The fact that I have the ability to create something from nothing with my words will never cease to amaze me. One of my writing goals for 2013 is to land at least one interview per month with a person (or people) whose creative work I enjoy or appreciate or am otherwise inspired by. February's second interview is with A Boy And His Kite, also known as Dave Wilton. I met Dave a few years ago, and Dann has done some work with him (if you count flying to Miami, staying in a four-star hotel, and eating hundred dollar meals in exchange for playing a show as "work"). You may remember me writing about his debut album back in November. Dave's songs are beautiful and thoughtful and on more than one occasion have moved me tears. One is so good, in fact, it was chosen for the Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2 Soundtrack. I guess you could say I'm inspired by Dave's music. Hopefully you’ll be inspired too.
It’s not every day a songwriter scores a placement in a major motion picture before ever releasing an album. When that songwriter is Dave Wilton (aka A Boy And His Kite), however, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
As he worked on finishing his debut album last fall, Wilton’s song “Cover Your Tracks” was chosen for the Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2 soundtrack, catapulting him into the company of artists like Green Day, Feist, and St. Vincent.
Although he was planning to use the song as the title track on his record, he had enough other solid tracks to release the record as a self-titled project instead. He knew what the placement was worth.
“The Twilight placement was an opportunity of a lifetime,” Wilton said. “The exposure to an already huge and loyal fan base might be the best upside.”
Wilton has been creating and capturing music since his parents gave him a snare drum when he was in the fifth grade. “That pretty much did it,” he said. “In middle school I decided I wanted to also write songs and play melodies so I learned guitar and started a band. Around the same time I also started experimenting with recording with two old tape cassette recorders. When I was 17 my band recorded an album in a local studio and I fell in love with the recording process.”
As a high school student in Illinois, Wilton met and befriended the members of the band Sleeping at Last. After graduating from Full Sail University, he traveled with the band as a guitar tech. He later declined an audio engineering job with them, instead moving to Colorado to marry his wife, Ally. That wasn’t the end of the road for Wilton touring with Sleeping At Last, though.
“Last May I had the opportunity to travel and play bass and piano with Sleeping At Last (now just Ryan O'neal) on a East Coast tour with Christina Perri,” Wilton said. “It was a great experience traveling and playing with an old friend who has worked hard making wonderful music and witnessing his much deserved success.”
In 2008, Wilton and his family moved to St. Ida’s in Lafayette, CO where Wilton has been producing records and creating his own ever since.
“I was recording projects in my small 2 bedroom apartment and was looking for a space to record,” Wilton said. “The owner of Saint Ida's was looking for a tenant who could utilize the space with the original intent of the building in mind. I explained how I wanted to use the old church as a creative space for gathering the arts and faith community around me to make records and put on shows. He was excited and leased me the space and didn't raise the rent for four years.”
After spending two years helping other artists record their music at St. Ida’s, Wilton decided it was time to start writing for his own record.
“My desire to make my own music has always been there and the dream of making an album was always in my heart,” Wilton said. “In high school I was in a band where I was the main songwriter. If I didn't write songs the band didn't have any songs.
"Unfortunately, all I could write back then was about my relationship struggles or hardships I was facing in my youth. Everything revolved around me and my emotions and experiences. As a young songwriter, I found that to be a very isolated and lonely place. I didn't have the life experience to creatively draw from positive inspirations, so I stopped writing music for a few years and went to college. It wasn't until I decided to help others through recording and music production that I found a healthy rhythm of songwriting and music creation.”
Wilton started writing for his A Boy And His Kite debut album in 2010, did most of the recording at St. Ida’s in May of 2011, and released the album on Nov. 20, 2012. He attributes the decision to go for it to a loving God.
“I felt very compelled and even commissioned to create and sing the songs He's given me,” Wilton said. “It was my joy to create from that place of faith and relationship with both God and my friends and family around me.”
Listening to the 12 tracks on the album, it’s apparent that each was crafted with a specific intention of encouragement, comfort, and sincerity. According to Wilton, “Heartache Is A Cold Place” is the song from the album that means the most to him.
“I wrote it for a family member who struggled with deep depression and was in a barren place void of relationships,” Wilton said. “I’m happy to say that situation has turned around and they are experiencing a life filled with love and healthy relationships.”
And although he’s done it, Wilton knows there’s no formula for writing a hit song.
“I don't always know what will inspire me,” Wilton said. “Sometimes it's a story or a sound or something I'm going through in life. Regardless, when it happens ideas come to life in my heart and brain and eventually make their way out in music. When I'm producing other artists I am always searching for the unique and special things that inspire me in their art.”
As he prepares to head to SXSW next month, Wilton is more ready than ever to share his singing and songwriting gifts with the world.
“I feel content and thankful with where I'm at as a person and artist. I want to always improve my music and voice, but I'm not trying to change it anymore or make excuses to not share it with others.”