Plug In Stereo may not be a household name, but just you wait. Singer-songwriter Trevor Dahl is prepping for the release of his debut album, 'Nothing to Something,' on April 12, and, with the help of his friends Cady Groves, Never Shout Never and The Ready Set, he's poised to win the hearts of listeners all over.
After developing a fan base by posting EPs and demos online, the 17-year-old was signed to New York-based label Triple Crown Records. The Portland native recently unveiled the video for his first single, 'Oh Darling,' featuring Cady Groves, and is getting ready to jump on the Glamour Kills tour with The Ready Set, Allstar Weekend, the Downtown Fiction.
Here, Trevor talks about everything from his new album to his striking hairdo, which, we think, totally rivals Justin Bieber's signature swoop. Find out what he had to say in our exclusive interview below.
JSYK: Hi, Trevor! So, we know you taught yourself guitar and wrote your first song in sixth grade. How has your songwriting style evolved over the years to what it is now?
Trevor Dahl: In the beginning, I just wrote a lot of poems and stuff like that -- a lot of love songs for girls that I had crushes on in middle school. After a while, I started taking it more seriously, and started thinking about what to write about. I would say I put a lot more thought into it now. I try to make up stories in my head or take experiences from things that I've done, or experiences from loved ones and friends.
JSYK: Fans have been enjoying your demos and covers online for a while now, but your debut album, 'Nothing to Something,' comes out next month. Are you excited to finally get your new music out?
TD: Yeah, I'm so excited. I have EPs and demos from my house that aren't the best recordings. Those are a lot of old songs, too. I didn't put that much thought into them lyrically, because I wasn't taking it as seriously at the time. But yeah, I'm excited for people to finally hear all my new stuff.
JSYK: How did your collaboration with Cady Groves on 'Oh Darling' come about?
TD: Well, I originally wrote the song for my sister to sing it, actually -- I had the idea for a duet -- but when I went to record the album, Cady was recording with the same producer during the same time as I was. The producer, Kevin Gates, had the idea. Cady came in the next day to sing it for me and I really liked it.
JSYK: In your words, how do you describe the concept of the video for 'Oh Darling'?
TD: I think it's a lot different. Most videos are actual videos, but this is stop-motion. It's a good way to show people how I write love songs -- you have the idea, you're thinking about the person -- and it just shows the whole experience. I think it's a cool idea.
JSYK: We hear you wrote a song called 'Together' with Christofer Drew from Never Shout Never. Can you tell us more about it?
TD: He had a chorus idea and a verse part, so he sent over a really rough demo, and I just messed with the structure and changed the chorus a little bit, and added a bridge to it. It was a cool thing to do, because we originally had 10 songs on the album and we thought it would be good to add one more.
JSYK: What separates you from other singer-songwriters?
TD: On my new album, every song is different. Other artists have songs that sound almost the same every time. I feel like I have a lot of elements. I have some folk stuff, some pop stuff and some acoustic stuff on my record. I feel like you're not going to get bored when you listen to it. Hopefully that will make it stand out.
JSYK: You left high school to pursue your music. Do you regret that decision?
TD: I was nervous about it, because at the time, I didn't have a label or anything. And my dad's a teacher, so he was real skeptical about it. For the first year, I didn't do much touring, so I was freaking out, but I think it made me work harder, so I'm definitely glad I did it. I had the opportunity, and I decided to take it when I had it. I think it was a good choice.
JSYK: So, you have crazy awesome hair...
TD: Thank you (laughs).
JSYK: Do you think your hair will become a phenomenon like Justin Bieber's?
TD: I don't know ... I don't want people to like me for my hair! But, I've always had it. It would be weird not to have it. I think it's definitely a trademark that you can't really forget. Someday, I bet I'll just get fed up with it, but not for now.
JSYK: You're going to be on some great bills this year. Who are you most excited to play with?
TD: I'm definitely excited for The Ready Set tour that's coming up. I've talked to Jordan for a long time, and he helped produce my album, so it'll be cool to finally tour with him. After that, there's Bamboozle, which I can't even believe I'm doing. It's crazy with all those names on it, like Lil Wayne and Bruno Mars. It's incredible for me.
Watch Plug In Stereo's new video for 'Oh Darling' below, and get tickets to see Trevor on the Glamour Kills tour and other dates here. 'Nothing to Something' is available for pre-order on iTunes now.
For more music news and updates, follow JSYK's writer @nadinecheung on Twitter.