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Senior artist releases EP

Ann Marie Jakubowski | Monday, March 4, 2013

As Notre Dame seniors balance enjoying the end of their college careers and finding a foothold in the working world, senior Dylan Walter vocalized that experience in a full-length EP titled “Tightrope,” which he released Friday.

Walter, an independent hip-hop artist, has been releasing music since his freshman year at Notre Dame. “Tightrope” is the fourth full-length project released under his moniker “D. Montayne,” a name derived from Walter’s first initial and middle name.

The EP has 10 songs, all of which Walter said reflect his current state in life. A finance major, Walter said he is currently applying to business jobs but hopes to eventually pursue a full-time career in music.

“I came up with the name ‘Tightrope’ a couple months ago because in a lot of ways, I feel like I’m being suspended on a tightrope between the different aspects of my life,” Walter said. “The music aspect, the academic aspects, getting a job, … these lifestyles don’t really mix together very well and I have to find a balance between them.”

Walter said the most difficult part of putting the EP together was coming up with the time to write, record and mix his songs.

“I had a pretty busy semester, and with the football season as it was, my focus wasn’t on getting this EP done until winter break, when I did the last songs and put it together,” Walter said. “The most rewarding part was the feedback I’ve been getting so far from people who hadn’t listened to my music before, people I don’t know who tell me they really liked it.”

Because he is not currently affiliated with any label, Walter said he records and mixes everything on his own with his personal equipment.

“As it is right now, I’m just making music by myself,” Walter said. “I have a mobile studio that I carry around in my backpack, so there are a few places where I go to record and I just pack up the backpack with the microphones and everything.”

Walter said he would describe his lyrics as thoughtful and personal, but he doesn’t see any parallels of his sound in today’s hip-hop artists.

“I really don’t know of any artists out there that sound like me, which I think is good, so I don’t think people really associate me with anyone who is already out there,” he said. “I take that as evidence that I’m unique.”

Earlier this year, Walter produced “Onward to Victory,” a song celebrating Notre Dame football that he released shortly before the Irish faced the University of Michigan. The song has nearly 13,000 views on Walter’s YouTube channel.

He has opened for several acts at Legends, including Big Sean in April 2011 and Chris Webby in February 2012.

“At that point, Big Sean was just about to release his first album, so it was cool to be able to open for him before he was a superstar,” Walter said. “We hung out for a while and talked about music for several hours, and shortly after that he became really famous. I’m hoping to get some more opening spots, maybe this spring.”

Walter said he is already preparing for his next project and has several new songs written but not recorded yet.

“Ideally, I’d like to put out another EP or full-length mixtape this summer, after I graduate, if I could pull that off,” Walter said.
While he is still finding the balance between academics and music, Walters said he is interested in opportunities to continue his music career after leaving Notre Dame.

“I don’t care if 10 people download [the EP] or 10 million, I just want those who do to listen and get a sense of what I’m going for with this project,” Walter said. “If you listen to the EP from front to back, my intention would be that people would feel that tension the title refers to.”

“Tightrope” can be downloaded for free at www.dmontaynemusic.com