Although self-discovery is an eye-opening, demanding and challenging road for any and every human being, it’s also about the manner in which you spearhead the journey and acknowledge that every single high and low serves its purpose. Chicago-bred musician, Lucien Dante, is an example of an individual who intimately connects his personal discoveries to his artistry and exploration of healing. Dead in the midst of celebration of the release of his new single, “Brainheart”, which tells a tale a true love, Lucien is finding his center and spilling his golden nuggets abounding with wisdom for all. I caught up with the starseed to discuss his upcoming projects, tour, how his spiritual awakening has influenced his artistry, his perception of tattoos and more.
First and foremost, introduce yourself to our readers. Who is Lucien Dante?
Hi Tattoo.com readers! Thank you for welcoming me into your lives! I am a multimedia artist from Evanston, IL just five minutes outside of Chicago. I moved to LA in October to focus on my creative career! My primary art forms are music, sculpture, painting, drawing and fashion design. I also write poetry and do photography and many other art forms. My music falls into many different categories including pop, alternative, experimental and classical. First and foremost, I am inspired by myself and the deep complexity therein, and secondly, my main inspirations are classical, gregorian chant, all sorts of ethnic music from around the world, R&B and hip-hop. In the past I have worked with co-producers and producers to help bring my musical ideas into fruition, but now I am producing my music by myself. I also write, record and mix my music! By the time this article is published, I will have just released my newest single “Brainheart”. It is the debut of a new era of self and music for me and I’m so excited to share it with everyone!
My art and fashion are kind of one and the same since many of my large scale sculptures actually start out as fashion garments. I mostly work with traditional wool felting processes to create elaborate fabrics which then become the primary bodies of my sculptures. I also sew, weave, knit, braid and paint my materials to further express their meaning and purpose. Whether it be my music, sculptures, paintings, drawings, clay pieces, or fashion garments, my creations are usually self portraits full of color, texture, body and presence! I love my art and consider it to be living, emotive beings, rich with ancestral energy and the ability and purpose to heal. That’s the synopsis of me in a large nutshell.
Congrats on the upcoming release of your new song, “Brainheart”. Tell us about the concept behind this track and what inspired you to bring it to life.
“Brainheart” is my definition of anthem pop. It was inspired by my boyfriend’s love for me, which then inspired my love for him (or vice versa, or simultaneously). Throughout the course of our relationship, I began to realize that heart consciousness is truly a living, breathing reality. Being in love taught me and continues to teach me that the heart is just as important in terms of thinking as the brain is, and when we utilize the brainheart synthesis as a thinking, decision making tool, we act in such a way that not only serves the analytical mind, but also resonates and satisfies the emotional, compassionate dimensions of ourselves. Because the essence of the human being is spiritual in origin, it is vital that we, as earthly incarnations remain connected to, and intimate with our spiritual origins, and the only way to do this is by literally being the brainheart synthesis, which is the marriage of the emotional and analytical fundamental human processes.
Being the brainheart synthesis allows and encourages human beings to live as true unique, empowered, confident individuals. In the chorus of Brainheart, I sing, “This is my brainheart calling out! I don’t need no refuge!” I’m saying that I am an expression of my unique brainheart synthesis and that my individuality is my protection. It is a proud, enthusiastic exclamation of self identity being the source of self-healing, self-ownership, self-invention and self-love. Rather than individuality being the reason for reclusiveness, fear and insecurity, I am singing and proving that individuality is the reason for expressiveness, bravery and security. “This is my brainheart! I love to sing in freedom! This is my brainheart, won’t you come and join with me, Lights Family!” I call my fans my ‘Lights’ because ‘Lucien’ means ‘light’ and by loving, encouraging, supporting, and promoting me, my lights illuminate my light, identity, ideas and creations both in who they are and what they express.
Let’s talk tattoos. Although you don’t have any personal pieces of your own, how do you perceive that the medium (tattoo artwork) contributes to opening up society to the importance of creativity?!
When I was younger I felt that tattoos were bad decisions that unhappy people made. Now that I’m older however, I view them much differently. Tattoos have been a part of people’s lives for thousands of years, expressing a wide variety of spiritual, cultural and personal identities, and I think they still serve a similar purpose today. Just like painting, sculpture or fashion, I think of tattoos as a form of creativity and self-expression. What separates tattoos from other less bodily art forms, however, is that they are relatively permanent expressions that live and breath within the body. Something about that intimacy gives them a specific power that seems to say a lot about the person who exhibits them.
Whenever I see a tattoo on a person, I immediately get a sense of who they are. Depending on how many tattoos they have and where they have them also says a lot about both them and the tattoo itself. Because tattoos can be so hidden, so public, so grandiose or modest, they truly have a very malleable place in society. When it comes down to the question of how they contribute to society’s understanding of the importance of creativity, I think there are many different answers. Given the response I’ve written so far, the answer that comes to mind is that they relate to power and the power that creative expression gives an individual. I think tattoos can show society that creative expression both defines and liberates the individual on a personal and cultural level.
