Nick Dolan is the guy that makes the magic happen. Those lovely melodies that you heard on your favorite indie pop song, he is probably behind it. Nick is experienced in many genres of music such as Jazz, Classical, Rock, and R&B. He loves his craft creating music, but he is a versatile composer. Not only does he work as an arranger, but Nick also is a songwriter, music editor, copyist, and orchestrator. He’s always looking for new things to try and new tasks to learn to master.
However, all of this musical knowledge did not come overnight. Nick discovered music by the age of 10 when he picked up his first guitar. After participating in high school bands and choirs, Nick found his niche. He studied music at the University of Oregon and after that, he discovered a new passion for film. He eventually left Oregon to study Film Scoring at Berklee Collee of Music. There he was able to study some of the great composers including Richard Davis, Sheldon Mirowitz, and Jack Perricone, just to name a few.
Nick is also the member of the National Society of Leadership and Success Outstanding Musicianship at Berklee College of Music. It is evident that Nick Dolan is a man that takes his work seriously and absolutely loves what he does.
I got a chance to chat with Nick Dolan about his accomplishments as a composer, his potential career as an artist, and what is next for him.
Lawanda Johnson: So Nick, you have an impressive resume. Congrats on all of your accomplishments. Name one thing that you would like to achieve within the next year or two.
Nick Dolan: Thanks, I’m grateful to have had the privilege of working with some great people in my short career. One thing I’m working on right now that I’ve never done before is writing for video games; I have little experience in the field but it seems like a great crossover from writing cinematically for a film.
LJ: Talk about your upbringing and musical influences.
ND: I started playing guitar when I was 10, but even before that I was pretending to write notes on paper, conduct to the radio and had an unusual understanding of how melody works. In high school, I performed on a weekly basis in our school’s guitar ensembles, jazz big band, and later our men’s choir. I was largely influenced by rock legends like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Jimi Hendrix when I was younger, but became influenced by jazz greats and even classical guitarists by the end of high school. It wasn’t until I graduated high school that I realized I wanted to write for film, which made Berklee College of Music a perfect place for me to study. Since my days at Berklee, I’m now influenced by anyone from Prokofiev and John Williams to Sondheim and The Roots.
LJ: You are diverse in all genres. What is your most favorite to produce?
ND: I love music that tells a story, which is why I love writing music for visual media like film, but if a song is powerful enough to evoke an emotion or get people dancing I’m always excited to work on it, whatever genre it may be.
LJ: You are a songwriter. Have you thought about penning for some indie artists? Or pursuing a career as an artist with your choir experience.
ND: I actually do more behind-the-scenes stuff with my songwriting, I may write a song for an artist or take someone’s melody or lyrics and produce the structure and instrumentation for the song. I like working that way, the artists and performers are the ones who will take it to the next level and bring it to life, which is the fun part for me.
LJ: Name one song you wish you would have written and produced. Why?
ND: It’s kind of funny, but I think I would pick the song Mind Shift by the Japanese group World Order. I’m not a huge J-Pop fan, but the song has a lot of elements to it that are interesting, like strings, electronic sounds, and vocal arranging, which would be a fun challenge. Plus, I think the synchronized walking music video is pretty impressive.
LJ: What’s a random fact about you that no one knows?
ND: I have a mild chocolate allergy, which has never stopped me from enjoying it.
LJ: What’s next for you?
ND: I’m currently working with a songwriter to help add some finishing touches to their song, and I’m waiting to receive video for a film noir/comedy TV pilot that I’ll be writing the music for.
LJ: Anything you would like to share with Limerence’s audience.
ND: I always love meeting new people, if anyone is interested in the film/game scoring or music business, I’m happy to answer questions. Just visit my website and send me an email.
For more information about Nick Dolan, check out his website.