Get acquainted with San Diego artist Cael Dadian a 23-year-old singer, songwriter, producer, and overall content creator. He’s taken the internet by storm with ultra-creative music videos ranging from niche concept-driven video projects to live performances.
We had the chance to interview Cael Dadian via Instagram to talk more about his music career, musical influences, and challenges in the music industry.
Hi Cael Dadian, Thanks for taking out time to share your experience in the music industry with us and your fans.
Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
This all started for me at age eight. I came from a family of all Tennis players and wasn’t quite on board with the sport. I desperately needed a different outlet rooted in creativity and guitar became that outlet for me which led to so much more over the years. Music became a focal point in my life and my only true focus and passion.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
This is a tough one. I’ve had so many interesting run-ins and “almosts” throughout my journey so far. I’m proud to have taken some non-standard routes to find ways to get in with other musicians. From doing free photo/video work for producers, driving around engineers, handing iPhones with my music out to artists, and more, I’ve been able to get myself in rooms with artists like Vory, Offset, Lil Baby, Khalid, and many others. I should be clear… I haven’t gotten to work with these artists in the musical capacity I’d like but I’ve been able to be a fly on the wall in the early stages, play my role, and learn quite a bit.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I was about 13, I had never produced or recorded any of my music seriously. My dad paid a lot of money to a producer I won’t name who had one decent producer credit. The lady that connected me to him insisted I didn’t “insult him” by giving him any of my own creative input or direction and that I had to let him do his thing. I ended up hating the production so much that I decided I’d never let anyone produce my music since… and so far I haven’t! The song sucked so bad.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m in content mode at the moment. Because the demand and infrastructure for releasing my own music aren’t where I want it to be, I’m experimenting with smaller music-driven concept video projects geared toward social media. I just put out a video making a song in an Ikea store for example. I’m always simultaneously writing and recording songs and growing my library for the right moment as well of course. I have some music content ideas lined up that I’m really excited about though… bigger than just playing acoustic guitar in my room.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Getting to sit in with Billie Eilish, Finneas, and Wonda Gurl back in 2017 was quite a trip. I’d never heard a song of Billie’s at that time and had no idea that she and Finneas were about to take over the world. Wild getting to hear their work so casually and what lead up to what we see today. They were clearly calculated and knew what they were doing and where they were going. I think back to this particular session a lot and how this guy that was sitting next to me on a beanbag chair one day (Finneas), runs the freaking industry, and if he got there, I can too.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I’d recommend they simply stay inspired via social time with friends, consuming content they enjoy, and stepping out into the world to look for ideas in people, places, and experiences.
You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
I’d advise anyone who wants to pursue music to get ready to get HUMBLED. Expect the worst and carry yourself to your best. Get ready to dedicate your life to this path. This is a long game and long-term play. It’s so so so rare to see success in the first few months or even years. I’m years in this thing and a million miles from where I want to be and know I’ll be. I have no backup plan and I’m fully committed to this as my life. I do music because I love it and am incapable of applying myself to anything else and that is an understatement. I think that’s what it takes.
Can you share with our readers any self-care routines, practices, or treatments that you do to help your body, mind, or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.
I really have to work on this side of things… I’m admittedly not the best at this. I’ve recently come upon a discovery that serves as a form of meditation – this is the sauna and steam room haha. I sit in each of these at my gym a few days a week without my phone and I truly think it’s one of the only times I’m able to fully clear my mind and feel refreshed. I’m also a huge talker and very reliant on friends to talk things out.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1. As I mentioned before, get ready to be humbled. I have faced more rejection, ghosting, and confusion than I could have ever imagined… all self subjected though and all part of the game.
2. It’s not going to happen overnight. I’ve been seriously pursuing music (on the industry side apart from just making music on my own) for around 5 years. Sometimes I wonder where my medal is for all of the work I’ve put in but then I remember how many people want the same thing I do and that I am entitled to absolutely nothing. 5 years, 10, 20… I’ll be working.
3. Don’t have any expectations and don’t put your eggs in one basket. I’ve spent a lot of time in circles that were never going anywhere and that never had my best interest as a musician or as a person. Know when to detach and start fresh.
4. On the contrary to my last point, showcase some consistency and let things flow naturally. Commuting from San Diego to LA for the past few years, I’ve really only dabbled in different groups of musicians on and off. I wasn’t with a group of musicians every single day and didn’t get to grow and build in the way I’ve seen a lot of others do. My consistency hasn’t been where it needs to be with people.
