troubadan

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ydanrubinstein?sub_confirmation=1

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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