The grand optimist

Nic Dyson releases City and Colour-influenced debut

Dwayne Larson

Winnipeg’s Nic Dyson first picked up a guitar when he was eight. While in high school he was inspired by his friends to start singing, and 2012 saw the release of the Dreaming Under a Broken Tree EP. This past August, the 20-year-old Dyson self-released his debut full-length record, This One’s For You.

“I started making music because of my friends who pushed me to keep writing these songs, playing shows and putting myself out there, especially because these songs are very sad and personal to me,” the University of Winnipeg student says. “It’s a little cheesy, but I’m very grateful because I never thought any of this would happen. These songs are most literally for those people.”

Dyson says he started recording This One’s For You in his basement almost a year ago with his father Dave Dyson, who has previous recording experience.

“I took a look at my songbook, realized I had enough songs for an album and just started planning everything out. In some ways it ended up being a father-son project. We actually finished the mixing and mastering on Father’s Day, which is
pretty awesome.”

Ultimately, he says the record is about growing up and all the emotions that come with it.

“It’s basically about dealing with things you can never prepare for until you just go through it,” he says. “In school, they don’t teach you about heartbreak or getting screwed over. Those are all things that you just deal with as they come. Writing these songs is basically how I dealt with those situations. I wanted to create something positive out of the sadness I was feeling.”

He also spent a lot of time working on the lyric booklet and album layout, which was illustrated by Ally Sigurdson and designed by DJ Cline.

“Before people even listen to the music they tell me it looks awesome,” Dyson says. “That just makes me so happy because I love album art and lyric books and feel like that’s an extraordinarily important part of the entire package. Making sure there was no spelling mistakes and making sure everything was perfect was probably the hardest thing, but it was worth it in the end.”

One of Dyson’s biggest influences is City and Colour, the solo acoustic project founded by singer/guitarist Dallas Green. Dyson will even be paying tribute to Green on Oct. 4 when he performs a set of original material, and a longer set of just City and Colour covers.

“The first song I ever performed was “Day Old Hate” at a Grade 12 talent show. When I started doing shows, covering “The Girl” was one of the first things that really got people’s attention,” he says. “I’m only going to do this once. His music just means so much to me and doing a set of his songs is a self-indulgent thing I’ve always wanted to do.”

Published in Volume 69, Number 4 of The Uniter (September 24, 2014)

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