Nashville-based producer/singer talks humble beginnings and the accidental origin of his stage name
Dustin Burnett was born with music in his blood. After his time fronting the band The October came to an end, he decided to focus more behind the scenes, writing, producing and mixing for other artists. But in 2015, everything changed. Burnett was working with licensing company Lyric House on a movie trailer project, and when he couldn't find anyone to sing vocals on a track he'd produced, he sang himself under the guise "Zayde Wolf." Fast forward a year and a half, and Burnett's racked up 22k YouTube subscribers and 205k followers on Spotify, all without touring. His music is emotional, and that resonates with fans on a high level. "Brave", a trackÂ about the strength of relationships and having the courage to put you yourself in someone else's shoes, has struck a chord with fans from a mother of a child with Autism to a 14-year-old girl who always wanted to pursue boxing but was intimidated by the gym. 'Being brave means hoping and believing that there is more to life than pain and struggle," Burnett says, and he keeps that mantra alive with his inspiring songs. ARTISTdirect caught up with the producer/singer to talk about the track, his humble beginnings and hopes for the future. Hello - Please introduce yourself.
Hey ARTISTdirect crew. I'm Zayde Wolf from the wonderful land of the new Nashville. Where are you right now?
I'm at the airport in Baltimore on my second leg from Portland, Maine, to home, in Nashville. I was there producing a group called CRUSOE. Currently, I'm hanging at the airport restaurant on a three hour layover! Sitting beside me is a guy who works mission control at NASA in Houston, and across from me, is a French author. Tell us about your new project: Who did you work with? Where was it recorded? What'sÂ it about? Is there candy?
First, there's always candy, and when I say candy, what I really mean is bourbon. The songs are all written and recorded in my personal studio, where the bourbon collection varies by the month. Availability is based on how hard the song is to write. [laughs] About the music'.the next few songs being released have been extremely challenging to finish. Since I do most of the writing, recording, and mixing by myself, I am both Superman and Kryptonite at the same time. These new songs are about that struggle. Learning now to be 'Brave,â€� going through 'The Jungleâ€� of life and how I came up. How do you describe your music to new friends?
Epic, Motivational, Encouraging, Life Driven. It's the record you need to listen to when you have a new goal at the gym, and you need some music to help you! But also give it a listen when you need reminding that life has ebb and flow. I write with that in mind. I want people to feel strength and empowerment to press through the pain and challenges for the glory on the other side of that. Other than Zayde Wolf, what should your hometown be known for?
My hometown is a very small point on the map at the very southern tip of Illinois. It's called Metropolis (yes, just like Superman) and a mere 6000 or so people call it home. It has a once a week newspaper called The Daily Planet, and an annual Superman Festival. Please look around you right now and please describe the first item or person you see that's significant to you (and that your relationship with it/them).Â
I have a picture of my children on my phone. I look at it and feel balanced and centered. What first inspired you to pursue music? If it was a musician or a specific piece of music, please tell us all about why you find it so inspirational...