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Portrait of an Artist: Dixon ’21 reflects on life in rap

October 25, 2018

Mackey O'Keefe
BOASTING BEATS: Artist and producer Jaden Dixon ’21 creates music inspired by his Bowdoin experience. He hopes to inspire positive change through his art.

Jaden Dixon ’21 is an artist and producer from Davenport, FL. He recently released his first EP, “Moving Forward,” as well as his first music video for the track, “Wait Up.” Jaden’s music is featured on all major streaming platforms. 

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The Bowdoin Orient: How would you describe your music?

Jaden Dixon ’21: It’s very diverse and spontaneous, because that’s how life is, and I do my best to make my music as accurate as I can in terms of what’s going on in my life at a certain time.

Q: Who are some of your favorite artists? 

A: Growing up, the first rap artist that I really liked was Lil Wayne, then it became Drake when Drake and Lil Wayne collaborated. More recently, I’m a fan of XXXTentacion. He also made extremely diverse music, and it was very inspiring to me to see how real and how transparent he was. He did plenty of terrible things in his life that he can’t take back, but I also believe in the good that he created. I’m also inspired by Chance the Rapper, Kanye West, Big Sean, Frank Ocean, Tyler, the Creator and A$AP Rocky.

Q: What is your musical background?

A: I went to [an art-focused] elementary and middle school, and that’s where I found my love of everything artistic in my life. In sixth grade, I started playing classical piano, and then over the years, I started picking up guitar and a little bit of drums. I started using my voice as an instrument my senior year of high school. I went from singing in the shower to auditioning for a musical, and next thing I knew, I was [playing] Troy Bolton from High School Musical for my senior spring musical. That was extremely inspiring for me, because I loved being on stage, and I finally gained some sort of confidence.

Q: What is your creative process like?

A: Usually for me, the creative process starts with a beat, and I think, “How does this beat make me feel? How can I create a chorus?” To me, a chorus is like a thesis, and once you make the chorus, you can write verses based on what the thesis is talking about. And anything becomes an intro, bridge or tag, I’ll just add that later, when I’m feeling out the song. For the EP I just made, I probably came up with 10 beats and then got started with the writing process and everything.

Q: How has Bowdoin influenced your music?

A: Well, “IDK” was the first song I ever created and published, and that whole song was crafted at Bowdoin, and it’s all about Bowdoin. I had just arrived here, and if you listen to the lyrics, you can hear I shouted out the floor that I lived on in my first year. Bowdoin means a lot to me, so I’m glad that could be reflected in that song.

Q: And how does you interest in Government and Legal Studies influence your music?

A: I chose a Government major, because I want to change the world, but I also believe I don’t need to have an official governmental position or anything of that sort to make an impact. So why not bridge together my passion for music and my passion for making the world a better place? And that’s what [the track “Equal”] is to me. It’s less about government in particular and more about wanting to make a positive impact on the world.

Q: What do you think of the music scene at Bowdoin?

A: I think Bowdoin is low-key saturated with very musical people, and I love that. There are talented artists on this campus that I’m excited to see, hear more from and potentially work with. I think the future is bright.

Q: So, what’s next for you? Do you have any upcoming projects?

A: I am currently considering a couple of things. I am absolutely performing [on campus] soon. I’ve already worked on plenty of beats since I’ve been on campus, and I will be releasing more music soon.

Q: Is there anything you want to add?

A: I just want to say, to anyone, that if there’s something that you love, if there’s something that you are not only good at, but you seriously enjoy, then I encourage you to chase it relentlessly, be serious about it, and be serious with yourself about it. Just remember that your world is what you make it.


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