Fans of Dawson Rutledge should be happy that the British Columbia native didn’t want to take wood shop in high school. If he did, the 20-year-old probably would have come up with some pretty cool cabinets, desks and chairs, but there wouldn’t be the collection of tunes that comprise his full-length debut album, Monsters.
And it’s all because as a junior in high school, he opted for a recording class with Evan Bueckert. It was in that class that Rutledge found what so few do at that age — a direction.
“That definitely was the spark,” said the Cranbrook native, who is premiering his latest video, ‘Same Old News.’ “I didn’t really have a direction of where I wanted to go. I had planned to go to community college right out of high school just to see what that was like, but for the last two years of my high school career I found a spark for writing music and playing songs and recording them. So that’s where I started to realize that I was really in love with music and wanted to pursue it.”
It’s a reminder of how funny life can be. Think about it. Rutledge doesn’t take that class and he might be just another college student wondering what the next step is. Now he got an album with plenty of buzz around it and a career. And he couldn’t be happier.
“It’s been really cool,” he said. “When the first two songs came out I got a bit of press and was added into regular rotation on my local radio station, so that’s really cool. I had been really anxious to put it out because I want people to listen, and it’s definitely more an exciting feeling than anything.”
And luckily for him, his parents didn’t balk at the idea of a musician in the family. In fact, they’ve been on board since the start.
“Normally if you hear about a kid who wants to go into music, their parents are a bit wary of wanting their kids to be a musician,” he laughs. “But my parents are super supportive and, honestly, without them all this stuff probably would not have happened. They definitely pushed me and allowed me to follow my dreams, which is, I’m sure, what every parent wants for their kid.”
But what if this talent never got realized? I hate to go back to the same theme, but it bears repeating because it is such a twist of fate that got him to this point. He knows it too.
“I think about that all the time, just the way things unfolded, and one thing led to another, and I’ve been really fortunate and really lucky with the people I’ve met and the opportunities I’ve been given,” Rutledge said. “It’s been really cool to reflect on how much has gone on in the last two years coming out of graduation.”
So what’s next? The road of course.
“I’m ready to go on the road and do something different,” said Rutledge, whose songs and eagerness for this journey have a purity that’s refreshing to see.
“I never really thought of it being a job or a business; it’s been a way of self-expression, and I’m writing stuff that I feel like I’m going to enjoy playing or I think other people might enjoy listening to. So I guess I haven’t really been around long enough to be jaded by the fact that it’s tough to get out there. I write songs in hopes that people will listen and like it. I don’t really write songs in the hopes that I’m gonna make millions of dollars.”
He may just get it, though. Maybe not next week or next year, but he’s got the chops that make you feel that he’s someone sticking around for a while. So thanks, Mr. Bueckert. But Dawson, what grade did you get in the class?
“I definitely got an A,” he laughs. “He (Bueckert) was really nice. If you wrote a song and recorded it and put it out, you got an A. It was a great course, but it wasn’t too difficult.”
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