Dylan Owen Shows Love to the “Young Skins” of the Music Industry and Beyond

Dylan Owen shows his appreciation for independent artists and dreamers on “Young Skins,” the lead single from his upcoming third EP. With a surprisingly mellow sound, the song displays the frustration that can come from setting high expectations for yourself and dealing with struggles like parents divorcing. There’s a nostalgic air while still focusing on the present and even the coronavirus pandemic (“I should be on tour, but I’m here going through stages”).

“I’m always inspired by what I’m going through at the moment, and ‘Young Skins’ gives a little glimpse into my mind these last few years chasing my music as a true vocation,” Owen tells TREMG. “I run my entire artist operation in a DIY way with my friends as my team: mail my own merchandise, be there for fans when they need me, design sets for livestream rooms and videos, record my own vocals in small attic rooms and bedrooms, the list goes on. Maybe this is different than what I pictured being an artist looking like when I was a teenager dreaming of doing this, but it is even more fulfilling, wonderful, complex, and challenging than I ever could have known.”

Owen also offered an exclusive b-side, “Unfinished Like Your Basement,” to fans who presaved “Young Skins,” describing the struggles of learning how to let go of things. Whether it’s a relationship or memories, everyone has to deal with it at some point, and “Unfinished Like Your Basement” is a beautiful summary of that experience.

“I wanted to release it now because of how I’m feeling right now,” Owen explains. “The last few years of my life I’ve held onto too much, personally and musically, and I want to start letting things go. I want to share more of my ideas more often and not obsess over the perfect timing for things. I always pictured ‘Unfinished Like Your Basement’ going on some kind of live acoustic EP, with some songs recorded in a homey living room with dim lighting and live instruments somewhere or something, but that plan would take a few more years to materialize.”

Photo by Tom Flynn
(c) Tom Flynn

Based in Orange County, New York, Owen started releasing music in 2012, when he dropped his debut EP Keep Your Friends Close. In the years since, he’s accrued millions of Spotify streams, thousands of Instagram and Twitter followers, and explored his unique artistic voice. “Young Skins” is the result of years of hard work and genuine connection with fans, which Owen prioritizes perhaps higher than the music itself. He’s constantly in touch with his supporters, through social media, his own Discord server, and even weekly virtual coffee dates

“Look, my words mean nothing without people to carry them,” Owen admits. “That can be myself adopting my mantras and challenging myself to put these life lessons to play in my own life, or that can be fans anywhere in the world listening — from the farming town of Dietrich, Idaho with a population of 332 to Caitlin in Dublin, Ireland who gives my merch out to her friends, to Miah in Seattle who is the first person who ever got my lyrics tattooed. I don’t care about radio play or breaking Spotify streaming records and I definitely don’t care about being famous. I care about my words helping people through similar things to what I’ve struggled with. If that’s one person or 10,000, then this life has been worth it for me. There is no greater payoff than the bond I have with my fans.”

You can find “Young Skins” on your favorite streaming services now, and link up with Dylan Owen on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Keep reading for more from our Q&A with the future superstar.


“Young Skins” is your first release of this year and your first single since 2020’s “A Time to Move On.” What inspired the song and what does it mean to you?

I’m always inspired by what I’m going through at the moment, and Young Skins gives a little glimpse into my mind these last few years chasing my music as a true vocation. I run my entire artist operation in a DIY way with my friends as my team: mail my own merchandise, be there for fans when they need me, design sets for livestream rooms and videos, record my own vocals in small attic rooms and bedrooms, the list goes on. Maybe this is different than what I pictured being an artist looking like when I was a teenager dreaming of doing this, but it is even more fulfilling, wonderful, complex, and challenging than I ever could have known.

One of the most poignant lyrics on “Young Skins” is “We don’t need to meet our heroes, we become them.” Who were some of those musical heroes for you?

My first hero was probably my older brother, but beyond that, I looked up to underground rappers, wrestlers, and X-Men growing up. As for writers, I especially admired a few early on and still do today: Jay-Z, Bob Dylan, Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, the poet Anis Mojgani, Eyedea from Minnesota, and S.E. Hinton.

“Young Skins” is the lead single on your upcoming third EP. Why did you choose it as the lead single, and is there a certain song on the project you’re most excited for fans to hear?

“Young Skins” contextualizes both where I’m from and where I currently am in my life — I grew up as an artist paving my way in a small town without much of a music scene, or the figurative “nowhere town” I often reference, and lately I’ve been feeling like I’m in my own hypothetical small town outside of the giant music industry. And I love that. It sets the scene for the new music existing within the larger scope of my life. As for it being a single, me and my fans are building our own thing out here. There’s no better statement to lead with than that. I have a special collaboration that I’ve teased for years that I think I may release next, and I’d say I’m most excited for everyone to hear that one.

Fans who presaved “Young Skins” also got to hear an unreleased song “Unfinished Like Your Basement,” which describes growing up and watching those around you change as they get older. What inspired that track, and what made you want to release it alongside “Young Skins”?

“Unfinished Like Your Basement” is unconnected thematically to “Young Skins.” I wanted to release it now because of how I’m feeling right now — the last few years of my life I’ve held onto too much, personally and musically, and I want to start letting things go. I want to share more of my ideas more often and not obsess over the perfect timing for things. I always pictured “Unfinished Like Your Basement” going on some kind of live acoustic EP, with some songs recorded in a homey living room with dim lighting and live instruments somewhere or something, but that plan would take a few more years to materialize. There’s another unreleased song called “Parachute Kid” that is just like this one. I might drop it out of nowhere any day now, too.

Another thing that’s special about your career is your bond with your fans, whether it’s talking on social media or having a coffee together on video chat. What does that connection mean to you?

Look, my words mean nothing without people to carry them. That can be myself adopting my mantras and challenging myself to put these life lessons to play in my own life, or that can be fans anywhere in the world listening — from the farming town of Dietrich, Idaho with a population of 332 to Caitlin in Dublin, Ireland who gives my merch out to her friends, to Miah in Seattle who is the first person who ever got my lyrics tattooed. I don’t care about radio play or breaking Spotify streaming records and I definitely don’t care about being famous. I care about my words helping people through similar things to what I’ve struggled with. If that’s one person or 10,000, then this life has been worth it for me. There is no greater payoff than the bond I have with my fans.

You’re also outspoken about the importance of mental health, dedicating merch drops to the cause and donating proceeds to mental health organizations. Is it hard for you to be that vulnerable with the world?

Hell yeah. However, I do think any vulnerability or discomfort with being open about it is nothing compared to the positive impact it can have. That’s always been why I’m doing this and I want to put it into action. If I can give voice to the thoughts and feelings that other people might experience but not know how to express, well, I’ll never stop standing up for that.

Is there anything else you’d like to mention that the questions didn’t touch on?

Thanks for having me on. I want everyone to know that you can genuinely impact an independent artist’s life by supporting their music — mine, but also any other artist you listen to. By playing our songs on Spotify and adding them to a playlist, by wearing merchandise or hats or wristbands, by spinning somebody’s vinyl…you’re kind of changing our worlds, to be honest.

TREMG news

Madison Murray View All →

Hi! I’m Madison Murray, a pop culture and music writer who also loves writing about lifestyle and fashion. I have credits on sites like TREMG, Young Hollywood, and Audible Addixion, and I’m the founder of Melodic Musings. In addition to writing, I’m a community editor on Genius, lyric curator on Musixmatch, and a playlist curator at VOLUP2. My favorite artists include Taylor Swift, Machine Gun Kelly, BLACKPINK, Elko, phem, and YUNGBLUD. She/her.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: