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FLINT, MI – Dylan Grantham has been churning out heartfelt folk and indie music under the moniker Young Ritual since 2015. Now faced with overcoming challenges as the nation works through the COVID-19 pandemic, Grantham joins other artists as they take over the social media live stream community.
The Flint-based songwriter and singer has stayed busy writing and recording his new stripped-down EP, Spare Room, and is getting ready to stream an upcoming live performance.
“I’ve gotten somewhat decent at the production side of things too just because of necessity, but this kind of came about because I feel pressure right now to be productive,” says Grantham. “Because everybody’s, like, talking about, ‘You can do all these things that you never have the time to do in quarantine.’ Yeah, but what if you’re anxious? That makes it hard to do those things. Putting my time in this project was kind of a way to give myself a sense of routine.”
Young Ritual’s new single, “Dylan’s Dream,” just dropped and is the first of three upcoming tracks releasing on consecutive Mondays. It touches on the uncertainty of the future in a troubling time with lyrics like, “Wars in mentions of the left and right. I don’t own a gun, but I know how to type.”
“So that title is actually a callback to an old Bob Dylan song called, ‘Bob Dylan’s Dream.’ He has a great catalog of songs that are just like old school folk-style verse-heavy and funny, witty, imaginative, and dark. That was my foray into the concept,” says Grantham. “I kind of say that the song is about a fever dream where everybody is not nice to each other. Everybody is on their worst impulse, and it leads to this dystopian society. I don’t know why I got so hung up on it.”
Surprisingly, the song was written nearly four months prior to its release, pre-dating the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it was heavy subject matter, this was an oddly appropriate time to release it to the world.
“I was like, ‘Should I release this because it might freak people out more?’ Do you mention this and allow all of the craziness that’s going on to be a part of the narrative or do you just ignore it?” says Grantham. “It’s so all-encompassing of what we have right now that it’s tone-deaf to ignore it. None of us can ignore it. We’re all staying home, and it’s on TV constantly, and we should have escapes from it, but art is about being honest.”
Grantham was tapped by his friend and Cincinnati-based artist, Darity, to do a joint live stream, combining their fanbase with that of his Flint following. The stream will take place via both artists’ Instagram pages on April 4th at 8 pm EST.
“I think what we’re gonna do is play three or four songs each. It’s a way to connect with people who are sitting at home wanting to connect to art because they can’t right now. The interactive part is what makes it the closest thing.”
Although he’s admitted to feeling pressured into being productive, Grantham knows the positive results of investing in his passions in such a gloomy time.
“Playing music is fun and it’s challenging and it’s rewarding. Just lean into the things that make you feel that way because we all need to do that right now.”
You can listen to “Dylan’s Dream” along with Young Ritual’s upcoming Spare Room EP on BANDCAMP: https://youngritual.bandcamp.com/track/dylans-dream with a new full-band track coming this summer.