During the 15-minute break between class, sophomore Jared Dylan camouflages in the sea of scattering students with Arctic Monkeys blasting in his ear buds. The music business major is one of the nation’s youngest and most talented songwriters and was awarded the prestigious John Lennon Scholarship on Sept. 24.
“I was sitting in the dining hall when they called me to tell me I won,” he said. “I was surprised. I’m still surprised really. I applied a year ago, and I thought I didn’t win.”
Dylan is the first student from the Frost School of Music to have won the scholarship since 2003.
The 19-year-old has written 53 songs and recorded at least 15. He has released one extended play and is working on a second. The young musician already has a Pandora channel, and his music is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon and iHeartRadio. His music videos are also displayed on MTV’s website, and he was casted on “The Voice” two summers ago.
Originally from Montville, N.J., Dylan never planned on being a singer or songwriter; he’s been playing guitar much longer. But after being rejected as lead guitar for a band his freshman year of high school, he returned his sophomore year to try again. Except this time it was for lead singer. And he got it.
“I took one singing lesson before the audition,” Dylan said. “I came back to her after I got it, and she helped me realize that I prefer to sing my own music that I write and connect to, and not covers.”
Before he graduated from high school, he had recorded two to three music videos with a friend of his. He then shared the videos on Facebook where his father’s friend (who happened to be a producer) saw them and started working with the aspiring star. Dylan then released his first EP, “In Panic,” in 2012.
“My dad has been completely supportive,” he said. “I started singing and writing music, and my dad started to think of ways to make it a career.”
Dylan’s father attended the University of Miami’s School of Business and was president of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. During his summer breaks, Dylan’s father enrolled him in summer camps at UM, and once Dylan was applying to college, getting accepted to UM was his top priority.
“I love this weather,” Dylan said. “But really the music program is the best in contemporary, and the music is incomparable. It’s the right place to be working with incredible musicians every single day.”
Casting agents for “The Voice” approached him the summer before he started classes at UM. He was asked to audition, went through several rounds, and was an official team member.
“But no one turned around when I went up,” he said. “But to be honest, I didn’t want to be on it, it wasn’t my style. My favorite part was the relationships I made with other singers on the show.”
When Dylan is not in one of his 12 classes, he is studying for them. But in his spare time, he prefers to sing and write music. He has performed at Moon Thai and Festival Miami Songwriters’ Showcase.
“I am releasing my second EP hopefully in the beginning of next year,” he said. “‘Luna Loves Me’ is a song about a girl I got close to on ‘The Voice,’ and ‘Man Behind The Mask’ is the title track, and it’s a little different from what I usually do, but it’s really moving for me to sing.”