If you're into singer/songwriter music, you may know the name Javier Dunn. He hangs out in the same Hotel Cafe songwriters circle as artists like Jay Nash, Caitlin Crosby, and Laura Jansen. He's also pretty good friends with Sara Bareilles.
You know the guy with the cool hat in the "Bottle It Up" video? That's Javier.
He has been playing guitar with Ms. Bareilles since their days at UCLA. When he's not on stage with her or uploading videos of their lives on tour to YouTube, Javier writes, records, and performs his own music. The last time he came to town with Sara, I sat down with Javier underneath the marquis of the Fillmore Detroit. Below are some excerpts from this interview. Check out the full audio interview and the internet premiere of his new song "If You Go" on CK Radio (starting at 44:42).
When did you decide to become a musician?
I started playing guitar when I was ten, but I think I knew for sure that I wanted to be a musician when I was like fifteen or sixteen. It just became realistic enough that I could do that for a living. So that’s when I started really focusing on songwriting and doing it for a career.
Were your parents supportive of your decision initially?
They were. They’ve always been super supportive. I think that sometimes they wanted me to do something more practical, like computers or engineering or something. But they’ve always been really supportive. They never told me not to. And now they’re so proud.
Where do you find inspiration when you’re writing?
I don’t know … it ends up just coming from stuff that you’re going through in your life. I feel like a lot of songwriters write songs because they’re not so good at processing life through talking to other friends and it’s just how you breathe out. You know what I’m saying? You take in whatever’s happening. Mostly it’s emotional stuff and relationship stuff. That seems to be the stuff that you want to write about and people can relate to. But really, it’s anything. I guess for the most part, it’s girls.
Tell me about playing on NBC’s Lipstick Jungle. Was it weird playing on a taped show that isn’t music driven?
Yes. It was weird for all of us. We just thought that it was the most ridiculous afternoon. But, you know, this is all so new and so lucky that we’re all just going for the ride. Sure, we’ll try anything once. That ended up being a really fun, easy day that was totally silly, and probably something that we’ll never do again. It was cool to see though.
If you had to pick one high point of this whole experience, what would it be and why?
I’ll do two, and they’re both pretty succinct. One is getting to record at Abbey Road Studios. To get to play and record there was one of the coolest moments of my life. And I think the other one was Madison Square Garden. So, on a performance level and on a cool musical level, those are the two. Just because it’s The Garden and it’s the most nuts thing you could ever do.
Javier Dunn and Sara Bareilles covering "Oh Darling" at Abbey Road Studios.