Any upcoming tour or festival appearance plans that you can fill us in about?!
This past week, my label and I started to plan my Summer tour! It’s still in the very beginning of being planned and prepared so I can’t say much about it. I can say that it will be a colorful exhibition of Lucien Dante music and fashion. I’m thinking of it as a debut of myself as a completely self-made musical fashion or fashionable music being. In my shows, I’m going to be exhibiting a series of extravagant handmade garments designed and created by yours truly, one of which is the cover for my Brainheart single! I will also be performing lots of new music that I will be creating entirely by myself. It is so important for me to create everything I express to the world and this tour will be a clear example of that and honor to that importance. The name of my tour is soon to be announced!
How has your spiritual awakening contributed to your candid and vulnerable delivery within your music?
Being spiritually invested has always been a fundamental part of my identity. It wasn’t until I was 16 and went to Germany on a language exchange, however, that I began to deeply and consciously explore what spirituality is and does for me. Just like any life changing journey, my process of understanding myself as a spiritual being and learning how to navigate that deep sense of humanity that comes along with it has been an ever evolving one full of ups and downs, triumphs and tribulations. I’ve always been someone who is constantly changing and growing and entering new stages of self realization, and that amorphous quality has genuinely defined my artistic aesthetics over the years.
Although I don’t really consider myself as gay anymore, I came out as gay when I was 16 as well. My sexual identity has always been one of my most permeating qualities and its development is intimately linked to my spirituality. Over the past year, I have begun a new sexual transformation that goes much deeper than what we normally consider sexuality. Many months ago I went through a gender identity crisis that was building for many months. The crisis aspect of it only lasted for a few days, but it taught me a great deal about myself and the way in which I develop and evolve as a human being. Just like many spiritual awakenings, my personal evolution is always extremely intimate, intense and overwhelming. I plunge into the depths of the confusion and force myself to navigate it and love it no matter how difficult and scary it is. I have gone through so many identity evolutions throughout the course of my life and I think that that self-bravery and self-curiosity has been my salvation and main inspiration for everything I do.
I’ve learned that when we treat ourselves and understand ourselves as literally our only source of experience and life, we give ourselves endless opportunities to manifest into the human being we want to be. I don’t necessarily think I am who I am in this very moment in life. Rather, I think that I am who my tendencies are. I am my unique evolutionary quality and process. This understanding of myself gives me the opportunity, desire and drive to create who I am and not fear, but love who I can become. I’m so eager and excited to become him, and because I am the movement of myself, I know I will become him! So to answer your question, my candid and vulnerable deliverance in my music is probably an expression and result of my intimate involvement with my process of becoming.
If you could collaborate with any two musicians either dead or alive, who would you choose and why?!
This question really had me thinking! Because I am so invested in my individuality and understanding of who I am and how to best serve my becoming, collaborating with other musicians is actually a very vulnerable and serious topic for me. I have something like paranoia issues and therefore am very weary of people, their intentions and their involvement with me. I used to want to collaborate with a handful of established musicians because I like their music and who I think they are, and it would probably give me recognition and be fun. Now I care much more about establishing myself as a fully realized artist, and having my career and the success of my career directly parallel my artistic evolution and progress. It’s important to me that my success is a representation of my success within myself and because of that, I need to be in control of every aspect of my career and creations. I am a very capable person when it comes to my ability to manifest what I want to see and experience in the world, so it is vital for me to honor that reality about myself and make sure I manifest it.
That being said, there are two musicians right now that speak to me in a way that has everything to do with my heart and soul. Björk is a one of a kind artist and human being who inspires me to be who I am and value what I bring to the table. She is an unparalleled artist and definitely one of the most iconic artists the world has ever had the privilege to know and support. If I could ever get noticed by her and do a song with her or even make an outfit for her, I would be filled with pure love. I would beam like the northern lights! Collaborating with her would first of all mean that I would have succeeded in a big enough way to even get that opportunity, but it would also mean that I would have accomplished something very remarkable within myself as a person. So definitely Björk!
Lady Gaga is a virtuous boss and a shining artist. She inspires me to harness and utilize my power and creativity for the sake of being powerful and creative for not only myself but for others as well. I’m in awe of her confident voice and her bizarre personalities, and I genuinely just look up to her and channel her fire when I need a boost. She is also one of the only artists out there who portrays an image that I relate to and want to emulate. I would love to write a song with her or walk a runway with her or go horseback riding with her and smoke some weed. Obviously, collaborating with Gaga would also mean that I would have achieved something grand. Both Björk and Gaga would also teach me so much about music! Shout out to both of you epic individuals!
What do fans of Lucien Dante have to look forward to in 2017?!
