Dylan Bell

Dylan Bell

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN
BandJazzSinger/Songwriter

In a word... multifaceted. Piano, bass and voice, performing any style from jazz to pop to classical and wolrd musics. Juno-nominated producer/engineer; innovative, lyric-driven songwriter, winner of multiple international awards.

Biography

In a word... eclectic. I always wanted to do everything musical, and I'm still trying!

I studied piano, violin and 'cello as a kid, and according to my Mom, started singing in public when I was three. Things turned in a different direction when I first heard Miles Davis' Kind of Blue at age 16: I sold my 'cello for a Fostex 4-track, took up the electric bass, learned to play mediocre guitar and drums, and started playing and singing jazz.

These days, I'm all over the place. For four years, I sang with the Juno-nominated vocal band Cadence. With whatever time is left over I sing with the a cappella all 80s-top-40 group Retrocity (you haven't lived till you've heard "one night in Bangkok" a cappella), and the vocal quartet Hampton Four. I also moonlight as a pianist and bassist, having played with artists from classical violin virtuoso Lara St. John, to subbing in occasionally with my wife Suba's band autorickshaw, even a gig with legendary Canadian rockers Honeymoon Suite. Rock on!

I also work as a producer/engineer, and received a 2006 Juno co-nomination (with mixmeister Adam Messinger) for Engineer of the Year, for the Cadence album Twenty For One.

I'm writing more now as well. I've won a couple of awards for my writing, and just finished co-writing some music for the Canadian channel CTV. Check me out at www.myspace.com/dylanthemusician.

Lyrics

Don't Fix What's Broken

Written By: Dylan Bell

DON'T FIX WHAT'S BROKEN
Copyright Dylan Bell, July 2004

She always said I was a work in progress
A diamond in the rough
She said a lot of stuff
about opening my eyes, showing me the world
Even though I never like to venture far from home

But what's so bad about Even-Steven?
Steady and reliable
Easily deniable habits and rituals
Ground into the bone
And I guess that's why I am alone

"Don't Fix What's Broken" I said to her
"I just don't care.
Don't Fix What's Broken: what will I do
If you're not there?
'Cause if you ever go, I'll never know
How to put myself together again."

She said to me "Why don't you gamble, gamble?"
But how can you just give your soul and never count the cost?
She said "You gotta put your cards on the table."
But don't you understand that nothing ventured, nothing lost?
I've heard enough about self-improvement.
Pardon me, I think I'm doing fine all on my own.
She said "You better loosen up those heartstrings
Or you're gonna wake up all alone."

"Don't Fix What's Broken", I said to her
"I just don't care.
Don't Fix What's Broken: what will I do
If you're not there?
'Cause if you ever go, I'll never know
How to put myself together again...."

She said "Jump into the water"
But I don't like to swim
She'll never understand my reasons why

She'll get tired of my games someday,
Eventually she'll walk away,
And all I can do is wave goodbye....

I never said I was a genius, genius
Never said I didn't have a thing or two to learn
But old dogs, new tricks
matches and a house of sticks
Sounds a little like a recipe for getting burned!
So don't go talkin' 'bout changes, changes
I've becom accustomed to my fear of the unknown
Well baby, here's your hat but what's your hurry
And why'd you have to leave me all alone?

"Don't Fix What's Broken", I said to her
"It's just not fair.
Don't Fix What's Broken: what will I do
Now you're not there?
"Don't Fix What's Broken", I said to her
"It's just no fun.
Don't Fix What's Broken: now it's too late,
I've come undone."

Why did you have to go? Now I'll never know
How to put myself together again

Blues On Sunday

Written By: Dylan Bell

Blues on Sunday
D. Bell; arr. D. Bell

Sun is shining on a hoped-up afternoon
You put a pen to paper, gonna write yourself a tune
But no idea’s gonna show her face today
So put it all away

All I ever wanted was a day of no regret
Still searching but she just ain’t found me yet
Why keep running just to watch yourself stand still?
I never saw the thrill

You never really thought I cared for anything
I never said that I had nothing to hide
You said “you gotta grab that brass ring
You gotta dig the up- and down-swing”
But I don’t think I could weather the ride

Just a little colour for a life in shades of grey
Just a little passion; got to keep them blues at bay
Why can’t I give you all the joy that you deserve
I haven’t got the nerve

Clouds are moving in and the afternoon is gone
Miss Procrastination sings her tempting siren song
Spinning my wheels, never movin’
Self-fulfilling prophesies proving once again
That I’m going nowhere
So it ever was and so it ever shall be…

