Its been about a year that Victory Music
has held an open mic at Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood, on the first
and third Sundays of the month. Some people might think its
an odd coupling, the polished shopping mall and folksy Victory
Music. Actually, its a pretty fine pairing, and maybe a
synergistic new look for a Victory open mic.
Since its held in the food court, its logical that
a lot of young people frequent the place. Those same young people
take notice of the music at the open mic; a few of them get up
in front of the microphone.
One particular regular is Dylan Jakobsen. Heres a young
man who was having a regular childhood, going to school, playing
soccer and baseball and football. When his interest in those activities
waned, his dad suggested he give the guitar a try. (Heres
where theyll have some special effects in the movie version
of this story!) It was love at first strum, Dylan took to the
guitar like a duck takes to water.
He learned a little from Dad, and soon found a teacher to nurture
his new talent. He learned to play the love songs his parents
had at home, but soon developed his own taste; lots of it shared
by his family.
Dylans family came out to the Mall last July for a Sunday
matinee at the theatre. After the movie, they walked past the
open mic, which had moved outside during the balmy Puget Sound
summer weather (a fond memory in the chill of February!!) Dad
says, You play at home all the time. Why dont you
get up there? The normal pre-teen response is negative,
polite, in this case, but a definite offer declined.
After some further urging, and an actual BRIBE from the parents,
Dylan agrees to borrow the sound mans guitar and give the
open mic a try. He agrees to play one song. His parents knew all
was ok, when at the end of the song, Dylan announced, and
for my next song
. Turns out, this brave fellow was
a songwriter! He performed originals and a cover song that day.
He returned for the next open mic, with his own guitar, prepared
to play his songs. Now hes a regular performer, having played
at most of the open mics held there since that sunny Sunday in
July. He always has a supportive family in the audience. That
fan base often swells to grandparents and other extended
family members, proudly operating camcorders. Occasionally, family
friends pass, recognize the family and stay for a listen. Those
lucky folks, along with the rest of the listeners, have been well
rewarded for being in the right place at the right time.
Dylan has fine tuned his performing skills, presenting his music
with confidence and greater stage presence all the time. His songs
cover the genre of love songs, teen-age angst, and playful whimsy;
an amazingly insightful, playful observer of his world. His songs
often cause the listener to marvel at the sight of a 12-year-old
voice expressing emotions and universal thoughts so eloquently.
Invariably, when he gets up to play, the teenagers who frequent
the food court area, begin to make their way to the music. In
no time at all, they crowd around to listen and cheer. Occasionally,
there have been students from his school. Hes had offers
to join a band, but he has his own ideas forming for that.
The value of the supportive family was again apparent on a recent
visit to Dylans home. Their music room boasts multiple instruments
and numerous recordings of their favorite music. Thus far, the
interests are shared. Looking back at whered all this
talent come from, Dylan says his dad played guitar some,
and an uncle on the east coast plays. Hes only had one opportunity
to play with that uncle.
Looking forward, his little sister also plays guitar, at this
open mic and at Café Allegro. Though influenced by her
big brother, sister Kari clearly plays her own music. On a casual
request from his older sister, Dylan composed a song about her.
In spite of the negative press touting the loss of family values
and the supposition that artists must suffer for their craft,
heres a very positive portrait of a family happily nurturing
their childrens talents.
When asked for his favorite CD, Dylan admits that its Warning
by his favorite band, Green Day. If hes playing a cover
song at the open mic, its most often a Green Day song. He
and his mom trekked to Tacoma to see them in concert last year.
The memories of that concert prompted big smiles from both of
Intuitively, Dylan practices the art of networking. Chatting with
fellow open mic performer, Jorge Zorro, led to an invitation to
share the stage at a now-defunct songwriter showcase at the Madison
Café last summer. He was as well received there, as he
is at the mall.
In the works, besides the academic work at Middle School, Dylan
hopes to get a band together. Hes found a drummer, and keeps
his eye out for another guitar and a bass player. Recording is
definitely a goal, and continued songwriting. Right now, hes
writing at least a song a week. Inspiration abounds, from sisters,
to students attire, to paying tribute to admired songwriters
who died too young. His tunes, how well he composes the words,
and fine guitar playing make for a terrific performance. He no
longer needs his family to urge him to play. And that bribe back
in July? It was a polo shirt that he still wears, and a new CD.
Until he gets his own recording done, you, dear reader, will have
to come to an open mic to hear this talented songwriter.
(Thanks to Mike Guthrie for letting me fill in for him this issue.)