20/20 Vision With Dawson Fuss

Singer-Songwriter Dawson Fuss Uses Isolation of Musicians Around the World to His Advantage

Dawson Fuss | Credit: Xkylar

“Being a full-fledged artist means you have a clear vision,” explains Dawson Fuss, who has been singing and writing music for years and, according to his Spotify biography, has been humming since before he could speak.

The young singer-songwriter resides in Santa Barbara but is video calling me from Nashville, Tennessee, on one of the stops of his college tour. The most surprising moment of our entire interview came toward the end, when I asked Fuss how old he was. “Seventeen,” he said casually, and my eyes widened. He carries himself as if he were in his twenties, and he has the work ethic and introspection to show for it.

Dawson tells me that the first spark that started his musical journey was during a nonprofit Santa Barbara singing competition called Teen Star. He always loved music, but getting a positive comment from famed American Idol judge Randy Jackson gave him the confidence to believe in himself. “It was insane to have this dude I’d watched all of my childhood affirm and kind of validate my music,” he explained excitedly. “It was such a cool, out-of-body experience.”

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Fuss had a very positive pandemic journey, using the isolation of musicians around the world to his advantage. He was able to find studio producers and musicians who normally wouldn’t be shopping their time, but because of the isolation caused by the pandemic, they were likely to work with smaller artists they wouldn’t have before. “They were so good, they could make a dying rat sound like Justin Bieber,” he swore. 

He also went on a personal musical journey. “I had nothing else to do, so it gave me a good way to fill my time,” he said. “I explored a lot of what made my music unique to me. I feel like there’s a lot of generic artists, but it’s really important to have our own voice and individuality when it comes to that stuff.”

Fuss has heavy involvement in his music, writing or co-writing all of his music, and his new EP will have songs to show for it. Between them, including “Hollywood Heartbreak” and “Free,” he’s not sure of a favorite. “I love all of them,” he said. “I can’t choose!”

See dawsonfuss.com and check out his Instagram and TikTokWatch his video for “Hey You” below.

This edition of ON Culture was originally emailed to subscribers on August 12, 2023. To receive Leslie Dinaberg’s arts newsletter in your inbox on Fridays, sign up at independent.com/newsletters.


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