What’s the use of building castles in the sea?
Never really made much sense to me
Don’t spend your soul on me today
I’d squander it away

I never thought that I’d get lost in the rain again
I never had the sense to wonder why
I never had the blues on Sunday
I never really thought that one day
You’d be the one who’s saying good-bye

Dona Nobis Pacem

Written By: Dylan Bell

Dona nobis pacem
Dona gratiam et humilitatem

translation:

Give us peace
Give us grace and humility

Little Things

Written By: Dylan Bell

Little Things
Copyright 2009 Dylan Bell, SOCAN/BMI

It’s 3 o’clock, and time for tea:
A door into my history.
Something I can’t understand:
A letter in her aging hand.
She said “You’ve got his spidery writing
And the wrinkle in your brow, that’s his too.
I never knew until today
How much of him remains in you.
Oh Lord, how I miss him
When my lonely day is through.

“I’m always glad when you stop by”,
A tear behind her tired eye.
“You know you always did him proud:
Can you read this letter, once, out loud?”
It said “I never showed you Paris,
But I built a little house for you.
I wasn’t always perfect,
But I did the best that I could do.
And you always kept me laughing
When my working day was through.

“’Cause it’s all in the little things
It’s always in the little things
They can keep you close or take you far
They can plant a kiss, or leave a scar
But either way
They make us into who we are.”

It’s 3 o’clock, and time for tea
And memory washes over me
I won’t be coming ‘round no more:
Time has finally closed that door
I won’t be coming ‘round no more…

It’s beautiful: a summer day:
Time to give the girl away.
Something borrowed, something more:
The wedding dress that she once wore.
I said “You’ve got her pixie figure,
And the colour in your cheeks, that’s hers too.
I never knew until today
How much of her remains in you.
And I know she’ll be smiling
When this perfect day is through.”

Cause it’s all in the little things
It’s always in the little things
They can keep you close, or take you far
They can plant a kiss, or leave a scar
But either way
They make us into who we are.

Wings To Fly

Written By: Dylan Bell

Wings To Fly
Copyright 2006 Dylan Bell SOCAN/BMI

Standing on the threshold, feeling scared
Uncertain, unrehearsed, and unprepared
The play has started, but I’ve lost my lines
The journey has begun but I can’t read the signs
It’s time now: I have to say goodbye
Don’t ask me: don’t know the reasons why
But it’s time to fly

They say you can’t move forward standing still
The tell me all it takes is strength of will
But maybe they’re just words that people say
And tomorrow’s dreams will be eclipsed by yesterday
Go on now: I know that’s a lie
I hope so: at least I have to try
To learn to fly

Take a look around you
All you find are open doors
And who knows what is on the other side?
And though it may confound you
No-one tells you which is yours
But half the fun is trying:
Half the fun is flying…

I’ve never been a fan of long goodbyes
So let me be concise, and summarize:
The time we’ve had together, hold it dear
And though I won’t be with you, know my heart’s still here
I’m gone now: a glimmer in the sky
And someday, you’ll know the reason why:
You gave me wings to fly

Keep It Simple, Sunshine

Written By: Dylan Bell


K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple, Sunshine)
Copyright 2009 Dylan Bell, SOCAN/BMI

You say you’re moving too fast
Don’t know how to slow it down
How long can you keep flying
Before you crash into the ground?

Forever spinning
You’re sinking while you’re swimming
I see an angel face that’s lined with worry
Forever racing
Don’t know what you’re chasing
So stop and tell me baby, what’s your hurry?

Keep it simple, Sunshine
Time to give your heart a place to land
Keep it simple, Sunshine
And you can hold forever in your hand

Do you remember sleepy mornings
Nowhere to go, no-one to be
Now I look into the mirror:
Is that shadow really me?
Forever running
Horizon never coming
And everything you seek is slipping further away
So take a good look around you
Take a breath, and follow through
It comes back double if you just start living for today

Keep it simple, Sunshine
Try to make the morning last all day
Keep it simple, Sunshine
Be careful you don’t give your soul away

Take a look at all you’ve got
Now take a look at all you’ve lost
And ask yourself
Ask yourself: is it really worth the cost?

Keep it simple, Sunshine
Time to teach your heart to understand
Keep it simple, Sunshine
And you can hold forever in your hand

Discography

(most recent only)

Perfomer:
Autorickshaw: So the Journey Goes, 2006
Cadence: Twenty For One, 2005

Producer/engineer:
Autorickshaw: So the Journey Goes, 2006
Rock4: A Night At The Opera, 2006
Cadence: Twenty For One, 2005