The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Walter balances rap, studies

Tori Roeck | Wednesday, September 7, 2011

As a freshman, Dylan Walter recorded his first rap song in Knott Hall.

Now a junior, Walter is better known as D. Montayne. He opened for Big Sean at Legends last spring, and he released his hip-hop mixtape “S.C.H.O.L.A.R.” in July.

“S.C.H.O.L.A.R.” stands for “Speaking Clearly, Hear or Listen and Repeat.”

“I really like to stress the difference between hearing and listening,” Walter said. “So the title of my mixtape is a way of telling people like, ‘You either hear what I’m saying, or you should listen to this on repeat until you do.'”

Walter, a finance major, said balancing academics and music is difficult as a Notre Dame student.

“I don’t think most people realize the amount of hours that go into a song,” Walter said, “But it’s very difficult to find that time while in college. I really didn’t have the time for it, so I just spent less time sleeping and more time writing and recording.”

Finding a space to record on a college campus is also a struggle, Walter said.

“At times I’ve actually had to resort to sneaking into buildings on campus at night, simply because it was the only place to be alone and really work on music,” he said. “Storage closets can be nice recording booths.”

Walter said fellow Notre Dame students often are surprised at his talents.

“It’s funny seeing how different people react when they hear me,” he said. “Because obviously, they see me, and expectations are low from the start. That’s something I have to deal with — that doubt will always be there. I just go about it knowing that I have a lot to prove to people.”

When he opened for Big Sean, Walter said he proved to his peers he had a future in rap.

“I remember when I stepped out on stage to open for Big Sean, and most of the crowd had never heard of me,” Walter said. “It was funny seeing their faces when I came out, like, ‘Who does this white kid think he is?’ But then I started rapping, and their heads started bobbing, and by the end I had won them over.”

When he was younger, Walter said he developed a love of music from his brother who would play rap songs in the car on the way to school.

“I actually hated it at the time, because it was hard to wake up to Young Buck or Tech Nine at 6:30 [a.m.],” he said. “It all worked out though, because my brother’s love of rap kind of rubbed off on me.

“Still to this day, I consider my brother to have been the biggest influence in my hip hop career because without him showing me the difference between good rap and trash I might be trying to make pop records now.”

Walter said he would love to make music his career. Despite his love for the art, he also said he knows breaking into the music industry would be a difficult path.

“The road isn’t easy, and there are a lot of factors that go into making it in this kind of career,” he said. “I have to be prepared to take the step towards music or the business world, and as of now, I’m not sure which way to step.”

For now, Walter said he is putting recording aside to study abroad in Australia this semester.

“I wasn’t able to bring my recording equipment with me, and studio time here is very expensive, so I will not be recording any actual songs until I get back to the States,” he said. “I’ve still been writing and working on beats, though, and I plan on having a lot of material ready to go when I get back.”