This past year has been the year that I have begun to see myself and exist as an artist who not only can, but more importantly must and does produce and write my own music completely by myself. (Shout out to Grimes!) It has taken me a long time to trust myself as a producer even though I started out producing everything on my own. With the release of “Brainheart”, a song that I wrote, produced, mixed and recorded by myself, a rebirth and new sense of self-empowerment has manifested within me. There is so much work to be done to get where I want to be in terms of my creative career, and 2017 is definitely the beginning of that journey. First and foremost, 2017 will be the year that I move into my own house, become independant from my parents, and prove to myself that I am adult haha. If all goes according to plan, my first tour will also happen. My Lights can expect to see lot’s of creative photo shoots of myself exhibiting new, highly detailed, unique fashion designed and created by me as well as new music and hopefully a music video for Brainheart! I will also be working on my second and third art exhibitions which will be a continuation and progression from my previous exhibition which took place in Hollywood this past November, as well as completely new art that I haven’t exhibited before. Hopefully my hair will keep growing longer and I’ll get some muscles on my body as well! Haha. All in all, I’m planning on 2017 being the year that I set some important platforms for myself, whether that be in gaining a sizeable support base, releasing lots of incredible music and art that catches the eyes and interests of patrons and other creatives, and lastly being able to exhibit my creations to the public and meeting some of my Lights.
How have you deepened your connection to your self through connecting with those who are fans and avid followers of your music?
Although I have been working on my music career since I was 16, it wasn’t until late 2016 that I actually started to notice that I was gaining a significant amount of Lights. Because I am in the very beginning stages of having that sort of support system, the Lights that make themselves known to me are just a beautiful diverse handful of people. There’s a sassy monk, a strong fighter girl with a nose ring, a sweet cute girl, a drag queen, an adorable German kid, a curly haired Betty, a sad pensive girl, a socially odd darling, and lots of other unique, loving individuals. I know the names of the ones who like and comment on every post and I mostly recognize the names or profile pictures of the ones who comment frequently. My fan base is super diverse and each and every one of them sends so much positivity and love my way. More than anything, they have changed my relationship with myself by simply finding me and wanting to support and learn about me, solely because they feel driven to. They feel a connection to my personality and creativity and that in itself makes me feel a greater sense of purpose. It gives me energy to achieve what I have always believed is necessary for me and everyone else who witnesses my success. They also help me physically witness that my success is not only for me but also for those who gain something from engaging in my success, whether that be through sending me a message asking for advice or to send love, or through listening to my music or looking at my photos or fashion and art. I’ve always been a leader and someone who thrives as a leader and a teacher, and having a fan base just makes that aspect of my identity manifest as a true external reality. It’s a gift and something that I take very seriously and lovingly. I hope it continues to grow and give me strength to give more people strength and inspiration to be who they are and who they want to become.
How has growing up in the Midwest (Chicago) influenced your artistry?
Honestly, I’m not sure how growing up in the Midwest has influenced my artistry. I’m sure in some ways it has very much influenced everything about my art and music, but I also think it hasn’t contributed to it in any noticeable way. I grew up fairly oblivious to much of the outside world, mostly due to my introspective personality and what I personally gravitate towards. For an upper-middle class person who went to a great private school and graduated from a fabulous college that focuses a great deal of energy on general world awareness, I definitely lack a lot of basic intellectual qualities that most people with similar backgrounds probably don’t lack haha. Although I’m getting better, I have a fairly limited understanding of the specifics in geography, history, politics, economics, and so on and so forth. I’m horrible at math and I learned how to read extremely late. The CEO of finances on my record label always says that I have an intensely deep understanding of a very specific part of life and a very distant understanding of the rest haha. That being said, I am a very intelligent and aware person and I have always been very curious and eager to learn about things I don’t know that I think are important, like all the things I mentioned lacking understanding in! Haha. Basically, I’m saying that my artistry has very much been influenced by my inner life, my family dynamic and things that aren’t specific to where I was raised. Some of my conscious influences are Picasso, Jeffrey Gibson, all kinds of tribal art and music from around the world, Jojo, Gaga, Demi Lovato, Chris Brown, Britney Spears, art songs and classical music, Gregorian Chant, Bollywood music, fairytales, Disney, sheep, horses, birds, sex, pain, love, spirituality, Jesus, my family, some friends, maybe some people I don’t like. Oh, and nature of course. I’m sure there are more influences but I think that is a good list!
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!
What a privilege to be asked this question! Seriously, it was a good ending question. I want to say to my Lights that I love each and every one of you, fully and truly. 99.9% of all the replies you get from me on the comments you leave on my posts on social media are indeed written by me and no one else. The only other person that sometimes responds to people is my CEO and manager, John. I want all of you to be proud confident individuals who value and chase your desires. I want you to share who you are with people who love and support you, and I want you to be brave enough to not hide from those who don’t love and support you. I want you to be aware and cautious enough to protect yourself from people and experiences that may harm and degrade you. I want you to continue supporting me and encouraging me to bloom. I want you to reach out into the world and harness your true gifts and utilize them for the betterment of yourself and of others. I want you to be your full true selves and never give up on your journey of self discovery. And lastly, I want you to feel my gratitude for you and for reading to the end of this interview haha. You are special because you believe you are and because you believe you are, so do I. I love you and I hope to meet you soon.