5. Care about social media. I was really late for the game. Of course, all I want to do is record full songs and all but nowadays not having a presence on social media is really not an option. I wish I would’ve put more work into musical content earlier on.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Forgive the cheesiness… but upon reading this, the first one that comes to mind is Rocky’s “it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” I’m a massive Rocky fan and that just about sums up my mindset with my musical pursuit and life in general.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Karyn Karyn Karyn. Karyn Spencer is one of one human being that I will be indebted to for the rest of my life – a mogul, power player, and one-of-a-kind leader. I connected with Karyn online near the end of 2019 and since then she’s gotten me hired to create original content and music for Target, Facebook, Mac Cosmetics, Clinique, Philips Electronics, and many other major brands. She’s gotten me involved in some life-changing projects and never cared about my follower number, stream count, or anything like that for that matter. This is someone who has changed my idea of how someone in the entertainment industry can in fact treat you and she’s shown me how to treat people. She’s given major opportunities to hundreds of other artists and creators throughout her career and she’s someone that has given me so much confidence in myself and hopes that it is possible to get my music beyond my circle. She’s kept me going more than anyone else in my life and I am just so grateful to her for keeping me going. I’m not even sure if she knows how exciting her projects have been for me. Definition of passing it forward. It would be criminal if I didn’t mention Brandon Edler – another creative genius I met early in LA who instilled so much confidence in me and supported me on such a high level. Brandon essentially hired me for my first ever photo/video job for a major brand when he worked at Finish Line and really got the ball rolling for me on the visual side of things. Aside from that, he’s the go-to person I’ll send a new song or idea to. He sends me custom playlists, song ideas, and creative ideas in general regularly and is someone that always checks in and finds a way to lift me and keep me inspired. He’s helped shape the way I craft songs and I always try to write/produce music with his lens in mind. He’s had me re-record old songs that I forgot about or inspired song ideas from scratch. It’s really rare finding a friend like Brandon and I am so thankful to have him in my corner. He’s a killer in the fashion space and secretly a musical genius.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I truly feel that if and when I obtain the level of influence or notoriety that I’m shooting for if all I do is make music and enjoy the “fame” side of it then I’d consider myself a loser. I know in my heart that I’m on this journey for a cause bigger than music or myself. Music is the vessel I was given but there’s a huge ocean to travel with it. I feel like my 20s are for figuring out what my mission statement is, what my values are, and how I’m going to make sure I’m able to influence others positively. I think a lot of it will be rooted in unwavering humility and doing everything I can to prove that you can in fact achieve success as a humble and well-intentioned human being. I’m told so often that I can’t be a “nice guy” and win and that valuing myself is somehow directly related to positioning yourself above others. I’ve faced criticism for how much free work I’ve done for others, how much time I give away, and how I tend to “lower myself” in certain instances. There may be some truth in this… but I want to prove that you can come out on the other side… you can do both. You can be a nice person, lose some time, do some free work, and LEARN through it all – then become that CEO you were destined to be. Aside from the social side of things, I want to be a unifier. I am naturally a mediator… I’ve mediated constant arguments among my parents, friends, etc. Everyone has a seat at my table and as the world gets more and more divided, I think there’s an increasingly large role to fill as a genuinely unbiased and well-intentioned person who wants to see us all stick together… and trust me, I know it’s complicated and there’s some fucked up shit going on in the world. This is touchy, sensitive, and something I want to throw myself into one day. This all sounds pretty vague as I write it… but I promise that every day these thoughts get more and more crystalized. I have a job to do and the description is being written every day.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world or the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
This is another tough one so I’ll list a few. I won’t allow myself to leave this planet without having a musical interaction with Coldplay. They seem to reign as my number one musical inspiration and I don’t think my childhood would feel complete without working with them in some capacity. I feel similarly about Frank Ocean and Kanye. I’d really like to spend some time with Selena (Quintanilla)’s family as well as Guy Roche who produced “Dreaming of You”… that song takes me to another planet. I could go on and on… there are a lot of people I want to and will be meeting and creating with. I can’t wait to get to the other side of my headphones.
How can our readers follow you online?
Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok @caeldadian
Follow on Facebook
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