Perhaps the sounds of Motown and Bob Dylan blaring throughout the family house, created a blend of rhythm and introspection that morphed into the back-beat of Jack Dolgen's persona. Already obsessed with Michael Jackson at the age of two, Jack was never without his sparkly white glove, portable plastic microphone and black fedora. His first time on stage was at a Diana Ross concert, where she brought up all the kids in the crowd and held him (MJ glove and all) while she sang her final song. Music seemed to be all around him and eventually within, but having a music career wasn't always easy, and it almost didn't happen.
"I went through a terribly depressed time, back in New York and I decided to quit making music. I was barely functioning and could hardly muster the conviction necessary to sing my songs live I wanted so badly to just waste away."On a whim, he moved to LA, packed up his instruments and hid them away in his garage. But TV and film placements began pouring in for Jack's first album, and it became clear that his music was the kind that could connect with people all over the world. "It felt like the Gods wouldn't let me quit. I started to get this feeling when I would close my eyes, something inside of me saying over and over, 'don't cast your dreams away.' I figured that sort of thing doesn't happen very often; I better follow through. So, I started recording new songs - something I thought I would never do again."
Those songs became Jack Dolgen's new album, Wandering Times, an organic pop exploration of internal and external disconnects, and the quest to unify those divisions. Jack weaves together pop figures and hope-filled hooks that set the perfect backdrop for our own daily trials. "It's about searching for a sense of peace and unity. We wander through, moment to moment, navigating each surprising turn, hoping to get back to some sense of oneness as we progress.
The song, "Wandering Times"is a beautiful depiction of the emotional exhaustion one experiences when feeling internally lost: "When can I sign on the dotted line / give up every quest, and just waste away? / No longer wander through these vacant nights / maybe someone out here can take my place.
Jack's songwriting stands out, with lyrical explorations decorated in rich, shimmering productions that make you want to live with the album from top to bottom and back again. I asked Jack what makes a great song. He responded with a typical quark: "Years of writing horrible songs. No good without the bad!"
In "Baby I'm Afraid Tonight,"Jack highlights the value of acknowledging our fears as opposed to denying them. "Life can get dark and we get pulled away from the people we love. Love and connection requires imperfections and failure. Without them, we become cold, unfeeling, and egocentric. That's something I feel like I'm just beginning to really appreciate.
Jack speaks openly about being, in so many words, scared of music; about how he's been frightened to even listen for months at a time. In a way he still is. "Listening to music is one of the most powerful experiences you can have. It cuts through our layers of defense. It's petrifying."His song, "Feeling Sound"reflects that power. "The sound,"Jack says, "is different for everyone. But the walls that sound can break are shared and we need each other to tear them down.
On Wandering Times, love and joy go hand in hand with heartache and sadness. Ultimately, they merge together and that dream of oneness begins to become a little bit more real, one track at a time.